Local gays cry discrimination

Published: March 5, 2011

Despite being jeered, mocked, alienated and harassed by the public and even law enforcement officers, openly gay Kennty Mitchell walks the streets with his head high. He admits that he has often thought about seeking asylum abroad, but 33-year-old Mitchell refuses to hide from the glare of public scrutiny, or live his life in shame. An outspoken Mitchell commented on an exclusive story in T&T Guardian on Thursday where a Trinidadian was granted asylum in the United States last year, based on a claim that he faced continued persecution in this country because he is gay.

“I don’t blame him because things are not getting better for us here at all,” he said. Mitchell, who accused the Government of not caring about gays, said they must be afforded same rights and protection given to other citizens. He said he would love to get married to his significant other with whom he had been living with for the past 13 years. Mitchell, who has always been open about his sexual orientation, said life in T&T for a gay person is very difficult. He said as a homosexual, he faces discrimination and victimisation daily. As a result, he said, local gays and lesbians usually meet and hang out in secret locations.

He estimates that there are about 100,000 gay people in the country and believes there are several homosexuals masquerading as straight men because they are afraid. “I believe there are about one to two gay people in every family,” he said. Despite the odds, the supermarket employee says he tries to lead a “normal” life. Mitchell says what most people detest about him is that he fights back. “I am a fighter…I do not allow people to walk all over me and do what they want,”  he said. So far, Mitchell has won two lawsuits against the police for wrongful arrest and false imprisonment and he now has two similar lawsuits pending.

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