Members of LGBT community weigh in on proposed pride week

Mixed reaction among the public

NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Two members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI ) community said yesterday that they have no intention of being involved in a pride week proposed for 2020, despite the event organizer Alexis D’Marco insisting that the event would be designed to fit the “culture and climate” of The Bahamas.

Both men, who claimed to be members of the LGBTI community, spoke to Eyewitness News Online on condition of anonymity.

“I don’t think there’s any reason to celebrate pride because, the community has been in shambles for years now,” said John Smith, whose name has been changed at his request.

John Doe agreed.

He said he would like to see more acceptance of LGBTI members in The Bahamas, but noted that a lot more work has to be done.

“A friend of mine once said if someone [pelts] your ‘sissy’ self with a rock, no one [is going to] come to protect you,” Doe said.

Doe opined that the lack of progression with LGBTI rights in The Bahamas is a cultural problem that continues to plague the country.

“I feel as though, we as a country have things we have to overcome before we decide to have something like a pride week,” Joe explained.

“When we think about having a pride event, we don’t just think about Bahamians.

“Our county is a tourist destination.

“Once they put out an advertisement — anything about pride — homosexuals from America, Brazil; everybody is going to come down to this event.

“Homophobia from Bahamians to international people would only cause more travel advisories.”

Joe went on to say that ensuring the safety of LGBTI members is challenging because of the past homophobic events that have occurred within the country.

“We heard about the American guy that got beat up at the carnival parade last year,” Doe said.

“I had a cousin once that got his ear bitten off for being a homosexual.

“It’s clearly evident that we do need laws to protect us because at the end of the day, we’re still human.

“…We still bleed the same color.”

Doe said while he is concerned about the safety of the other members, public education on the LGBTI community is critical.

He added that homosexual people are more than the stereotypes and labels that have been attached to them by many.

“We have different types of homosexuals,” Doe said.

“A homosexual man can be a professional guy; he can be someone [who’s] a CEO of a company.

“He doesn’t have to be ghetto, smoking and drinking.

“They look normal; they’re among us every day.”

Doe added that due to concerns about safety, other members of the LGBTI community would not likely attend a pride event in The Bahamas.

“Having laws and having things in place to keep someone mentally safe is important,” he said.

“If we have rights to protect a dog, why can’t we protect a human being just because they’re a little different from another?”

Notwithstanding pride events in countries, including New York and Caifornia, showcasing prideful street marchers, D’Marco explained that pride week will not be held in open streets.

“Pride Bahamas is a week of educating [the public] of our community,” D’Marco said.

“There will be a flag raising ceremony and there will be official statements made in regards to LGBTI Bahamas.

“It will be the Bahamian context of pride.”

According to Article 15 of The Bahamas constitution, every person in The Bahamas is entitled to fundamental rights and freedoms regardless of race, place of origin, political opinions, colour, creed or sex. These protections include the right to life, liberty, security, freedom of conscience and expression, among numerous others basic rights.

There has been mixed reaction to the proposed event among the public.

Several people who spoke to Eyewitness News yesterday rejected the idea of a pride event, while others appeared more open to the event.

“I’m ready,” said one man, who did not provide his name.

“The country, no way. I think we’re still too religious. We don’t condone those kinds of stuff.”

However, Sean Nesbit, a father, said that although he does not believe in judging people based on their lifestyle, he does not agree with putting on a pride parade.

“I’m not ready for my kids to see that,” Nesbit said. “To explain to them; why two females and two males should be compatible, that’s crazy.

“I respect their interest. We’ve all got to see God for our own faults, but putting it on display, I don’t agree with it.”

However, another member of the public, who did not wish to be named said, it is important to not suppress the LGBTI members to the dark as they are an equal part of The Bahamas.

“At this point, they (members of the LGBTQ community) can live the way they want to live either secretly or publicly,” one woman explained.

“As a country, we should be at this point because we can’t stop it.

“That’s a world situation. You can’t stop it.”

More information concerning the Pride week is expected to be released soon.

This article was written by Marechan Burrows – Eyewitness News Intern.