Queen Elizabeth II honoured Donnya Piggot, a 24 year-old woman from Barbados as one of the 60 inspiring people in the annual Queen’s Young Leaders Programme. Donnya’s story is remarkable. In Barbados, homosexuality is illegal and punishable with life imprisonment. While it is rarely enforced, there is still a high rate of violence and threats made against the LGBTI community.
An Inspiring Leader
Donnya is the founder of Barbados Gays and Lesbians Against Discrimination (BGLAD). She flew in June 2015 and received a medal from the Queen who is had of the Commonwealth.
‘I’m elated and happy for this award,’ Piggott told a Barbados newspaper.
‘What it does is it recognises the cause. Many Barbadians, especially older people, have great respect for the Queen, and these are the same people who are opposed to progression of sexuality and how it is seen in the modern world. ‘Hopefully, it will help people to open their eyes and see something honorable.’
In Barbados, homosexuality is illegal and punishable with life imprisonment. While it is rarely enforced, there is still a high rate of violence and threats made against the LGBTI community. Being illegal can only lead to bullying in schools, in churches and on the streets. Although the law against homosexuality may be rarely enforced, it still is a stigma and a threat or a force for blackmail.
Who Are These Inspiring Young People?
All 60 award winners, aged between 18 and 29 and who come from all over Commonwealth, are working to ‘support others, raise awareness and inspire change on a variety of different issues including; education, climate change, gender equality, mental health and disability equality.’
Dr Astrid Bonfield CBE, chief executive of The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust said: ‘The Queen’s Young Leaders Programme is poised to unlock the potential of this diverse and talented group of young people and we are delighted to be supporting them to go further and achieve more.’