PLP supports Pride Bahamas as freedom of expression

PLP supports Pride Bahamas as freedom of expression
Progressive Liberal Party Leader Philip Davis

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Leader Brave Davis has expressed support for the upcoming Pride Bahamas event, which he called a “freedom of expression”.

The event, a celebration of the LGBTI community in The Bahamas, is slated for October 2020.

“As the [Bahamas] Christian Council has freely expressed themselves in relation to the issue, others likewise could do so,” Davis said.

“There is a right guaranteed under our constitution called freedom of expression, freedom to form our own opinion and views and we ought to be able to do that without fear of reprisals, victimization or any of the penal consequences that should follow.”

His comments came during the PLP’s monthly press conference at its headquarters.

Asked to clarify the PLP’s views on the event itself, Davis said: “If we have a view? That’s my view. It’s a freedom of expression isn’t it.”

The Pride events are slated for October 5-12, 2020.

The events will be staged under the theme ‘The Rebirth of Pride Bahamas Centering LGBTIQA People in The Bahamas’ Future’.

The BCC said it will mount a series of events opposing the pride celebration that will focus on the traditional, heterosexual family.

The council said it will also call upon its global colleagues to “stand against Sodom and Gomorrah” noting pride organizers are collaborating with international partners.

The first potential event is a ‘Night of Hope’ rally this month.

The event was focused on recovery efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian, but the council was considering expanding to also focus on the rebuilding of Christian values in the nation.

The announcement of the pride event earlier this year prompted contentious national debate on the issue. A flurry of mixed commentary appeared on social media, though many comments were expressions of disapproval.

The council said if the event was similar to those held in other jurisdictions, which allows varying degrees of nudity and “vulgar behavior”, it would violate decency laws.

It also suggested the event contravenes the preamble of the constitution with speaks to the nation’s foundation of Christian values.

However, human rights advocate and Pride Bahamas Organizer Alexus D’Marco has said the week-long event would be held in a “safe space and enabling environment”.

D’Marco has accused the Bahamas Christian Council of misrepresenting the LGBTI community and its movement, but noted that freedom of speech and freedom of religion are “alive and well” in The Bahamas.

She claimed the BCC has ignored several requests for her group to meet and “bridge the gaps” between the LGBTIQ community and faith-based leaders of the country.

According to the steering committee of Pride Bahamas the event was re-conceptualized last year in an effort to bolster LGBT advocacy efforts in The Bahamas and to provide a platform for LGBT Bahamians, their friends, families and allies to meet and demonstrate “they are indeed real people, born and raised or otherwise citizens of The Bahamas, who have a place in society like everyone else”.

The committee has encouraged all members of the society regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity to support all members of the community as groups seek to achieve “acceptance, equity and integration as productive members of society”.