0

Call For Education Campaign On Lgbt Issues

Erin Greene

Erin Greene

By AVA TURNQUEST

Tribune Staff Reporter

aturnquest@tribunemedia.net

ACTIVISTS called for the government to support its position on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender rights amid speculation over whether hardships faced by members of the community warrant asylum applications.

Gaps between government policy and actual procedures should be addressed through training for public servants, and an education campaign for the wider public, according to Erin Greene, a human rights activist.

Ms Greene confirmed that she received several requests to provide supporting documentation for applicants seeking to file asylum claims in Canada. However, she noted that most requests have come from persons who have never sought the help of a local association, or filed a police report over alleged abuse.

“What concerns me most of all,” she said, “is that the vast majority of people making claims have never contacted the LGBT community.

“Most people feel so unsafe that they don’t attempt to contact or request assistance from LGBT communities. This perhaps speaks to the perception of danger, helplessness, and hopelessness, it certainly speaks to their perception that the government is unwilling to protect them.

“As an activist,”said Ms Greene, “I cannot discourage anybody from taking the legal steps to create a life in a safer environment, but I do encourage all LGBT Bahamians and LGBT allies to engage their local organizations and to assist them, to work with them to create safer environments for LGBT Bahamians at home.”

Ms Greene’s comments follow reports in The Tribune that at least 16 Bahamians in the past three years have been granted asylum in Canada because of their fear of persecution in the Bahamas.

Sources could not reveal the terms under which the 16 individual claims were granted, but the Canadian government considers applications based on race, religion, political opinion, nationality, or membership in a social group, such as women or sexual orientation.

“My job,” said Ms Greene, “is to create systems that work and facilitate people in and out of those systems. My personal view is that the vast majority of people, while they emotionally and psychologically feel that they qualify, I don’t know if they qualify. Nobody should have to live constantly with the fear of violence, but the question is how does the perception measure up to the reality.

“How violence is generated, the formula is far more complex than the people who are claiming asylum think it is.”

Ms Greene said: “One of the questions is, is the rate of violence larger than the rate of violence towards straight people? If you don’t report an incident, and you don’t indicate that you are queer and the attack was sparked by homo-aggression – even if I have these stories, they are just stories.”

“There needs to be the creation of a mechanism to officially record these events,” she said. “What I’ve found in many incidents is that individuals have not exhausted every system that there is here at home.”

Transgender woman Tori Culmer told The Tribune it was unfair to expect LGBT members to reach out to such a fragmented support system.

While Ms Culmer encouraged members to seek support as it was critical to their livelihood, she argued that fearful individuals had every right to secure their own wellbeing.

Ms Culmer also expressed frustration over what she felt to be a stagnated community that focused more on night life and entertainment than the fight for equality.

However, Ms Greene said the issue is incredibly complex, and one that needs closer scrutiny.

“The LGBT community,” said Ms Greene, “does suffer extreme amounts of violence. While we may not have the commensurate violence that we see in Jamaica, the psychological, social, and religious violence is commensurate to the level of physical violence that Jamaican LGBT persons experience.

“People are under tremendous psychological weight feeling excluded from communities and opportunities for healthy personal development. People feel like they cannot grow here, cannot express themselves freely here, and that they cannot live here.”

Ms Green said: “I feel that the government can respond by engaging LGBT activist organizations and partnering in an awareness campaign that expresses to the citizenry at large what the government policy is on LGBT rights and provides opportunities for everyone to learn about and discuss these rights and the implications of these rights.

“We need,” she added, “the space and resources for continued dialogue on the policy.”

Ms Greene highlighted the lack of reporting mechanisms for LGBT members in her presentation to the 2013 Constitutional Commission, and also in a Commonwealth, UK based charity Kaleidescope Trust report on homophobia in the region.

The 2013 commission recommended that any expansion of the grounds of discrimination should be limited to “sex”, pointing to the “deep” division over whether this term’s inclusion would open the door for rights based on sexual preference.

In a Tribune interview last week, Ms Green said: “It’s not the government’s job to dictate to citizens how they should live with each other, that’s the role of the constitution.

“The government’s job is to make sure the constitution is adhered to, and to provide redress to persons whose rights have been violated.”

