A Trinbagoian transwoman has been officially named a Commonwealth Point Of Light by Her Majesty The Queen as Head of the Commonwealth.
The Points of Light honour acknowledges extraordinary individual volunteers – individuals who are making a change in their community.
On Monday, Brandy Rodriguez, who has been a main voice for the trans-local area and the headway of LGBT+ rights locally for more than 20 years, was given the honor.
Brandy is the only transsexual volunteer from the Commonwealth to get this honour, which matches with International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia.
As the leader of the ‘Trinidad and Tobago Transgender Coalition,’ Rodriguez continues to work towards guaranteeing safe health care services are accessible for individuals from the LGBT+ people group and individuals with HIV and AIDS. Brandy likewise gives training and workshops to working environments across the nation to decrease stigma, discrimination and violence towards the transgender community.
“For 22 years it has been an uphill battle, especially in the Caribbean. My conviction to not be silenced and to help vulnerable people keeps me committed to my goal of a better more inclusive future for all,” Rodriguez commented. “This award gives further encouragement and will allow me to continue shedding light on the importance of including all people, particularly the transgender community. I will also use it to shine a spotlight on the importance of sexual and reproductive health rights. I know that, together, we will all be able to create a Trinidad and Tobago where everyone is comfortable and free to be themselves.”
Harriet Cross, British High Commissioner to Trinidad and Tobago shared that, “Brandy Rodriguez continues to work tirelessly to champion equality in Trinidad and Tobago. In my recent discussions with her, I was inspired by the work she has been doing over the past 20 years to promote inclusion while driving progress on key issues like sexual and reproductive health rights.”
“I am delighted that Brandy will join four others from Trinidad and Tobago who have received this prestigious award from Her Majesty the Queen. Brandy is the 180th person and the 2nd transgender advocate in the Commonwealth to receive this award. I wish her the continued strength to carry on this important work. I hope this award will remind us all that equality and inclusion are right and necessary and that all human beings deserve to be treated fairly,” Cross said.
For more of Brandy’s story, click below to view an IzzSo special feature, as she shares her journey: