THE EDITOR: I am grateful to pay a small public tribute to the late Brandy Rodriguez, who recently died, as reported in the media.
She was a human-rights activist who advocated for people in the LGBTQI community in Trinidad and Tobago.
As president of the TT Transgender Coalition, her hard work was recognised by Queen Elizabeth II only earlier this year when she received the 180th Commonwealth Point of Light award.
I met Ms Rodriguez in 2016, as a young doctor of four years, enrolled in a pilot workshop on providing services to marginalised communities in TT.
I was completely naive in my world outlook, but she patiently allowed me time to get comfortable and allowed me to ask questions on anything related to the transgender community and the lives of people who are unseen in TT, either deliberately or unintentionally.
The hour-long workshop and subsequent equally long conversation opened my eyes to the plight of people in marginalised communities in my country and how preconceived notions can become barriers for all persons.
I was amazed at the tenacity of everyday living and the struggles many face. I learned then that even with the best of education and skill, sadly, our shallow perceptions set limits on amazing potential.
From that experience, I not only became a better physician but a better human being. That singular conversation will stay with me until my dying day.
I believe that all medical students, and by extension, all people in our country will benefit from the shared wisdom and life experiences that I was privileged to be a part of on that day. It engendered tolerance and evolved into respect.
Brandy's passion and courage is the sort of thing one reads of in motivation books and is testimony to the reality that everyday people are extraordinary.
DR VEDAVID MANICK