She said: “The Public Hospitals Authority could partner with the LGBT community and civil society to create services specifically for LGBT people to provide sensitivity training for its staff so they can become aware of what their obligations are as professionals to the LGBT community.”

Comments

JohnDoes 5 years ago

Nobody needs an education lesson. There is nothing to be educated about except for the worldwide repercussions that this LGBT 'idea' will have on the way of life and ultimately humanity.

0

BahamianKing 5 years ago

The fact you just posted this drivel, proves the very point. Education on this issue is needed.

0

JohnDoes 5 years ago

Education is needed? really? What do we need to be educated about on this issue rather fixing our already flawed education system? Tell me why this 'issue' is soooo important?

0

BahamianAway 5 years ago

SMH!!! We are heading down a path that will not end well for Bahamians. I hope the realize once this door is open it cannot be closed...way of life in the Bahamas as we know it will change.

0

BahamianKing 5 years ago

Which was said during the abolition of slavery, and the fight for Civil Rights.

0

BahamianAway 5 years ago

Please do not equate civil rights issues with those of the LGBT community. One should not be compared to the other...sexual orientation is a choice. The colour of your skin isn't and I am sure those that fought for the freedom of slavery, those who were slaves, those who were hosed and bitten by dogs because they were black would not appreciate the comparison.

0

BahamianKing 5 years ago

Why not? What difference is there? The fact that you ASSUME that one can walk away from his/her sexuality, and not his/her color? If that's the case, then you're mislead. There are protections for homosexuals in certain countries - like the US - and protections for minorities. Those protections are to counter the same thing..."hate".

Homosexuality is innate.

1

BahamianAway 5 years ago

i am not negating the fact that HUMANS need protection from hate regardless of the reason. The difference is that as a homosexual person I can chose to flaunt my sexuality. I can be a homosexual male and chose to walk down the street in a skirt, weave, and a full face of makeup. I can go home at night and take those things off and still be male.

However I cannot go home and change the colour or my skin. I cannot wake up in the morning and make a conscious decision to either be black, white, or blue that day.

People were treated horrendously for no other reason that they tone of thier skin. No matter how they dressed, how they spoke, how educated they were or not. They were not allowed to attend schools and receive education, they were not allowed to use public restrooms or eat in restaurants.

Please ask Ms. Greene if in the Bahamas she was denied education, food, the ability to use the atm or restroom as she saw fit because of her sexual preference.

You cannot tell a person's sexual orientation based on the way they look, speak or act, unless they chose to let you know based on that. But you can tell my race based on the colour of my skin.

And that BahamianKing is why the two issues should never be muddled together.

I agree crimes of hate need to be eradicated but being homosexual is not a civil rights issue and making it one is a slap in the face to those who fought and died for civil rights issues.

0

BahamianKing 5 years ago

But you're commenting on this issue as if you live in a bubble. The Bahamas is not in a bubble...we are a part of a global community. Just because the things you listed are not happening in the Bahamas, doesn't mean they're not happening. If a transgendered person - someone whose identity is female - were to go into the mens restroom (or vice versa), that would spell trouble for him/her.

We have MILLIONS of tourists that visit this country, every year. Why can't we accommodate all of them? Why shouldn't homosexuals be able to walk in downtown Nassau holding their partner's hand, without fear? Someone's race is only one dimension of needing Civil Rights. Civil Rights isn't confined to the color of your skin (Civil Rights = Civilian Rights).

0

JohnDoes 5 years ago

BahamianKing is liberal. One of few or many that feels that life shouldnt be governed or managed and that everyone must just do whatever they want where ever they are no matter who is around. The problem is, you have different countries, nationalities, cultures, boundaries, laws and government. Well the thing is, these LGBT's are doing whatever they want and nobody is stopping them, so what is the issue?

0

BahamianAway 5 years ago

I am well aware that the Bahamas is a global nation. You are speaking about apples when we clearly were focused on oranges. Correct me if I am wrong but transgender means you are of a different sex that that of which you were born. So in essence if you were male and are now female for all intents and purposes you are female...So yes I can see the issue with someone with female parts utilizing a male restroom. And for the most part usually transgender person can only be identified when they chose to because generally they move into their new gender with no one being the wiser (not saying all this way but majority are). That isn't the issue the problem I have is WOMEN or MEN who are clearly WOMEN or MEN no gender change trying to force their lifestyle on others.

