LGBTQ Activist, Singer, Motivational Speaker, YouTube Channel Host, Instagram Blogger and MAX Model.
About Tasheka Lavann:
Tasheka Lavann is a LGBTQ Activist living in Toronto, Canada. She was born in the Caribbean island of Antigua where she made her mark in the media industry. Lavann worked as a Journalist and TV News Anchor for ten years at the Antigua/Barbuda Broadcasting Services where she also hosted many shows to include Good Morning Antigua/Barbuda. Lavann has also worked for the World’s Leading Honeymoon Resort – Sandals Resorts as the Public Relations Manager for Sandals Grande Antigua. She is the 2007 Golden Jubilee Queen of Carnival/Miss Antigua and Barbuda and 2004 Miss Leeward Islands Teen, among several other titles in pageantry. Lavann is a graduate of the University of the West Indies Mona campus in Jamaica and holds a certificate from the Roy H Park School of Communication at Ithaca College in New York. Now a resident of Toronto, Lavann hopes to continue her advocacy work, touching more lives, while working on her modeling and singing careers. In the meantime, Lavann has found a way to marry her journalism and advocacy work as she now hosts her own YouTube Channel – Island Lez Talk (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCQkVfRNtKCY3uA693Q49OJA ), dedicated to celebrating the LGBTQ community while discussing issues they continue to face.
As much as I craved my mother's warm embrace, the smell of the sea and the happy moments that I did share with my partner in our home, I couldn't help but wonder if my homophobic attackers were still around. And that uncertainty - coupled with the fact that our love is still considered a crime there - was my wake-up call.
It's getting pretty frustrating having to tell people, especially white people, what racism looks like. As a black woman, it's heartbreaking to see how such incidents are handled and how they are reported and discussed in the media. Most frightening, is the direction in which Canada is going regarding race relations.
As I watched the saga surrounding Kim Burrell's homophobic sermon unfold over the last week, I made several attempts to speak about it and could not. Why? Because I was afraid of what might have come out of my big lesbian mouth. I was too furious to write and I wanted this piece to reflect the ideals of my rainbow family.
It's been about a week since my mom broke the news that two of my uncles passed away. Yet here I am in my new home, Canada -- a place where I have found true freedom to be my authentic self, but also a long way from a family that I absolutely love and adore.
Somewhere deep inside I knew he would achieve this goal, but I didn't expect it to completely uncover the true face of America that many have long ignored and continue to ignore. Trump not only won over the hearts of many Americans, but he pulled all the champions of hate and division out of their holes.... I fear that this Trump "movement" will slip its way into Canada and fuel the fire in those who have long remained quiet or polite about their shared vision for a divided community of people where only some lives matter and deserve basic human rights.
It is no secret that state policies in this country continue to be influenced by the church. The very constitution is built on the fundamental beliefs of Christianity. So how can a government say it protects members of the LGBT community when this type of blatant discrimination is being encouraged and spread through the media?
When I was approached about being one of the hosts for the CaribbeanTales International Film Festival's LGBT Love screening, I said yes without hesitating simply because I am a proud Caribbean lesbian and LGBT activist living in Canada who loves everything queer. (When you see my outfit, you'll understand.)
I don't know about you, but if I just created history for my country on a world stage and my fellow citizens reacted by calling me derogatory names that could potentially put my life in danger, I would seriously think about moving to another country. Sadly, Jamaican athlete Omar McLeod was not so lucky.
The photobomber in my phone highlights a man who, instead of ignoring the message, chose to stand with me and show compassion for a cause he probably cannot fully understand but supports anyway. After all, most of us here on earth would love to exist in an equal and just society.
There is a systematic war against a set of people who cannot erase the colour of their skin; a type of oppression, experienced by my ancestors, which has been prettied up. One doesn't have to look too far to see this truth; the evidence is right in front of us.
For as long as I can remember, being black and gay was like the biggest crime one could commit in my community. It didn't matter where you were born, the culture was one that saw black churches openly bashing homosexuality and parents disowning their children, leaving them on the streets to survive however they could. Fast forward to 2016, and the black LGBTQ community is growing by the minute and more and more black gay men and women are embracing who they are without apology. Here's what pride means to us.
We have become so complacent, thinking that because we got a few laws on the books that somehow we have achieved freedom and protection. Well, the shooting in Orlando has reminded the world that no gay person -- no lesbian, bisexual or trans person -- is free from homophobia.
Pride for me is a celebration of life! Being an LGBTQ activist, I am constantly faced with the reality that our members are attacked on a daily basis. Some manage to recover and go on with their lives as best as possible, but many, especially my trans brothers and sisters, come face to face with death.
Instead of focusing on the "stories of Sodom and Gomorrah" and using that in the same conversation about a horrific incident that has left many homeless here in Canada, you should go and find your heart because your comments are shameful and distasteful.
Where are our friends and fans of black music and black people when the partying stops and the subject turns to the reality of being black? When I attend concerts for some of these artists, non-blacks are the ones front and centre, filling more than half of the seats. Switch to a Black Lives Matter march... these folks are nowhere to be found
When one thinks of Jamaica, two things immediately come to mind and it's not Bob Marley and Usain Bolt this time around. Rather, it's dancehall music and homophobia -- two things which are one and the same.
So it was quite shocking when Jamaicans and residents from other Caribbean islands learned that the son of Mr. Ninja Man, a popular dancehall artist, was gay.
The truth is my life was already planned out. I wanted my partner and I to build a future together in my country of birth -- Antigua and Barbuda. We already had a nice apartment, a four-legged son, we both drove and had great jobs. All that was missing was "acceptance"!