Local and regional LGBT prejudices top bill at conference

| 06/06/2016 | 72 Comments
Cayman News Service

Dr Leonardo Raznovich

(CNS): The social injustices faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) people in the British overseas territory of the Cayman Islands and the wider Caribbean region will be at the top of the agenda at a conference this coming weekend. The conference, which has caused controversy, is hosting international experts from the church as well as NGOs and human rights organisations to discuss the challenges facing the community in Cayman and the wider region, as countries around the world begin addressing historical discrimination against gay people.

The conference, which is now being held at the Chamber of Commerce office in Governor’s Square, is being organised by a group of local activists, including lawyer and former lecturer at the Truman Bodden law school Dr Leonardo Raznovich. An outspoken advocate for LGBT issues, Raznovich, who is in a same-sex marriage to a British Cayman resident, is currently in a legal wrangle with the CIG over his own right to remain here with his husband, who is also a lawyer.

“My spouse and I are currently in the midst of a legal challenge in respect of the Cayman Island Government’s refusal to apply its own existing laws and grant me residency based on my same-sex marital status. Unfortunately the Foreign and Commonwealth Office of the UK (FCO) has been of little support, perhaps more occupied by tax matters rather than human rights violations,” he said.

“This conference is therefore timely and apposite. It highlights the societal and legal plights of LGBTIQ citizens in the Cayman Islands, acknowledging, in particular, the difficulties faced by Caymanians whose voice has not been heard to date. We further hope that it acts as a catalyst to end criminalisation of homosexuality in the wider Caribbean region.”

The conference, which is now in its seventh year, was founded by Professor Bee Scherer, director of the INCISE research centre at Canterbury Christ Church University. He said, “Local activists approached us last year at the QP6 conference in Canterbury with the view of bringing QP to the Caribbean region; after the success of QP in South America (Rio 2012, Quito 2014) we agreed to support them.”

The conference has attracted criticism from conservative political and religious groups who are opposing LGBTIQ rights and equality, the organisers stated this weekend in a press release.

Although one of the key note speakers is an Anglican bishop, activists said it was sad to see how some churches have tried to boycott the conference rather than engage in a democratic dialogue with experts from all over the world who are coming to the Cayman Islands to share their knowledge and expertise with the public.

“I hope that we will see a fruitful dialogue and not just picketing and shouting,” said Scherer. “We have invited the Rt Hon Dr Alan Wilson, Bishop of Buckingham, as one of the keynote speakers. He will share the UK experience with legislative change around same-sex marriage and make some theological reflections about the queering project of Jesus.”

Bishop Wilson’s presentation is scheduled for Sunday 12 June at 4:00pm following the other keynote speaker, Professor Emeritus Eugenio Raúl Zaffaroni, Justice of the Inter American Court of Human Rights.

“There are still 11 jurisdictions in the Caribbean, all of whom are former colonies of the UK, where LGBTIQ individuals are criminalised,” said Razonvich. “This is unacceptable in 2016 and we are hoping to start a path that would lead to a change in those colonial laws. We have invited Professor Zaffaroni who will share his work on criminal prosecution of ‘sexual orientation’ and its effect on the mental health of society.”

As well as the two keynote speakers, a large number of academics are coming from all over the world to present on a range of relevant topics. There is also a pre-conference event with the showing of a film that has earned international prizes and acclaim, entitled “The Abominable Crime”. This film will be aired for the first time in the Cayman Islands and will be followed by a discussion led by Maurice Tomlinson on Friday at the Auditorium of the Chamber of Commerce from 5:30 PM to 7:00 PM.

See full details of the free conference below and more about QP here:

QP7 Programme

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Category: Local News

Comments (72)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Look, sportsfans, let’s get real, there’s less chance of this conference shaking up Caymanian society as there is of me being elected the president of Argentina based on a platform of A. being British, and B. being against the Falkland Island being returned to Argentina.

    • Anonymous says:

      This poster that calls everyone “sportsfans” is a jerk.

      • Anonymous says:

        I’d rather be a jerk than an ….. well, my mother always told me to be charitable to somewhat damaged individuals, so, all the best, er, sportsfan, and I hope all your dreams and wild asperations actually come true, eventually. (What’s the weather like in the U.K. by the way? Dreary? Guessed as much!)

      • Anonymous says:

        Well, kid, at least your spelling and punctuation was competent. It’s a start. (Do your parents know you are up this late?)

      • Anonymous says:

        You mean like jerk chicken? Pork? Fish? What you talkin’, man?

      • Anonymous says:

        This seems a very odd post for CNS to approve. What the dickens has it got to do with the news piece? Are we publishing the rantings of bigots now? Lord help us.

