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    Our UN Sustainable Development Goal Gallery Takeover

    In 2015, more than 190 world leaders committed to 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for the United Nations’ Agenda 2030. The SDGs seek to achieve a more prosperous, equitable, and sustainable world under 5 overarching themes.

    These themes, “the five Ps” focus on:

    1. People
    2. Planet
    3. Partnership
    4. Prosperity
    5. Peace

    The Goals

    The 17 goals are expansive and cover a range of focal points, including No Poverty (Goal 1), Gender Equality (Goal 5) and Reduced Inequalities (Goal 10). For a list of all 17 goals, you can check out the UN SDG site.


    What do these goals have to do with LGBTQI people?

    While there are no goals specifically dedicated to LGBTQI equality, the intersectional and comprehensive nature of the goals leaves much consideration for those who face inequality on the basis of their sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and sex characteristics (SOGIESC).

    The foundational principle of the 2030 is “Leave no one behind” which is of particular interest to the LGBTQI community as the people most affected by inequality and lack of equal access to resources are those who belong to intersecting vulnerable populations. For example, people who are queer, trans, black, poor, disabled and living with HIV are often barred from accessing resources that allow them to live with dignity, simply because of who they are.

    The SDG Mobile Gallery

    In November of 2018, the UN office for Barbados and the OECS launched their SDG Gallery which promoted local awareness of achieving the 17 goals. The gallery focused on engaging the general population on how the 2030 Agenda connects to their daily lives and the roles that they could play to move the agenda forward.

    The gallery, hosted at the Barbados National Museum and Historic Society, was an interactive space which ran for 9 days. It saw takeovers by various civil society organisations across the country whose goals and focus specifically fell in line with the 2030 Agenda.

    Our Takeover

    We were particularly excited to partner with SHE – Barbados (a local NGO focused on advocacy for Queer women and Transgender people) in our takeover of the UN SDG Mobile Gallery. In our takeover, we focused on SDG 10, Reduced Inequalities.


    Photo via UNDP for Barbados and the OECS

    A rousing success, our takeover focused on different aspects of gender and sexual diversity, through a Caribbean lens.

    As part of our takeover, we played “The Privilege Game” with participants and where pre-configured identities were drawn at random, with varied races, sexual orientations, gender identities, income and other factors. Starting off on equal footing, participants were then instructed to take steps forwards or backwards depending on different parts of their identities. For example “if you’re white, take one step forward” or “if you are gay, take one step back”. This really allowed participants to visualise the ways in which parts of our identity that we have no control over, dictate the privileges that we are afforded in life.

    Our takeover also featured a huge, interactive version of the gender unicorn, where participants were given the chance to identify their own gender identity, sexual orientation, sexual attraction, gender expression, emotional attraction and sex characteristics.

    Participants identifying their places on the Gender Unicorn spectrum

    The interactive experience saw participants particularly enthusiastic to engage, regardless of SOGIESC. This created space for dialogue and education on gender and sexual diversity – shattering the perception that SOGIESC language is only pertinent to LGBTQI people. The truth is that everyone has a sexual orientation, gender expression, gender identity and sex characteristics.

    Another aspect of our takeover was a display which highlighted famous LGBTQI Caribbean persons who have contributed to Caribbean culture in several capacities like art, literature, culture, academia, politics and more. This included famous faces like:

    Audre Lorde

    Scholar, writer, poet, civil
    rights activist and feminist
    born to Barbadian and
    Grenadian parents

    Andil Gosein

    Trinidadian artist, writer and
    researcher who is currently
    Associate Professor in Art and
    Politics at the Faculty of
    Environmental Studies, York

    Angelique Nixon

    Calypso Rose

    Renowned Tobagonian
    calypso singer who has
    composed over 800 songs
    and recorded over 20


    Diana King

    Jamaican singer-songwriter
    best known for her hit “Shy
    Guy” and remake of “Say a
    little prayer for you” from the
    movie My Friend’s Wedding

    Didi Winston

    Decorated Barbadian cultural
    performer, dancer and
    celebrated make-up artist and pioneering LGBT

    Kei Miller

    Award-winning Jamaican
    poet, fiction writer, essayist
    and blogger

    Dominique Jackson

    Tobagonian transgender actress, author,
    model, and reality television
    personality. Best known for her
    leading role on the TV series

    Jowelle DeSouza

    Successful Trinidadian
    business owner, politician,
    animal welfare activist and
    national award-winner.
    She was also the first out transgender person to run for political office in Trinidad and Tobago.


    Marlon James

    Acclaimed Jamaican writer
    and winner of the 2015 Man
    Booker Prize

    Meiling Esau

    Award winning Trinidadian
    designer behind one of the
    premier Caribbean fashion

    Monet X Change

    Stage name of Kevin Bertin, an
    American-St. Lucian drag queen
    and television personality best
    known for competing on the
    tenth season of RuPaul’s Drag
    Race and winning Season 4 of RuPaul’s Drag Race All-Stars,
    making her the first queen of colour to ever hold the All-Stars title.

    Michelle Lee-Ahye

    Trinidadian athlete who won
    the gold medal in sprinting at
    the 2018 Commonwealth
    games, amongst numerous
    other medals


    Award winning Guyanese
    singer and poet

    Peter Minshall

    Legendary award and
    Emmy-winning Guyanese-born
    Trinidadian carnival and
    costume designer

    Rinaldo Walcott

    Barbadian academic and writer
    currently associate professor at
    the Ontario Institute for Studies
    in Education and the director of
    the Women and Gender Studies
    Institute at the University of

    Rajiv Mohabir

    Guyanese award-winning poet
    and writer who is currently
    Assistant Professor of Poetry in
    the Department of English at
    Auburn University.

    Staceyanne Chin

    Award-winning Jamaican spoken-word
    poet, author and performance artist

    Ricky Martin

    Internationally renowned,
    award-winning Puerto Rican
    singer, actor and author

    The gallery highlighted the importance of LGBTQI visibility and representation and proved that Caribbean people are more than willing to engage on issues surrounding gender and sexuality – we just need to continue fostering safe spaces where these conversations can take place.

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