March 29, 2019

THE United Caribbean Trans Network will host an executive and steering committee strategic planning meeting in The Bahamas next month to address transgender rights.

Trans leaders from CARICOM countries and OAS member states will unite from April 5-9 to discuss the way forward.

In a press statement, Alexus D’Marco, UCTRANs chair, said most countries in the Caribbean have no legal recognition of transgender affirmed gender identity.

“Without official documents that recognize their gender identity, transgender people are often denied access to basic rights, including the right to health, education, justice and social welfare,” the press release noted.

“This often results in exclusion from social and civic participation, harassment and stigmatisation, limited access to protection, justice and redress and inadequate provision of health care services. Transgender people are also more susceptible to violence, including physical and sexual violence.”

The statement added: “The chair highlighted that in the Caribbean, population size estimates for the transgender community are largely absent. Similarly, data on incidences of gender-based violence prevalence among transgender persons is limited.

“Where information is available, it indicates significantly higher rates of HIV prevalence. Transgender women are also particularly affected by HIV. Estimates show that HIV prevalence for transgender women in the region range from eight percent to 31 percent and there are few support programmes that address their specific needs. Where programmes do exist, they rarely include access to sexual and reproductive health services or HIV prevention, testing and treatment services.”

UCTRANS was established in February 2018.

In 2016, with Ms D’Marco as lead spokesperson, Bahamas Transgender, Intersex United (BTIU) launched a campaign for equal rights for transgender Bahamians. That year, she estimated there were more than 50 transgender people living in The Bahamas.

*Originally published at The Tribune By Riel Major

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