      • Anonymous says:

        I agree, bro, the difficulty is there aren’t presently any laws on the books here to shut him up, like in the U.K. where you can call the police if you feel offended by someone not agreeing with you, for example. The thing is he clearly feeds off of publicity, so what we all need to is keep our cake holes firmly shut and ignore him. Yes, I know it’s asking a lot, holmes, but it’s the only thing to do, okay? Thanks, dog.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Mr.Scherer’s hope for “a fruitful dialogue and not just picketing and shouting” leaves me puzzled. Has he ever visited Cayman in his life? Does he have any knowledge and understanding of the Caymanian people? Upon what basis would he determine it necessary to voice such a hope? What he’s read or been told? Seems Mr.Scherer’s mind is already made up. There’s a label for persons like that.

  3. Anonymous says:

    “those colonial laws”? This implies that Jamaica is still somehow bound by these colonial laws. Which is a total nonsense. I do wish that lawyers would not treat us all like idiots.

  4. Anonymous says:

    More confusion. What does “QP” stand for?

    • Anonymous says:

      Update : seemed to have meant “queer” but now, apparently, “questioning”. Most mysterious. (Palatability, perhaps?)

  5. Anonymous says:

    God, he created Adam and then Eve ! Unless he created other humans besides Jesus, that make all of us, one big family created by incest?

    • Anonymous says:

      You could be on to something there, but most churches would have a problem with your contention that God “created” Jesus. Ever heard of the Trinity? I

  6. JTB says:

    It’s very disappointing that with more than 20 comments up so far, not one has mentioned homosexuality being ‘rammed down our throats’

    Come on Cayman, step up 🙂

    • Anonymous says:

      A delayed response, but with CNS anxious to present a full range of responses to this extraordinary event (the conference), perhaps still publishable.
      I read this post a few days ago, and being the old fashioned type turned it over in my mind, and would now like to tell you what I reckon (if it’s of any value!).
      I am not a Caymanian, merely married to one. I could never become a Caymanian any more than I could become a Parisian, or a New Yorker, or an Eskimo (the list goes on) for obvious reasons. Nevertheless, this does give me a bit of an insight, amassed over some four decades, almost.
      The Caymanian people are the last people on earth to be whipped up into a frenzy at the drop of a hat. They redefined (for me, at least) the concept of being “laid back”. Nothing seems to rattle them very much, and certainly very lastingly. Matters which would have others forming action groups and such seem to fade into oblivion quite naturally. There is always a considered response to current affairs, mind, and some very strongly expressed stances, have no doubt, but where in other societies this would result in an organized and concerted “plan of action”, well……. this isn’t going to happen in a hurry, or at least in anything approaching in the loosest sense of the word, for sure.
      I have broached this matter with my wife and family members over the years. There has unfailingly been a keen response, and a lot of agreement, but then the conversation has shifted, and the topic quickly forgotten. When I have mentioned it again it is as if I am mentioning it for the very first time. (You, the reader, get the picture!)
      So this latest, and I must say quite spectacular, thing to be presented to the Caymanian people (who are more than familiar with shock and awe since Cayman opened up to the world some forty odd years ago), well, nobody I talk to is talking about it, and that perhaps portends the direction this will be going in. (See above.)
      Oh, there is another feature of the Caymanian people (in my experience) which I would like to mention in closing, and it is what i refer to (to my wife) as “the Caymanian secret weapon” : what they cannot connect with culturally, and therefore cannot fathom, they no longer ponder. Wonderful!

  7. Anonymous says:

    I am appaled frankly that this issue is once again making news. We have hundreds of students graduating right now with little prospects of finding meaningful work, in part due to a failed immigration process. Would our resources not be better utilized in fixing that rather than focusing on this whining opportunist who has a choice our graduates don’t have and that is to go live where he can be free?
    The US is focused on toilets for the transgender minority (less than .2% of the population) while we have professor Raznovich’s ramming his personal agenda down our throats. Nero fiddled while Rome burned.
    Can we please move on to more newsworthy topics and focus on issues that impact the majority? The LGBTQI minority are doing as well as the rest of the law abiding citizens of this country.
    The real discrimation in this country is against our own children. Fix that and I will shut up.

    • Anonymous says:

      Inane zero-sum caveman economics with a bit of unhealthy xenophobia thrown in.

      • Anonymous says:

        No xenophobia, just a real concern that if more of our young people fall through the cracks, no one, not even the LGBTQI’s, with all the protections they seek, is going to be safe here.
        Perhaps you should get your head out of the sand or wherever else you have it stuck and check into reality.

