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Griffith:  Gays are people too

Griffith:  Gays are  people too George Griffith, the executive director of the Barbados Family Planning Association.

By Sanka Price | Mon, March 10, 2014 - 12:04 AM

GAY WOMEN AND prostitutes are women too and should not be discriminated against, says social worker George Griffith.

And he called on the leaders of women’s groups to acknowledge the presence of these women in society and speak out on issues affecting them as well.

“There is a glaring omission in recognition of these women. There are not to be the butt of jokes or snide remarks . . . . There are people too with an intrinsic worth and dignity which should be respected,” said Griffith, the executive director of the Barbados Family Planning Association (BFPA).

Speaking on the commemoration of International Women’s Day last Saturday, he charged that women who were recognised and described as being gay here were ostracised and that was why those who purported to speak on behalf of women did not recognise them publicly.

“These women to a large extent are voiceless, faceless, nameless and are forced to live in the shadows and fringes of society.”

Griffith said each year one could predict what was going to be said and by whom, and mainstream Barbados was targeted while ignoring a growing minority of women who were no less worthy or whose contribution was no less important.

“The society is not made up of all heterosexuals. There are homosexuals in Barbados, and it is really an insult to 21st century Barbados that so many leaders in society in the women’s movement persistently ignore that persons in same-sex unions are an integral part of this society. There are no less capable of making a contribution to the development of Barbados . . . . We have to embrace them.

“Gay women are people too. They are our sisters, aunts, mothers sometimes, and they have a right to express themselves sexually in the same way that those of us who are heterosexual do,” the veteran social worker said.

He added that those women who worked as prostitutes often did this as it was their only means of survival to support their children, and would otherwise be living on the streets.

“These are women who are mothers as well. We need to include them,” said Griffith, explaining the international family planning movement recognised diversity.

The BPFA head said if Barbados wanted to say it was a developed society, based on the principles of freedom and democracy, it could not consistently ignore this sector in society because homosexuality was a way of life for some people in Barbados.

“If you discriminate against people on race, the society will come down on you like a ton of bricks. But you discriminate against people based on their sexual orientation and there is a deafening silence in the society . . . and they all have fundamental rights we have to respect.”

• sankaprice@nationnews.com

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Posted by Carl Harper 7 months, 3 weeks ago
"[Griffith] called on the leaders of women’s groups to acknowledge the presence of [lesbians and prostitutes] in society and speak out on issues affecting them as well."

Mr Griffith, that is one hard-hitting speech on which, once again, there will be deafening silence. While women's group continue to speak out vehemently on violence against women by men, nothing is ever mentioned about woman-on-woman violence which is very much part of our domestic landscape. 

It is almost like women's group are ashamed to acknowledge that lesbians and prostitutes live, love and work among us and are subject to the same hostility and discrimination as other women.

Prostitutes do no only ply their trade around the racetrack in exchange for money. They operate in air conditioned offices where promotions are the reward for a liason with the boss. 

It is well-known those who conduct their business from upscale neighborhoods under the guise of love, using deferred credit and layaway plan as the preferred methods of payment.

Instead, these groups that represent women causes ostracize some of the very women who need their assistance and support the most.

Rather than protest and walk out when the realities of domestic violence situations are presented, women and men's groups need to stop fighting each other and find common ground to bring an end to violence and discrimination, not only against "straight" and well-to-do Barbadians but those who live in the shadows of society.

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Posted by Mac 10 7 months, 3 weeks ago
“If you discriminate against people on race, the society will come down on you like a ton of bricks. But you discriminate against people based on their sexual orientation and there is a deafening silence in the society . . . and they all have fundamental rights we have to respect.”

Well said George. I hope the powers that be & the wider population are listening.

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Posted by Mapp of Bar 7 months, 3 weeks ago
First and foremost , prostitution is the world's oldest profession. But that said, I have a problem when race comes into the debate with gay issues. There is a difference but many in the gay movement including those in North America continue to use race and the gains made in the civil rights movement to make the two inclusive. In the United States for instance, blacks have paid with their blood, sweat , and tears for rights and the gay movement is just using those gains to advance their own causes.

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Posted by Robert Goode 7 months, 3 weeks ago
Thank you Mr. Griffith, give them a lesson in tolerance. You are doing what MESA and NOW should be doing, standing up for the equality of human beings. Mr. Boyce and Ms. Rice-Bowen stand up.

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