CAISO praises police for arrest in transgender murder case

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

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CAISO: Sex and Gender Justice (CAISO) is praising the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS) for the arrest of a suspect in the murder of Marvin “Goldie” Joseph.

Joseph, 21, was last seen alive on CCTV allegedly entering a white Nissan Almera vehicle on the corner of Tragarete Road and Elizabeth Street, Port of Spain on October 15, 2023.

His body was found with numerous stab wounds and clad in women’s clothing along Lady Chancellor Hill later that day.

After Joseph’s death, CAISO called on the police to investigate his murder to the fullest extent.

Sangre Grande businessman Tje Baird, 26, appeared in court on Monday charged with Joseph’s murder and one count of attempting to pervert the course of justice.

Baird was linked to the murder through DNA analysis of the crime scene.

Responding to Newsday’s request for comment on Baird’s arrest, CAISO expressed hope that the judicial system “treats this case with the sensitivity it deserves and adheres to due process, and that the perpetrator is held accountable.”

It called for “serious investment” in gender and sexuality education, as well as training in the prevention of gender based violence.

CAISO also called on media and private and public sectors to invest in sensitivity training for their staff on gender and sexuality.

It urged the media, on all platforms, to be mindful of sensationalising news stories that may include an LGBTQI+ person or anyone perceived to be a member of the community.

The NGO warned “this kind of reporting can reproduce violent rhetoric” such as the comments seen across social media in response to the arrest.

Several people made crude jokes and hateful comments about both the victim and the suspect under social media news posts about Baird’s arrest.

CAISO added, “Accountability is important, and it must go hand in hand with education and awareness raising for the societal change that we so desperately need.”

It said sexism, homophobia, and transphobia, must be addressed as those perpetuate harmful cultural norms around gender and sexuality.

CAISO said, “Everyone is deserving of respect and access to rights and justice regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity and/or gender expression.”

CAISO Director Angelique Nixon said, “When violence against LGBTQI+ community members is sensationalised, this contributes to the violent discourse and mockery of persons involved. This takes away from the issues at hand.”

She added, “While we stand for justice and accountability for all victims/survivors of violence, we do not wish violence on anyone. Our systems should be oriented in ways that provide perpetrators of violence with the support necessary for rehabilitation and restoration.”

Baird will next appear in court on January 4, 2024, to answer the charge of attempting to pervert the course of justice and on January 15, 2024, for the charge of murder.