      • Anonymous says:

        Were you trying to make some kind of a point? Have another go, mate.

      • Anonymous says:

        Hey, sportsfan, how’s that (former) M.P. dude’s duckhouse faring? And that other M.P.’s swimming pool, the maintenance of which represented, according to him at least, “incredible value for money for the (British) tax payer” All very “un-inane”, of course. Start thinking, mate. Then you can begin to make some kind of sense, okay?

  8. Anonymous says:

    Welcome us all so we can change your backward culture.

    • Anonymous says:

      “change your backward culture”? You arrogant individual, people like you amaze me, so utterly big-headed, always quick with the intolerance and insult. You don’t even know the first thing about Caymanian culture, so kindly put a (very large!) sock in it until such time as you do. Cheeky!

      • Anonymous says:

        I’m a caymanian and I can agree the laws and the way the people of this island deal with situations like these amaze me, they are backwords for the most part. Why do you want to deny these people their basic rights?, a cherry picked book from 2000 years ago doesn’t govern us so get out of that mindset. All they want is to be treated equally for the most part, to be recognised as normal people because that’s what they are, normal people. There has been a ton of countries that have granted LGBT rights and is it any different from what is was before?, are there wars breaking out from it?, no there’s not. I’m ashamed to be called a caymanian alongside these hateful people.

      • Anonymous says:

        Caymanian culture? What’s that? No one ever seems to be able to define it though challenged many times on this site. Scratchy slightly out of tune fiddle music, heavy cake, wattel and daub building, quadrille dancing, thatch rope making, believing in every word of the Bible as literal truth, especially the Old Testament with its “burn the sinners” message, boasting off about the fact that the seamen made Cayman because they had skills no one else on earth had (though of course they were just the cheap labour of the day-like the Filipinos today), pulling other Caymanians down when they are doing well (crabs in the barrel), blaming absolutely everything bad on foreigners (for example being tolerant to gay people)…….what else folks?

        • Anonymous says:

          Sounds like you are very much in need of enlightenment, friend.

          I’d suggest a trip down to the museum and an evening or so of reading “The History of the Cayman Islands” by Neville Williams, as well as “Cayman Emerges” (A human history of long ago Cayman) by S.O. “Bertie” Ebanks, published by the Northwester Co. Ltd in collaboration with the Boatswain Bay Presbyterian Church in 1983 to commemorate the visit of Queen Elizabeth 11 in 1983 and introduced thus :

          “This book is lovingly dedicated to Her Majesty. Queen Elizabeth 11 on the occasion of Her first visit to the Cayman Islands” February 16 and 17, 1983.

  9. Anonymous says:

    So whats next? Muslims marry girls under 6, People do bestiality should they have the right to marry? Are they next, does this set precedent ?

    • Anonymous says:

      A classic argument of the bigot. Similar arguments were made when bars on inter-racial marriage were being challenged.

    • Sausage Lover says:

      Hey Mr Jingle Jangles, have you seen any precedent set in the many other countries that are ahead of Cayman? I don’t recall hearing of many marriages between a dog and a person? What if the dog is under 6 too, and is muslim? How would that work in your warped little mind??

  10. Anonymous says:

    My dear Mama, blessed – and most welcome – memory, always cautioned me against being taken in by men with their ties not properly done up. My therapist has encouraged me to stand up for what I believe in, hence my immediate and strong stand on this issue, which I will detail in a following post.

  11. Anonymous says:

    I’m getting more confused by the minute. My hearing aid’s on the blink, admittedly, but first it’s MGBGT, then MGCGT, then MGBTV8, and now LMBGTV8TiQ – would somebody please tell me (with aid of a bullhorn, if necessary) what the dickens is going on? Thank you.

    • Anonymous says:

      What is going on is that you are ignorant and you think you are being funny.

      • Anonymous says:

        Mmm…. hey, sportsfan, don’t be such a cynic, and there’s a distinction between thinking you’re something and actually being something. Check out my post’s Lol rating, which I am incredibly proud of (and so is my elderly mother with whom I live, okay?). What does that tell you (I mean the rating)? Try watching SNL, Sergeant Bilko, some “Carry On” films and maybe even Monty Python as you really start loosening up. You’ll feel so much better about yourself and life in general, believe me, AND you’ll be able to kiss that therapist goodbye!

        • Anonymous says:

          I don’t think there is any humor in mocking minorities. You are leaning more towards Michael Richards and Bernard Manning. And your thumbs up? Votes of support from the bigots no doubt that found you funny.

