Supporting trans people living with HIV in theCaribbean -United Caribbean Trans Network (UCTRANS)

We are pleased to provide support for a project to address the needs of transgender people living with HIV in the Caribbean in the context of COVID-19.

Connecting the UCTRANS Strategic Plan’s Priority issues and the Global
AIDS Strategy
The new Global AIDS Strategy “Maximize equitable and equal access to HIV services and
solutions” and “Break down barriers to achieving HIV outcomes” are the two focus areas
that most closely associate with the UCTRANS Priority Issues. UCTRANS as a Network, and therefore
throughout its membership in the Caribbean’s most significant focus is on Legal Gender
Recognition. Without full, inclusive legal gender recognition trans people are denied access to
basically everything.
With reflection on how UCTRANS can continue to best support trans communities in countries with
member organizations we decided to continue similar support efforts to reach out continuously to
4 countries, where through our contacts and networks we realize our community suffer the most
under the impact of COVID-19 in general, economically, in health and within their socioeconomic
situations. We decided to utilize this emergency funds to remain in support of Belize, Bahamas,
Guyana, Haiti and Trinidad and Tobago.
UCTRANS will disseminate funds to member organizations who will in return utilize it to support their
community members at their discretion. We acknowledge that each member organization in the
different countries are faced by various and diverse challenges. As a Network we do not want to
be restrictive in the way each organization should use the funds. The previous round of support
worked well, and the organizations appreciated the flexibility.
We will give suggested guidelines, similar to the previous round of support and in return the
organizations will report back, indicating how they decided to best apply the money.

Our suggested criteria is that community members receiving support identify on the trans and
gender diverse spectrum. Priority should be given to the community members most impacted.
Our suggested guideline for funds allocation:
 Emergency Housing, such as entrance fee at shelters or other economic accommodation
options
 Food support
 PPE, sanitize products, masks and other health-hygiene supplies
 Transport money to pick up, or have delivered medicines, ARVs and COVID-19 tests,
medication and related medical support
 Data, phone and call cards/ vouchers – for community members to stay in contact, and
especially if they are in need of food or medication, to communicate that
 Trauma, depression and or anxiety counselling
 Support for community members in the position to seek employment

Our Regional Advocacy Strategy Pathway for Legal Gender Recognition.

This regional advocacy strategy focuses on the development of a framework for trans-affirming laws and
policies that promote full inclusion and equal opportunity for transgender people in the Caribbean. The
specific objective of this advocacy strategy is to in the next five years is to have Governments commit and take
steps to enact laws and implement policies that allows for legal gender recognition and which promote the full
inclusion of trans people as equal citizens. These laws and/or policies should provide for (a) legal gender
markers that allow a trans person to indicate a preferred gender of Male or Female; and/or (b) addition of a
‘third gender’ or a gender-neutral or non-binary option. This strategy is developed to allow for coordinated
advocacy efforts geared at securing legal gender recognition in the UCTRANS member countries.
Regional Context
Trans people in the Caribbean are adversely affected by the absence of legal gender recognition. There is little
evidence of any legislative or policy framework that allows for legal gender recognition in the Caribbean. In
UCTRANS member countries, trans persons are largely unable to change their gender markers on identifying
documents, such as drivers licenses, birth certificates and passports. This inability to change gender markers
makes it increasingly difficult for trans people to access certain services, secure employment, attend school,
and conduct everyday business transactions, such as opening bank accounts. There are no laws that recognize
a third gender. National measurement tools such as census, demographic and health surveys do not recognize
or capture data relating to the gender identity of trans people. The inability of trans people to legally change
their gender markers contributes to the isolation and invisibilization of trans persons in the region.

Our Strategic Approach and Core Activities
The regional advocacy strategy grew out of a recognition that for trans people in the region to live their lives
with dignity, they need to be legally recognized in accordance with their own deeply felt internal and
individual experience of gender. Legal gender recognition will help to alleviate some of the associated
challenges trans people in the Caribbean have in going about their daily lives. UCTRANS will:

  1. Advocate: Engage in advocacy for legal gender recognition by
    a) Mapping and engaging key stakeholders
    b) Identifying opponents and developing a plan on how to respond /engage with opponents
    c) Managing risk and uncertainties
    d) Conducting monitoring and evaluation;
  2. Connect: Connect stakeholders in the trans communities across the region;
  3. Research: Conduct and disseminate research on issues affecting trans people in the region, provide
    updates on key legal developments and best practices on legal gender recognition, and support legal
    UCTRANS/Each member country to advise what is the preferred period/time frame for each member country

Pathway To Gender Identity Recognition

Gender Identity laws are often framed in a way that makes them only accessible to citizens of a country. This is problematic for refugees, migrants and other displaced people who face double stigma and marginalization of being both trans or intersex, and a non-national. When they need documents in their new country that enable them to live and work, they often also need legal gender recognition for which few countries make the provision for. This results in them having legal documents that make it hard for them to find refuge and access their rights in a new country.

Gender Markers campaign-Social Media Live

Next up on our #GenderMarkers campaign Social Media Live is a conversation about the challenges transgender people face because of incorrect gender markers when traveling & accessing healthcare. Tune in tomorrow on our Facebook page for this enlightening discussion.

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Join the conversation  

Join the conversation tomorrow on UCTRANS’ Facebook page when Alexus and Yaisah discuss, “The Importance of #GenderMarkers in the Caribbean Region.”

Gender Markers

#GenderMarkers are an important step towards gender affirmation. The more affirmed trans people are to navigate different spaces safely; the less risk of violence and discrimination against them.

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Gender Markers Importance

Having #GenderMarkers and chosen names that are aligned with gender identities are important steps in transitioning for most trans persons. Transitioning can be social, medical and/or legal and varies for each individual

Virtual Sensitization Session with Police Officers from the Caribbean Region

For many transgender citizens, having a gender identity that is not reflected in their official documents often leads to exposure to much humiliation and violence. It also effectively denies them their legal rights and citizenship. Importantly, without official documents that recognize their gender identity.

Today we host our sensitization session to build the capacity of Police Officers in the region, on the issues and challenges faced by the Transgender population.

At the end of this sensitization session, participants will:

1. Understand the terms gender, gender identity, gender markers and human rights

.2. Be aware of the international agreements that protect Transgender people.

3. Be exposed to the punitive national laws and policies that adversely affect transgender people and fail to recognize their human rights.

4. Have an understanding of the current situation as it relates to the transgender population (access to justice and social services)