Just because you wear baggy clothes and cut your hair bald does not give you a penis and therefore you have no rights in a male restroom. Same goes for males in skirts and makeup. No one is stopping you from being what you want and doing what you want but at what point does the Bahamas stop bending the rules that makeup our society to make others comfortable.

Oh so based on what you seem to believe because we have a huge Haitian population then the language of the Bahamas should change to Creole after all it's not fair that the Haitians fresh from Haiti have a hard time understanding English- in some way that's abuse to them. And while we are at it let's start wearing traditional Chinese garb and learn to speak Cantonese or Mandarin or both so that the Chinese that now reside in the Bahamas don't feel as though their civil liberties are infringed upon because most Bahamians speak English.

Yes a person should not have fear to be who they are, but should we start changing the laws of our country to accommodate what is clearly against right and wrong.

0

JohnDoes 5 years ago

I surprisingly agreed with this reply/post but now I need to raise the question: Are you for or against the LGBT initiative? You proved one of my points with your reasoning in this regard, especially with the WOMEN be WOMEN and MEN be MEN but I think many persons just think about Lesbian and Gay but many dont realize or pay attention to the Bisexual and Transgender part of the agenda. This LGBT is a group of all of these areas, all pushing for their different outlandish needs. I honestly dont have a problem with a person's preference but the problem is that they are trying to force this lifestyle on us by making us change policies and natural way of life for example the whole 'bathroom' ordeal who knows what other unethical behaviors they are vying for. This is what creates the detriment because when you agree to one, they think you must agree to all, so if you ask. I think they will always have an issue no matter what needs you try to address. It has been proven that these types of relationships are unstable.

0

Bahamianpride 5 years ago

Ms. Greene is a very intelligent and articulate person & i've seen her in dialogues with absolute morons, Bible tumping, bumbling idiots who can quote scriptures but cannot explain why a so called Christian Nation is so riddled with crime.. However, I would say to her that straight nor gay people can walk down the street without fear of harm. Ms. Greene most of the population live in fear of crime daily, don't like coming out at night and the country is overwhelmed with governmet corruption... Education about LBGT matters can wait, most of our kids are receiving piss poor education in public schools limiting there future.. Let fix this first..

0

JohnDoes 5 years ago

They are making this LGBT an issue when it really isnt. They claim hate crimes etc when most if not all of the time the crimes committed against them are amongst themselves. This is not an issue, yet everybody defending it like we a stopping some 'freedom' or these LGBT persons are 'slaves'. They are living the way they want to live, no need to change everyones lifestyle just to suit theirs. Majority of the world is not LGBT so why do they believe everyone 'must' agree with them.

0

GrassRoot 5 years ago

No one has to agree with anybody. Reality is that we all belong to some minority. So who cares. All that needs to be taught (and lived) is acceptance and respect, then LGBT is not an issue, nothing is.

1

sheeprunner12 5 years ago

Who do the gays want educated............ us or them??????????? So we are to now educate Joe Public in this Christian country about the virtues of LGBT lifestyles???? Oxymoron

0

GrassRoot 5 years ago

don't see much Christian behaviour in this country. Going to church does not make you a Christian.

0

JohnDoes 5 years ago

Church is for sinners.

0

PastorTroy 5 years ago

Preamble

Whereas Four hundred and eighty-one years ago the rediscovery of this Family of Islands, Rocks and Cays heralded the rebirth of the New World;

And Whereas the People of this Family of Islands recognizing that the preservation of their Freedom will be guaranteed by a national commitment to Self-discipline, Industry, Loyalty, Unity and an abiding respect for Christian values and the Rule of Law;

Now Know Ye Therefore:

We the Inheritors of and Successors to this Family of Islands, recognizing the Supremacy of God and believing in the Fundamental Rights and Freedoms of the Individual, Do Hereby Proclaim in Solemn Praise the Establishment of a Free and Democratic Sovereign Nation founded on Spiritual Values and in which no Man, Woman or Child shall ever be Slave or Bondsman to anyone or their Labour exploited or their Lives frustrated by deprivation, and do Hereby Provide by these Articles for the indivisible Unity and Creation under God of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas.

