TRINIDADIAN Brandy Rodriguez was recognised on Monday by Queen Elizabeth II for her exceptional service supporting the trans community and LGBT+ rights, with her award coinciding with International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia.
A release from the British High Commission said Rodriguez was bestowed the180th Commonwealth Point of Light.
Brandy is a transwoman who has been a leading voice for the trans community and the advancement of LGBT+ rights in Trinidad and Tobago for over 20 years, the release said.
“As president of the TT Transgender Coalition, Brandy works to ensure safe health care services are available specifically for people from the LGBT+ community and people with HIV and AIDS. Brandy also provides training and workshops to workplaces across the country to reduce stigma, discrimination and violence towards the transgender community,” the release added.
The queen, as part of the legacy of the Commonwealth heads of government meeting in London in 2018, and as head of the Commonwealth, is thanking inspiration volunteers across the 54 member nations “for the difference they are making in their communities and beyond, by recognising one volunteer from each Commonwealth country every week.”
“By sharing these stories of service, the Commonwealth Points of Light awards celebrate inspirational acts of volunteering across the Commonwealth and help inspire others to make their own contribution to tackling some of the greatest social challenges of our time,” the release said.
Rodriguez is only the second transgender volunteer from the Commonwealth to receive this award.
She received a personalised certificate signed the queen as head of the Commonwealth and will be presented to her by British High Commissioner Harriet Cross at a later date.
On receiving the award, Rodriguez said, “For 22 years it has been an uphill battle, especially in the Caribbean. My conviction to not be silenced and to help vulnerable people keeps me committed to my goal of a better more inclusive future for all.
“This award gives further encouragement and will allow me to continue shedding light on the importance of including all people, particularly the transgender community. I will also use it to shine a spotlight on the importance of sexual and reproductive health rights.
“ I know that, together, we will all be able to create a TT where everyone is comfortable and free to be themselves.”
Cross said Rodriguez continued to work tirelessly to champion equality in TT.
“In my recent discussions with her I was inspired by the work she has been doing over the past 20 years to promote inclusion, while driving progress on key issues like sexual and reproductive health rights.
“I am delighted that Brandy will join four others from Trinidad and Tobago who have received this prestigious award from Her Majesty the Queen. Brandy is the 180th person and the second transgender advocate in the Commonwealth to receive this award.
“I wish her the continued strength to carry on this important work. I hope this award will remind us all that equality and inclusion are right and necessary and that all human beings deserve to be treated fairly.”