As part of my work with the Caribbean Region of the IRN (International Resource Network), I have organized events and been working on several projects that bring together activists, artists, scholars, and writers who engage with the lives and concerns of sexual minorities in the region and in its diaspora. I have had the great opportunity to build with and support the amazing organizing happening in the region. And I have had the honor to help bring awareness to the complexity of our lives at home and abroad. I have the pleasure of being on the board of the Caribbean IRN since 2008, and I co-chair with my friend and colleague Rosamond King – and we are on the board with Colin Robinson and Natalie Bennett – and our coordination consultant is Vidyaratha Kissoon. This has been some of the most rewarding community work I have been a part of â€” work that challenges the divide between academia and community, work that consistently challenges us in the diaspora to ground ourselves in the local/regional, work that reminds us of the common and different struggles we face as sexual minorities â€” lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, questioning, queer, and all the names/unnames we give ourselves.I wanted to spend some time on conscious vibration sharing two of the exciting projects we are in the process of building and bringing to fruition.1) Open Source (free access) Digital Archive Collection with Digital Library of the Caribbean (dLOC) – in the past two years of collecting resources and sharing information among our networks, the Caribbean IRN has been building a general collection of information, reports, resources, data, creative, and scholarly work on issues related to diverse genders and sexualities in the Caribbean. We are also digitizing and preserving a beautiful collection of materials from the Gay Freedom Movement (GFM) in Jamaica (active from 1974-1983). The general collection is up and available for review on our page on the dLOC website. And the GFM Collection will be available sometime late June. We are also hosting an event to launch the GFM collection on July 21st that will be hosted in Brooklyn and also broadcast on the web with hubs in the region. I will post more details on this important event soon! In the meantime, PLEASE check out and spread the news about these important collections we are building on dLOC.2) Theorizing Homophobia(s) in the Caribbean Project – articles, essays, non-fiction, fiction, stories, poetry, activist reports, visual art, music, interviews, and other works that will reflect on the complexities of homophobia(s) in the Caribbean and to expand awareness about Caribbean LGBT lives, experiences, and activism in the region and its diaspora. (Deadline for proposals is April 30th!!! – an abstract/description and a bio – see details below.)Background for this project:Â During the first Caribbean Sexualities Gathering sponsored by the Caribbean IRN in June 2009, we brought together over 30 activists, scholars, and community workers from inside and outside the region. One of the issues raised during our workshop meeting was the need for a defining and re-defining of homophobia in the Caribbean from a variety of perspectives, and more specifically, the need for theorizing about the different kinds of homophobia(s) across the region. A year later, the Caribbean IRN facilitated a workshop on Strategies to Confront Homophobia at the annual Caribbean Studies Association conference. We expanded upon this issue by highlighting the realities of sexual minority organizing, offering possible sites and contexts for exploring this issue, and creating space for scholars, artists, writers, and activists to exchange.
Â These projects are great and amazing and so damn important. More info on the Theorizing Homophobia(s) in the Caribbean project at link.