IMHO, trying to "educate" Bahamians on homosexuality? personally I think will be very challenging. Majority of Bahamians 'claim' Christianity as their religion, it's written in the Bible that homosexuality is bad, our (Bahamas) constitution also make reference to "respect for christian values" along with other language about christian living. However, living in a nation where a good percentage of that majority are products of a seriously broken educational system and have been heavily indoctrinated that the bible in more important than education, I think the approach for the LGBT Activist should not be to make themselves different, but more like a we are all in this together when it come to creating educational programs for everyone.

1

PastorTroy 5 years ago

Cont'd Education in Science, Math, English, Biology, not theology but also The History Of Different Religions/Belief Systems etc will create a rising tide that will lift ALL boats. Again, I think trying to "educate" Bahamians many, who are uninformed and to be quite honest uneducated will look more like you're trying to INDOCTRINATE them, there will be fire and brimstone raining from the pulpit daily! which may slow down your cause and may even create more 'flack'. On another note, just like in the black community here in America, there are Decent Black Folk, and then there are N***ers; the LGBT community has the same problem and it too hinders your movement, intentionally pissing off people who you THINK may not like your lifestyle is futile, so respectfully, I personally think when it comes to "educating" it should be also in your community. No Government can legislate love for another human if people do not choose to except or like them, just look at slavery and the Southern states. In conclusion, IMHO, I again, fault many in the LGBT community who know of many homosexuals in the two most powerful organizations that can make or break their cause (Religion and Politics) leaders and Lawmakers who actually have the means to make change but REFUSE and LGBT members the same ones who want "freedom" lower their standards and become "secret" lovers to the one who can make change but refuse to. Also, create a young powerful voting block, there are many Bahamians who are not gay who will support your movement! Finally to seek Asylum in another country, when the local LGBT organization have no clue of the situation is suspect. Good luck!

0

BahamianKing 5 years ago

Here’s what I’m gathering from the comments being made on this subject:

  1. Allowing a segment of human beings the opportunity to enjoy the simple freedoms the rest of us enjoy, is considered “forcing it down our throats.”

  2. Homosexuality is a “lifestyle”.

  3. We would be creating a separate class if policies are shaped to include the excluded.

  4. “But the bible says…”

1 doesn’t make sense, to me. No one is forcing anything down your throat. Changes in policies to include protections for homosexuals, and afford them the same rights, wouldn’t change one bit of who you are. As for #2; homosexuality isn’t a lifestyle…it’s a state of being (one just simply is…). One can be a homosexual, and not partake in going to the clubs, having sex, or do whatever you think homosexuals do. #3 is a biggie. Homosexuals are already a separate class of people; just by the way they’re being treated. The policies that would be created would ensure equality, not separation. As for what the bible says - #4 – please don’t go there. Hypocrisy already runs rampant in this country, and using the bible to justify hate is pretty much hilarious.

1

JohnDoes 5 years ago

You claim you are not homosexual, yet you fight for their reasoning's like you are or somebody apart of your family is. 1. What is the simple freedoms that they dont already have that they need, remember you are no only catering to homosexual but also transgender? 2. Homosexuality is a choice and lifestyle, what else is it, not a disease, illness or disorder, people are not born homosexual so it is not an act/state of 'being' in which you describe, this is proven. 3. It would in the long run be known as a separate class in terms of living, their 'family' and beliefs etc. 4. You say hypocrisy, but hypocrisy in what way? How are people being hypocritical about this ? I find that most homosexuals are atheists, have some probelm or dont believe in God. So they look to science for the answer yet there are a million questions science has yet to accurately answer.

0

BahamianKing 5 years ago

I'm not gay (married with 2 children); I'm just a well-traveled, educated human. One who tries to see himself in the shoes of others, and try to identify with them...you know, "the lesser of these", as the bible says.

All the other points you're trying to make, are invalid. Homosexuality is not a choice (proven). The act of sex before marriage, is the choice (which can be attributed to homo and hetero sexuals). Most homosexuals are not atheists. I take it that you know "most homosexuals", to make that assertion?

