Jason Jones

LGBTQ Rights Activist he/him

It all started with being a young, queer person of colour in Trinidad and Tobago. The difference between me and a lot of activists in the global North is the fact that I was born and grew up in a black majority country. My perspective is not clouded by issues around racism and colonisation. So for me growing up in a black majority country as a queer person, what made me stand out was my queerness, not my blackness.

So my focus has always been in terms of queer liberation. The focus has always been on what it means to be a queer person. When I came to the UK in 1985, when I was 21 years old, of course, then that whole issue around race intersected with my queerness. And you found on the queer scene this incredible racism particularly back then in the mid eighties which was the rise of a very powerful queer movement. But underlying that was a very pro white British movement.

I think when you are born in a bird cage you have no concept of the freedom of flight. Being born and brought up in Trinidad, that othering was just part of my lived existence. It wasn’t until I moved to the United Kingdom and I saw queer culture and queer freedom. I saw the fact that there were rights and freedoms enshrined within the legislation.

The Attorney General of Trinidad and Tobago has appealed that victory. So I am at the appeal court of Trinidad and Tobago in January of next year. And then whoever loses that appeal will appeal to our Supreme court, which is the Privy Council here in London. So I have two more tiers of court before I have a full and final judgment, but most importantly, that final judgment of the Supreme Court, the Privy Council will have legal resonance for eleven countries across the globe. So we have the chance to decriminalise two continents: North and South America, and also tiny little island in the Pacific Mauritius would also fall under that judgment and be decriminalised. So my work will have decriminalised over 125 million people around the world.

At this time I’m trying to do some work that is much more about looking forward. How do you design your future after decriminalisation? A raft of things need to be looked at.