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Colin Robinson, ‘Herculean’ activist who fought for LGBT+ equality throughout the Caribbean, passes away aged 59

Omar Balde March 13, 2021
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Colin Robinson

Colin Robinson. (YouTube)

LGBT+ trailblazer Colin Robinson has tragically died at age 59 of colon cancer.

The author and activist, from Trinidad and Tobago, died at his sister’s house in Washington, DC on 4 March.

Robinson was an LGBT+ activist for more than 40 years, fighting for pride and equality all over the Caribbean.

He founded CAISO in 2009, a Trinidadian LGBT+ advocacy organisation. In the 1990s he co-founded the Audre Lorde Project and Caribbean Pride while he was studying in New York City. Between 1998 and 2003 he was on the international board of directors of OutRight Action.

One of his most important fights was for the decriminalisation of consensual same-sex sexual relations in Trinidad and Tobago. A ban on gay sex was overturned in 2018.

As a poet, Robinson published a collection called You Have You Father Hard Head. His work appeared in journals and anthologies such as Calabash, Caribbean Erotic: Poetry, Prose, and Essays, The Caribbean Writer, Corpus: an HIV Prevention Publication and Moko.

Caribbean organisations came forward to mourn Robinson’s death, among them CAISO.

It tweeted: “We share in this enormous loss with the many communities, organisations and people who Colin collaborated with over his four decades of activism, community building and fierce commitment to human rights.”

Caribbean Vulnerable Communities, a group that fights HIV/AIDS discrimination, said Robinson’s “contribution to advancing the cause of LGBT+ people across the region in his over four decades of activism, community building and standing up for human rights is one we applaud and celebrate in his memory”.

“Organisations across the Caribbean, and indeed the world, can attest to Colin’s creatively imaginative ways of fighting for justice, always ensuring that these efforts were grounded in the collective voice, lived experiences and will of the LGBT+ community across the region,” it added.

Jessica Stern, executive director of OutRight Action International paid tribute to Robinson.

“Colin’s work for the LGBTIQ community in Trinidad was herculean, long-lasting, and transformative, he was also very clever and funny, so you wanted to know what he was thinking and would say next,” Stern said. “Though Colin’s life was too short, his impact was great and his legacy will endure,”

 

Related topics: Caribbean

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