          • Anonymous says:

            Based on your comment I’d be staggered if you found humour in anything. Ever watched “Life of Brian”? Thought not. You should take care with your labeling, friend, as it might present you as little more than naive, petty, and somewhat hollow, rather like the former Labour British PM Brown. You recall what happened when he labeled that lady? (Look it up.) Maybe you agreed with his assessment of her? (You do! What a huge surprise!) As for those who gave me a resounding “thumbs up” and you labeled as well (is this a habit of yours by any chance?), well I’ll take my chances that collectively they are a lot more balanced than you obviously are. (And always check the mike, okay, unlike poor Gordon!)

          • Anonymous says:

            Bernard Manning? Jesus, tell me you weren’t at the Embassy Club live. Tommy Cooper conked out on stage and people thought it was a joke, didn’t poor Bernard do the same thing but collapsed onto a party of six’s dinner table and destroyed it?

          • Anonymous says:

            My goodness, how quick you are to label people – in this case 30 respondents to a post on CNS. Wonder what they think? Or are you (and possibly CNS) not interested?

      • Islandgirl345 says:

        He or she was extremely funny! Lol!….Pity the bike was lost on you

        • Anonymous says:

          Thanks, and glad you picked up on that, which was ….er…..completely intentional, believe me (please!).

          • Anonymous says:

            Okay, I’ll come clean, I’d been dictating to my 97 year old mother and when I said “mic” she thought I was referring to her boyfriend next door.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Mercy Lord, mercy. What are we coming to?

  13. Anonymous says:

    It’s turtles all the way down

  14. Anonymous says:

    Has the government movie censor approved that movie? Wouldn’t be surprised if they showedup. What good pre that would be.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Top of the agenda? Wowsers, I am so glad this is our biggest problem?

  16. Beaumont says:

    Queer? Why was this invective necessary? Or put another way, how does this label differentiate from that of lesbian or gay, transsexual, transgendered or bisexual? How about monosexual — those who only have sex with themselves. Keep it simple and measurable. Heterosexual. Lesbian. Gay. Bi. Trans. Those are the only choices.

    They are people. They are Caymanians, and folk from other nations. This is nothing new. This is history. None should be discriminated against. What you do in your bedroom is your own business.

    The good Lord gave you a brain to think, not to fall in lockstep. Use it wisely.

    • Anonymous says:

      It’s a bit reductive to assume that those are the only choices. It’s a bit like saying you can only be black or white and those are enough words to describe a spectrum of people. There are spectrums of both sexuality (gay, straight etc.) and gender (man, woman etc.) and so there are an infinite number of choices in the spectrum. A queer is someone who doesn’t fit into your rigid definitions but doesn’t identify as someone else. For example, a man who is mostly straight but likes to wear dresses often.

      • Beaumont says:

        No, that is a cross-dresser. It’s not my thing, but I don’t discriminate against a man who so chooses. He is still mostly a heterosexual. I don’t care for the term “queer”. I think it’s disingenuous, and probably mostly used by those who are against LGBT.

        I recall the group “Queer Nation”, who seemed to mostly be a shock group who tended toward the perceived extremes of LGBT. Why should we embrace a derogatory invective? Do you support the use of “queer” to describe any individual?

        Guess what? Most LGBT just want to be left alone, to love whom they choose and to live their lives without persecution. I have no right to judge them. I hope you feel the same. What does it cost you to live and let live?

        • Anonymous says:

          I agree with you about the term “queer”. It has so much negative historical baggage in describing the gay community that I find it difficult to see how it can be of any positive use to anyone. And attempting to “correct” this by flinging it into people’s faces is both futile and counter-productive – and downright comical – in my view. Word definitions can change, but I’m not sure the extent to which this term can be “directed” regardless of how passionate one might feel. Always agreed with “live and let live” myself, as well.

    • Anonymous says:

      I’m getting more and more confused, and the introduction of this “queer” classification isn’t helping matters at all. Can anyone enlighten me? Never heard of “monosexual” before, but i guess I must have been one in my misspent youth (thankfully, retaining excellent eyesight despite my mother’s warnings of dire consequences!).

      • Beaumont says:

        You got it right, and thanks for the humor. Humor really matters, especially when we’re tearing each other apart. Cheers.

        • Anonymous says:

          You are most welcome. I have observed that so often those who would demean others (like calling Caymanian culture and its people a blanket “backward”, for instance) end up tearing themselves and their causes apart. Very counter-productive. Humour, including in particular poking fun at oneself and recognizing the absurdity of things, is such a powerful tool because it reminds us that we are all human and far from perfect.

  17. Anonymous says:

    The Cayman Ministers Association spokesperson/contact (as per their website) is rector@churchofenglandcayman.com.

