Alcoholism is not taken as seriously as it should be in Caribbean, QTPoC communities. Legislation concerning the sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages is woefully inadequate, while cultural pressures (regarding success, as well as gender and sexual expression), along with reticent institutions, often leave Caribbean, QTPoC people feeling isolated and unequipped for the harsh realities of the world. Grenada, an island in the Caribbean, for example, is rated 13th in the world for alcohol consumption (the highest in the Americas).
An individual’s environment puts him/her/them at risk for addiction. According to medical experts: “Young people who experience abuse or neglect from parents may also use drugs or alcohol to cope with their emotions,” with homophobia and transphobia counting as major sources of neglect and abuse. When such attitudes are enshrined in law and the almost ubiquitous religious culture, young QTPoC communities in the Caribbean are at risk of both mistreatment and addiction.
Thankfully, there are human rights organisations with the resources to combat the loneliness, isolation, and ostracization that comes with queerness in an inhospitable or unaccepting environment. The Eastern Caribbean Alliance for Diversity and Equality (ECADE) and GrenCHAP both seek to “empower marginalized populations, through rights based advocacy, and increased access to information and health care services.” The work of such organizations is vital to removing the stigma of addiction and alcoholism plaguing the QTPoC community in the Caribbean.
The Workshop @ The EFNIKS Daily is our writing program for young QTPoC writers. Each of the 5 writers identify as QTPoC, and are between the ages of 17 and 22. Program participants receive a $200 stipend for the 60-day program. You can help us build this and other EFNIKS programs by visiting our support page.