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United National Congress candidate for Barataria/San Juan, Saddam Hosein, left and incumbent MP Dr Fuad Khan greet a resident during a walkabout on Don Miguel Road in Barataria yesterday.

BOBIE-LEE DIXON

([email protected])

PrideTT said yesterday that homophobic or transphobic attacks will not be tolerated under any circumstances on the campaign trail or on our nation’s streets, during and after the 2020 upcoming electoral season.

PrideTT made the statement in response to a smear campaign against Opposition MP Saddam Hosein, involving a social media post raising speculation over the lifestyle of the candidate for the San Juan/Barataria constituency.

Hosein has since dismissed the allegation but PrideTT said it was clear the smear was meant to not only sully Hosein’s character but also to affect his candidacy.

The collective body for the LGBTQI+ community said, “PrideTT would like to categorically state that a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity should have any bearing on their ability and qualifications to do any job in T&T.”

It added, “Furthermore, persons who are victims of these attacks should be protected by the law which is why senators and MPs need to support legislation such as the amendments to the Equal Opportunity Act (EOC) and Domestic Violence Act.”

Today PrideTT will launch its month of activities by visiting the parliament in which it would take its Empowerment Manifesto and present it to the political directorate as a prerequisite for the LGBTQI+ community’s support. It sending it is sending a clear message to all politicians that queer votes count.

On Tuesday, the Senate voted against protection for same-sex couples—an act PrideTT described as another backward step made by our legislators. It said in this election season it called on all political parties to clearly state their commitment and support towards amending the Equal Opportunity Commission Act, to include protection against discrimination based on someone’s sexual orientation, age, and HIV status as part of their election campaigns.

The proposal for same-sex couples to have access to, and apply for protection orders under Domestic Violence law, was brought by Independent Senator Hazel Thompson-Ahye.

“We are calling on all parties to refrain from using incendiary and offensive personal attacks, particularly those that are based on a person’s sexual orientation and gender identity/expression, (perceived or otherwise),” PrideTT declared.

It said political parties must publicly denounce and disavow any association with their supporters who choose to display such abhorrent behaviour against any minority group.