THE PRIDE flag flying alongside the US flag at the US Embassy for Pride Month.
By RASHAD ROLLE
Tribune Senior Reporter
LESBIAN, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex (LGBTQI) advocates are cheering the United States and its embassy in Nassau for hoisting the Pride flag as many around the world celebrate Pride Month.
The US Embassy said the Pride flag will fly for the entire month of June to honour “the human rights of LGBTQI+ persons in The Bahamas and around the world.”
“The US government and the US Embassy reaffirm the human rights and fundamental freedoms of LGBTQI+ persons,” the embassy said in a statement. “Our support for the LGBTQI+ community rests on a simple and fundamental belief: that all human beings should be treated with respect and dignity and should be able to live without fear no matter who they are or who they love.
“The United States is committed to pursuing equity for all. In flying the Pride flag during the month of June, we hope to highlight the contributions of LGBTQI+ persons around the world and open a space for honest conversations about the unique challenges they face. This is a worldwide effort by the Biden administration; every US mission has been invited to fly the Pride flag or light up their embassies with rainbow colours this month in support of the LGBTQI+ community.”
The Pride flag was flown outside the US Embassy’s building in Downtown Nassau and the Chief of Mission’s Residence on Sanford Drive.
Local LGBTQI advocate Alexus D’Marco said yesterday that Pride events will be hosted from October 4-11 to coincide with Heroes Day celebrations in The Bahamas under the theme, “We are people just like you.”
She said in a statement: “On July 10, 1973 a flag was raised for the first time signalling the birth of an independent Bahamas. We were so proud of our liberation and insistent on the unique beauty of our people and land that we declared our nation to be ‘The’ Bahamas because there is no other like it. It is that ‘The-ness’ that draws the whole world to our shores; they love it so much that they come back repeatedly, and some make it their home away from home.
“But this love story does not always have a happy ending, especially for those Bahamians who fly another flag – despite the attractive beauty of rainbow colours, it stirs up much hatred and mistrust, especially for those of us who identify as transgender or non-binary. Nevertheless we, the LGBTQ+ people on these island gems, live with the hope that a globally admired state who sat on the UN’s Human Rights Council from 2018 to 2019, will open their hearts and arms not just symbolically but legislatively to include us all as equals in our society, regardless of its conservative belief.
“The Bahamas can be the great Caribbean leader that blazes a trail as an exemplar of human dignity and inclusion for all, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. Just as other island nations aspired to have the same winning tourism formula like ours, they could also, one day aspire to adopting The Bahamas model of human rights up front.
“Mrs Eleanor Roosevelt, (the well-known wife of a US president) was less known for being a woman living with a disability and one of the authors of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). She said: ‘Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home – so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world.’
“We also remember the voice of beloved South African freedom fighter Nelson Mandela who said: ‘Thus shall we live, because we will have created a society which recognises that all people are born equal, with each entitled in equal measure to life, liberty, prosperity, human rights and good governance.’
“Messages like these stand behind the reasoning for why our nation’s western allies break with tradition to encourage their foreign missions to fly the Pride flag in celebration of the LGBTQ+ community. No, it’s not in protest, far from it. It’s a lead by example effort that may be saying, ‘yes we admit that we may have flaws as countries and in some cases former colonists, but we do this to dissuade you from making the same mistake of thinking that some are better than others.’ It’s an open invitation to join the changing world, for us the older generations to listen to the voice of the youth who are telling us very clearly and loudly that the future they envision is not one of stigma and discrimination, instead it is one with human rights and dignity for all in a land that is sustainable and full of that ‘the-ness’ that is The Bahamas,” Ms D’Marco said.