    Where is St Alban’s (Church of England in the Cayman Islands) on this? Rt Hon Dr Alan Wilson, Bishop of Buckingham is a Bishop of the Church of England.

    • Anonymous says:

      They split years ago from the official Church of England and now they write letters to the HM the Queen about getting back to the values of the 1600’s.

      • Anonymous says:

        And what exactly was wrong about the 1600s? People knew their places in life and the right thing to do was to happy about it. Nice and orderly as long as you were a member of the bloodthirsty ruling class!

  18. Unison says:

    To my atheist friends:

    I am a God believing person, more of a deist, and I can tell you that I have no problems with accepting scientific research as it relates to diverse human nature. I believing it is clearly self-evident that God intended for a male sex-organ be used with a female one to procreate life and to raise a family, that which two persons of the same sex-organ can never do. Nevertheless, because I see God a God of science and nature more than a God of blind faith, I believe certain people are uniquely made to be different. Many are born a certain way, attracted to the same sex, and I think that should respected. Besides such couples will help the world from being overpopulated.

    I oppose all manner of “hate” expressed by churches and the organized religions with their religious texts. Has not God given you commonsense and a conscience to know it is wrong to hate??? Why must you blindly follow ministers, priests, and religious texts without the use of your God-given endowments of reason, empathy, and scientific awareness???

    In terms of morality, right from wrong, let me say this – Of course it is wrong to lust, to cheat, to be dishonest … this thing are far from what is godly love. However do not point the finger at only the LGBTIQ community. Lust, adultery, and all manner of sins prevails in heterrosrxual relationships too. Many married couples are in the sin boat too. In fact we all from time to time will sin against God and we all should repent when we see we are doing harm to ourselves and others. We are called to have high moral standards.

    In Cayman I look forward for a more fairer and god-reverence democracy. I hope one day we learn to accept difference and at the same time respect the family unit and “unique individuals.”

    • Nick says:

      Thank you for your comment, as a gay man I am I thank you for it.

      Touching another point – to the Christians out there, when you read in your Bible do not judge, did it exclude the LGBT community? If not then stopped because you give none believers the right to call you hypocriticates!

      God loves!

      • Anonymous says:

        Are we not to judge anyone, or anything, is that your point? That’s a dangerous and reckless (and scary, frankly )world you are suggesting, friend. God did give us the ability to discern what is good and what is evil. What each is is for us to figure out, surely?

        • Unison says:

          Understood … I discern from nature that it is an evil, a sin to engage in sexual relations with the same sex IF you are not made by God with the homosexual disposition … but instead follow after the lust of your own heart.

          However, what do you say to those with the homosexual disposition, born a certain way??? If God is the Creator, how can what comes from God be a sin itself??? Sounds like people are following interpretations of “holy books”, ministers and priests- and not God’s book of nature and commonsense.

          For vice versa … it would be a sin or an evil for a homosexually inclined person to try to live like a heteosexual person … because society dictates he or she must do so. *Religious people who follow authorities more than use their god-given reason and consciences, find it hard to accept this plain reality of diverse natures in God’s creation. :/

    • John says:

      I mean no offense, but to mix the concept of religion with empirical science is to mix water into your gasoline to keep your car from overheating.

    • Anonymous says:

      Sportsfan, I cannot, in all honesty, make head nor tail of what you are talking about. However, your apparent suggestion that homosexuality be encouraged to prevent overpopulation is somewhat intriguing, certainly. Whether or not it ever makes it to the U.N. for serious consideration remains to be seen, I suppose.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Nothing but the blood of jesus!

    • Anonymous says:

      Are you mocking Jesus by this post, or just not using a capital letter?

      • Nicholas Diaz says:

        Can’t mock someone who doesn’t exist

      • Anonymous says:

        I do hope they were mocking jesus.

      • Anonymous says:

        what is he gonna do?, appear in front of me and say to write his name with a capital “j” while he leaves millions of people starving and dying elsewhere in the world?

        • Anonymous says:

          It’d be a start, friend. Imagine refusing to address someone correctly but then bewailing that they don’t help you. Wouldn’t make sense, would it?

          • Anonymous says:

            Yes, remember John 3:17-18 “Blessed are those that capitalize properly for they will have the help of the Lord. And those that do not use capitals properly, even by way of keyboard error, should be taken outside the walls of the town, shaved and stoned.”

            • Anonymous says:

              oh look cherry picking out of a 2000 year old book that was re-written hundreds of times to suit the writers beliefs and to control people

            • Anonymous says:

              What version are you using, sportsfan?. No, this is a serious enquiry.

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