Citizens in Trinidad and Tobago were the first to celebrate IMD on the 19th November, 1999. The event was conceived and coordinated by Dr. Jerome Teelucksingh, history lecturer from the University of West Indies and the first event was held at the Families in Action Headquarters in Newtown, Port of Spain. In following years the event was jointly coordinated by Dr. Teelucksingh and Harrack Balramsingh, Chairman of Citizens for a Better Trinidad and Tobago (CBTT).

Dr. Teelucksingh chose the date partly to coincide with his father’s birthday, whom he felt was an excellent male role model, and also because it was the day in which the football team in his country created a level of unity which crossed gender, religious and ethnic divisions. He added, “I realized there was no day for men… some have said that there is Father’s Day, but what about young boys, teenagers and men who are not fathers?”

Early objectives of IMD proposed by Dr. Teelucksingh were 1. Improving gender relations between men and women, 2. Addressing problems and challenges of men, 3. Promoting gender equality, 4. Highlighting positive role models, and 5. Creating a safer, better world. Of these he emphasised the importance of positive male role models, “not just movie stars and sports men but everyday, working class men who are living decent, honest lives”. He also suggested there had developed an unfair practice of ‘stereotyping’ and ‘unfairly branding’ males as perpetrators of violence in homes and in society, and said that this was one of the issues he hoped to start addressing.

The idea of celebrating an International Men’s Day received written support from U.N. officials in UNESCO and the event has continued to be celebrated annually in Trinidad and Tobago and other countries since it’s beginning.

 

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