For establishing Barbados’ first advocacy group to champion human rights and other issues affecting gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans-gender persons, Donnya Piggott was recognized this week by Britain’s Queen Elizabeth, in her role as head of the Commonwealth.
The 25-year-old president of Barbados Gays, Lesbians and All-Sexuals against Discrimination (B-Glad) was among 60 persons from the Commonwealth who received the inaugural Queen’s Young Leaders Awards at Buckingham Palace in London.
Piggott and nine other “exceptional” Caribbean nationals were selected for taking the lead in transforming the lives of others and making a lasting difference in their communities.
Piggott said it was an honour to be recognized.
“I am so happy to be one of the first recipients of the Queen’s Young Leaders Award. To be recognized for my work and be presented with an award by Her Majesty The Queen at Buckingham Palace is such a huge honour.”
She also posted on her Facebook page this week: “All in one day I met David Cameron –– British Prime Minister, visited Twitter, BBC World, visited Buckingham Palace and met the Queen, had a long conversation with Steve McQueen –– Director of 12 Years a Slave and chatted with David Beckham about the joys of Barbados . . . . Twas a decent day.
Oh and we got a personal message from Angelina Jolie . . . kool huh?”
Before receiving the award, Piggott facilitated workshops on sexual orientation and gender identity at the Commonwealth Youth Gender and Equality Network in Malta.
She also joined other young people to discuss LGBT rights at the Kaleidoscope Trust’s Annual Lecture in London, to mark the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOT).
Piggott’s award comes as a concerned group is lobbying the Christian community across the Caribbean to urge CARICOM leaders who are meeting in Barbados next week, to preserve existing legal definitions of marriage and family, reject same sex marriage and growing calls for euthanasia/assisted suicide.
The group, led by sociologist and behaviour change communication consultant Dr Veronica Evelyn, has been soliciting signatures for a petition to be presented at the regional summit.
The petition argues that the 15-nation CARICOM group has been under increasing international pressure to accept a re-interpretation of human rights that will undermine true fundamental human rights and the institutions of marriage and the family.
“The pressure has included court cases challenging laws that prohibit unnatural sexual behaviours, sneaking in offensive material into sex education curricula for 11-12 year old children, and demands by UN agencies, international groups and foreign governments that CARICOM repeal laws that prohibit unhealthy sexual behaviours, protect the unborn child and the innocence of childhood,” the petition reads.