Kenita Placide Named 2013 Person of the Year by The St. Lucia Star

IGLHRC congratulates our partner Kenita Placide, named the People's Choice for Person of the Year 2013 in the St. Lucia Star newspaper! Kenita is the Co-Executive Director of United and Strong Inc, Eastern Caribbean Co-ordinator at CariFLAGS (Caribbean Forum for Liberation and Acceptance of Genders and Sexualities and Co-ordinator of the Alternate Women’s Secretariat of ILGA, the International Lesbian and Gay Association.

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What would be the implication for, or interpretation of, Kenita Placide winning that poll? Just asking!” was one of the early comments to be posted on the STAR website poll for the People’s Choice Person of the Year. It came from one of island’s most opinionated, cyber-garrulous Facebook-pinez, but I thought it was a fair enough question.

One response very concisely stated and captured the type of evolving attitudes we need to see more of in Saint Lucia, the most succinct of them being: “I hope it would be an indication to the wider community that she is not alone in the causes for which she advocates.” Simple but so very important in a region where many countries wouldn’t even entertain including an gender rights advocate like Kenita Placide in such a poll. Another comment read: “If Kenita wins, it’s the voice of the silent majority that’s not represented by any other person or political, media or religious group in our society. Ignoring one spectrum of society creates disillusion and the problems continue to manifest. United and Strong is a body seeking to create an awareness within our society, not a political movement, not for fame or cash. It’s a body that will stand up for the rights of individuals that make up our community. Speaking up does not categorise you, but ignorance exposes the ills of a nation.” The STAR Editorial team was really interested to see how our shortlist of Peoples’ Choice potentials would go, but I’ll admit to being surprised when Kenita went ahead of the poll early on, and stayed there quite consistently. Her closest rival at first was the very deserving Gaspard Henry of Feed the Poor Ministry, who was later overtaken by UWP leader Allen Chastanet in a late flurry of voting. Her name is not unknown in Saint Lucia and she is becoming very well-known in LGBTI advocacy circles further afield, but in all our conversations over the past year, Kenita Placide’s attitude has been humble, and she insists it’s not about her name or her personal contribution, but advocating for the rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transexual and Intersex people, and the fight against discrimination of people just because of who they love. In a brief interview after the poll ended and results were final, it was a modest but determined Kenita who sat down and chatted about what the STAR People’s Choice award meant to her personally, and the ongoing advocacy of United & Strong Inc, of which she is Co-Executive Director. Continue reading the interview at »