Pastors: “The Bahamas already has its own social challenges”
NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Pride Bahamas 2020 has launched its week of virtual events centered on education and sensitization of the LGBTQ+ community and issues faced as the community seeks more equitable treatment and representation in The Bahamas.
The week, starting October 6 through October 12, features a series of live presentations and discussions with activists, professionals, and members of the community on integral matters ranging from health and the workplace.
The first day began with a presentation on the history of being queer in The Bahamas and focused on key experiences such as heterosexism and homophobia.
During the opening ceremony on Monday, Alexus DeMarco, chair of the Bahamas Organisation of LGBTI Affairs, and an organizer of Pride Bahamas 2020 opened up the platform as a free, diverse, and safe space for queer people.
“We urge our governments, past, present, and future, to enshrine laws and policies that will protect all LGBTI and Bahamian citizens, to be free from stigma, violence, and discrimination,” DeMarco said.
The second day of presentations saw more focus on health and wellness in the community, from STI/STD testing, mental health, HIV/AIDS prevention and the use of PREP, and more.
The remainder of the week will focus on queer employment, policing, spirituality, and the relationship with the church, as well as creative expression and representation through art and media.
The initial announcement of the pride event last year prompted a contentious national debate on the issue of queer people in The Bahamas and their rights.
A flurry of mixed commentary and expressions continue to be voiced by Bahamians and religious leaders.
In a recent press release, Coach Andrew “Andy” Knowles and Pastor Lyall Bethel spoke against the pride events, insisting the ideas being shared are dangerous for the Bahamian society.
“But we have seen this narrative played out around the world and so we cannot pretend to be ignorant to the way this will all end,” the statement read.
The pair accused organizers of “gaslighting” the public on LGBTI issues; playing the “emotion card”, and “playing the victim” with claims that homosexuals and transgenders are being persecuted in The Bahamas.
The statement also noted that when “homosexual lobbyists cannot win by straight voting, they win/hijack by judicial activism”.
It further insisted that the LGBTQI community is “dismantling” women sports and “dismantling” the male and female norms.
“Ideas have consequences,” the statement added. “The Bahamas already has its own social challenges – poverty, fatherlessness, illiteracy, crime, broken homes, etc, and does not need this twisted twilight zone of madness foisted on us. Yours for a better, healthier Bahamas.”