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In Barbados, the age of consent is 16 but “there is still the issue of the age of access versus the age of consent.” Keriann explained that there’s no legal framework that prevents young people between 16 and 18 from accessing SRH services; there is the cultural “assumption that they must bring parent/guardian to be seen by a medical professional.”
Dr. Rashida Daisley the 31-year-old Clinical Director of the Barbados Family Planning Association (BFPA) is providing critical support to the LGBTIQ+ community and filling gaps in access to sexual and reproductive health services in Barbados.
Both Marina and Ana can vividly recount the experiences that brought them to Trinidad 3 years ago. Today, they are both clients of the Family Planning Association of Trinidad and Tobago (FPATT) receiving care to meet their varying sexual and reproductive health needs.
“Until a gay or transgender person can walk the streets freely and not be jeered at by passers-by, we still have a long way to go. Until they can access treatment at any public facility without fear or judgment, we have a lot of work to do. It would take a lot of education to change the stigma and discrimination but there is absolutely no reason why another person’s life should be miserable because their expression is different to ours,” Dr. Gregory Boyce Family Planning Association of Trinidad and Tobago (FPATT)
Before the FPATT clinic, migrants who needed SRH healthcare have had to book appointments with private doctors who often charge more than the migrants can afford.
Kiamara Meneses, 25, a sociologist, says that she found out about the institution through Facebook and when she arrived at counseling with her partner she felt confident: “We liked the way the explanation was provided and it was all very clear, so we kept coming back all of 2019, until 2020, because I was considering having a subdermal implant and I came to consult”, she commented.
“Machismo is cultivated since childhood. That, in some way, is making it difficult to correct some things so far, because it’s part of the culture transmitted from generation to generation”
“As a young professional, one of the challenges I often face is balancing my profession with my active lifestyle and practicing self-care. This is why I couldn’t be happier with FPA’s online store”, Hilyann says.
Students, Zavannah and Xian, are currently studying social work as one of their majors at the EPI vocational school. “FPA is one of our favorite organizations to work with, they are very accommodating to our deadlines and provide tailored information. We have already done various projects with them and we still choose FPA every chance we get”, Zavannah says.
For persons like Brandy Rodriguez, Healthcare Navigator at the Family Planning Association of Trinidad and Tobago (FPATT), the struggle is both real and personal. In 1999, Brandy began her transition to womanhood and since 2006 has been working with FPATT in their HIV programme for the LGBTQI Community.