RUDOLPH Hanamji, organiser of this country’s first Pride parade last Sunday, yesterday welcomed Monday’s statement by RC Archbishop Jason Gordon in support of the LGBT community’s right to publicly advocate for their rights.
In June, Gordon was among a group of six religious leaders, including Hindu and Muslim, under an umbrella group, RebuildTT, who declared their opposition to gay marriage, but on Monday he said the LGBT community had “legitimate concerns for their rights” which must be taken seriously in a democratic country.
Newsday asked about a seeming softening of stance by the archbishop.
Hanamji said, “We saw the missive and the different NGOs, we talked to each other.
“We see it as a positive step. We were a bit surprised with that initial grouping of the religious leaders in a negative way.
“But these are new times. Leaders are being forced to reconsider the old notions and know they must interact with people.”
He said while leaders shift from position to position until they find their footing, the LGBT community would like to see some consistency soon.
“First, we do welcome it, any leader that supports a position on human rights.”
He said a leader cannot one time say he supports human rights, yet another time say he supports only certain human rights.
“It comes across as pandering. At the end of the day you should simply support human rights.”
Hanamji did not like leaders trying to pander to both sides of the debate. “They should just educate themselves and then educate people, be open-minded and focus on the fact that love is love, and not be judgemental and hateful.”
Newsday asked about other religious leaders in RebuildTT.
“Some religious leaders interpret religion in their own way. We have many members in the LGBT community who are of various religious faiths and who interpret their religion differently.”
He said many LGBT people don’t feel represented by certain religious heads.
Otherwise, Hanamji said the Pride parade was attended by 400 participants.
“I’m an idealist, a bit of a dreamer, so I expected a positive turnout. But it was still overwhelming. Even when things go the way you want them to go, you still feel amazing about it.”