RIGHTS Bahamas has commended the Progressive Liberal Party and its leader Phillip Davis for “their maturity, open-mindedness and inclusiveness” after the opposition party threw support behind next year’s gay pride event.
In a statement, RB said the stance “is a surprising breath of fresh air in what is usually a stagnant and backward political conversation, mired for decades in ignorance and intolerance.”
The advocacy group also said: “The government must also be congratulated for giving official permission to the event’s organisers. Nevertheless, politicians from the FNM and the DNA would do well to follow Mr Davis’ example and declare their support for freedom of expression clearly and explicitly in connection with Pride 2020.
“The LGBTI community has been with us for as long as there has been a Bahamas, yet its members have been required to live in secrecy and silence. Pride 2020 symbolises the beginning of the end of this code of silence, forced upon a vulnerable minority by the rest; as such, it should be celebrated by all Bahamians who love freedom, fairness and justice.
“This event is long overdue. In an overwhelmingly homophobic society like the Bahamas, the LGBTQI community and those who support its rights must speak with one voice against the victimisation, marginalisation and discrimination that members of this community face in virtually every sphere of life – sometimes subtle, more often overt – from employment to health care, housing to education.
“Pride 2020 is about celebrating freedom and self-expression. It is also about raising awareness of the intimidation, violence and sexual assault to which LGBTQI persons are continually subjected. Until we can speak openly in the sunshine about such matters, vulnerable individuals will continue to suffer unspeakable crimes in the shadows.”
RB also said: “Sadly, it is the church which is leading the opposition to this crucial event. Religious leaders remain hugely influential in this society and we urge them not to continue to stoke the fires of hate and intolerance. We ask them to follow the example of individuals such as Phillip Davis and especially Frederick McAlpine, a politician but also a pastor, in helping guide this nation towards a more kind, tolerant and inclusive future.”