0

sheeprunner12 5 years ago

BahamianKing............... so you dont accept the Bible as God's word??????? If you do then you must accept that homosexuality is an abomination i.e. a Class A sin. Punishable by everlasting condemnation to hell........... like all other unrepented sins.

Now if you dont accept that God is in charge of our destiny AND that the Bible is God's word, then I accept your above position.

In the end, God will have the final say in this matter............... thats my Christian position

1

BahamianKing 5 years ago

I accept God's word, as God's word! Which means: If the word says homosexuality is an abomination - which it does - then eating pork on the 3rd day, is an abomination. Women wearing pant-suits is an abomination. Gambling is an abomination. False tongue, is an abomination. Envy is an abomination. Shaving my head, is an abomination. Eating shellfish, is an abomination. Women pastors, are an abomination.

These are just a few - out of the hundreds - of abominations the bible CLEARLY identifies! Why did you choose to concentrate on homosexuality? Because you have personally broken the rest?

0

JohnDoes 5 years ago

All in all, homosexuals are free. They are not enslaved. If they want to marry, dont marry in a church or before God the Almighty but before Baalzebub. You also cannot imply that everyone who intentionally does wrong will be forgiven everytime they ask for forgiveness, Nothing is new under the sun, At the end of the day we are all setting our selves up for destruction.

0

BahamianAway 5 years ago

A sin is a sin there is none greater than the other...the problem comes in when we don't confess, repent, seek forgiveness, and attempt to not commit that sin again. No one is perfect....my issue isn't with human rights. EVERYONE should be afforded the opportunity to receive the basic human rights being treated with respect, dignity, and the right to walk down the street without being harassed. My problem is with attempting to educate the public on LGBT issues....as a Christian I don't need to be educated on that issue. The Bible clearly states God's stand on that and I don't need a lesson on what that entails.

Maybe people may require a lesson on how to treat one another as human beings but as for the gay or lesbian issue the only lesson require is that it is a sin. Plain and simple...and the only people who would argue that this is wrong are non-Christians.

0

JohnDoes 5 years ago

I find that with most of my contact with homosexuals etc, they all seem to claim that they don't believe in God and the Bible is a book of fairy tales. So I guess we can draw some line that majority of homosexuals are atheists.

0

sheeprunner12 5 years ago

Is this "generalcrazy" the new "rory"????????????????????

0

pat242 5 years ago

You know what i find weird. The so call Christian community spoke out against taxing web shops but seems to be taking a back seat approach on this matter. Whats going on, are you guys secretly supporting gays and lesbians. And by the way gays and lesbians have ALL entitlements in this country with the exception of one. I do not know of any recent cases where gays and lesbians where rejected of movement, jobs or being accepted in society. If you look there are everywhere in society (yes even in the church and schools). I have seen gays attack each other by a former pool hall located Bay St in the area of a local bank. So it seem to me that they are their own enemy. In the past there where killing each other. So stop making it seems like they are harmless, once the human nature exist anyone can be violent depending on the circumstances. On this same site i have read that a certain homosexual from Freeport, Bahamas wants the government of The Bahamas to amend the constitutions to include gays and lesbians. If that is not forcing your adgender in the faces of The Bahamas and its citizens then what is it. If a gay or lesbian attack me and i make a complaint that my liberty of being a Bahamians citizen was held captive by violence and mental abuse then what. What will you say when straight people complain that gays are being disrespectful especially in public and if a police lock up someone who is gay or lesbian. Will the cry be the police are picking on gays or lesbians. Get real. Everyone in The Bahamas is govern under the Constitution so gay rights does not exist..

0

pat242 5 years ago

Oh and religion should be the back bone of this argument. All religion that i have studied dis like gays and lesbians. Ms Green you cannot have this argument without adding religion. If i debated you i know i would mash you up. Gays and lesbians are quite happy in this country so i do not no what rights you want. If you keep turning right you will find your self going left.

0

sheeprunner12 5 years ago

Nuff said on this very funny, gay and colorful topic............. LOL. Next!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

0

Sign in to comment