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The English-speaking Caribbean is an outlier in the region.

The fact that buggery and gross indecency laws are still on the books there is in stark contrast with recent developments in Latin America where states including Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador, Mexico, and Uruguay have been progressive in enacting non-discrimination policies and anti-bias legislation.

The laws have broad latitude, are vaguely worded, and serve to legitimize discrimination and hostility towards LGBT people in the Eastern Caribbean.

They are rarely enforced by way of criminal prosecutions but all share one common trait: by singling out, in a discriminatory manner, a vulnerable social group they give social and legal sanction for discrimination, violence, stigma, and prejudice against LGBT individuals.

“I have never felt safe in manhood,” the speaker states in language so starkly simple that it takes one’s breath away.

“You Have You Father Hard Head” does what art and poetry on rare occasions sometimes can: confers upon the invisible a dignity of careful and loving perception that simply did not exist before.

Latin American countries, including Argentina, Brazil, and Chile have taken an international lead advocating for the rights of LGBT people at the United Nations.

Several, including Costa Rica, Mexico, and Uruguay, are members of the Core Group of LGBT friendly states at the United Nations and of the Equal Rights Coalition, a group currently composed of 33 states committed to the rights of LGBT people.

In the Eastern Caribbean, family and church are cornerstones of social life.

All countries featured in this report are members of the Organization of American States and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).

Except for Barbados, all also belong to the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS).

BY CHRISTOPHER MURRAY | One of Trinidadian writer Colin Robinson’s new poems from his inaugural collection, recently published by the UK’s Peepal Tree Press, begins, “I crossed water and waited/ at the ridge of the sea my notebook open.” That image provides a single, orienting snapshot of the speaker as our cicerone, guiding us through a collection that concerns itself with many different people, passions, places, tones, textures, and troubles.

The speaker’s attention can veer even within a single poem from the intensely personal to the mythologizing, from the philosophical to the desperate.

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CARICOM and the OECS seek regional integration through economic cooperation and shared administrative functions.

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