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DeMarco Foundation voices support for Jonquel Jones

JONQUEL Jones in action in the WNBA. (AP)

JONQUEL Jones in action in the WNBA. (AP)

By LYNAIRE MUNNINGS

lmunnings@tribunemedia.net

THE president and director of local LGBTQIA+ group The DeMarco Foundation voiced support for Jonquel Jones after the WNBA star said her sexuality hindered her marketability.

Alexis DeMarco said there are no policies to protect members of the LGBTQIA+ community in The Bahamas.

“The work that we do is, we try to advocate for the human rights of LGBTQIA+ Bahamians to be able to be included in every aspect of life. That’s access to justice, access to healthcare, access to education, access to employment,” she said.

In a feature with ESPN’s Katie Barnes, reigning WNBA MVP and Connecticut Sun forward Jones said she believed her relationship with The Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC) ended due to her openly identifying as a lesbian and her “non-traditionally feminine” style of dress.

“Jones believes her decision to embrace her identity as a lesbian and dress more authentically came with material consequences,” Barnes wrote. “The Bahamas Telecommunications Co., she says, opted not to renew her contract even though her basketball performance in the United States and overseas had improved.”

DeMarco said the opportunity allowed Jones to use her platform to bring awareness to her struggle as an individual.

She believes Jones' situation is a good opportunity for the country to acknowledge some communities they have left behind.

“In her situation, I feel she used the opportunity not so much about BTC, it was more talking about her struggle within herself as it relates to being a person,” DeMarco said. “She had a personal journey and she struggled with that personal journey.”

Following the publication of the ESPN article, BTC issued a statement refuting those claims.

“BTC has a strong culture supporting equality, diversity, and inclusion. As a company, we do not discriminate against the LGBTQIA+ community in any form or manner,” the statement said.

“BTC currently has an endorsement contract with Olympian Steven Gardiner. All endorsement contracts are executed for a specific period of time.”

DeMarco encouraged Jones to continue to share her story through her platform, while standing up for herself.

“I will say continue being yourself, continue standing up for your human rights, continue standing up for you and only you can share your story and only you can own your story,” DeMarco said.

She hopes Bahamians begin to acknowledge the LGBTQIA+ community, as its members deserve the same rights as anyone else.

“LGBTQIA+ Bahamians do exist – we have a vast amount of people leaving this country every day for various reasons, for their pursuit of happiness, for what makes them happy,” she said. “My advice to Bahamians is let’s live and let live.”

Comments

John 1 month, 3 weeks ago

No matter how much legislations are passed, they cannot stop a racist person from being prejudiced against a Black person. Laws may prevent some of their actions, Lu lynching or denial of service, but at the end of the day that person is still racist. Similar with people who live alternative (sexually oriented) lifestyles. The average person will say , I have no problem with them being gay or lesbian or whatever, just don’t be all up in my face about it.’ I don’t need to know b what you ‘does’ or who you ‘does’ it with. And if that is the mindset of BTC’s customers, That they don’t want no person, males or females all up in their faces, demanding you accept their sexual disuse ions, then BTC has to do what is necessary to protect their revenue. If BTC hires an ambassador or spokesman, then obviously the intention is to increase revenue not decrease it. So if the market is not yet ready for an alternative style she cannot blame BTC. She didn’t accomplish the goal for which she was engaged. In other words , if she was averaging 8-10 points a game and that average drops to 4-5 points and the team decides to disengage her, will she also blame that in her masculine dress and sexual orientation? and is she willing to tone down her masculine dress and attitude?

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bahamianson 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Well, hold on. Is this lady accusing a company of an accusation? If so, she should present.her facts and prove those accusations. If she is unable to do so, the company should sue her for defamation and slander.

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sheeprunner12 1 month, 2 weeks ago

This is a tit for tat situation. Jones doesn't need BTC money. She's surely making US money and living a dream life. She just wants to stick a jab in for gays.

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ThisIsOurs 1 month, 2 weeks ago

I doubt that. Did you heart the hurt in Donald Thomas' voice as he spoke about not getting support from his country? If she "thinks" she's not being supported and is being discriminated against by her people despite giving her all and excelling that can be emotionally traumatic. While I disagree with her on the cause for the separation, what I think or you think doesnt change what's in her mind.

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ThisIsOurs 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Where is her support base? Is it in The Bahamas or the US? How many followers does she have compared to other players? These sponsorships work for players who have that "it" factor. And it's a subjective intangible thing, you cant legislate it, it's the thing that makes people gravitate to you and for the company, influence others to want to use the products you use, wear what you wear and do what you do. Ellen is lesbian, she dresses in a masculine style but she has "it". So does Rachel Maddow. Does Jonquel? I dont know, I dont follow the NBA much less WNBA, I dont know how fans react to her. Some of "it" is attractiveness but personality overcomes that. Some of "it" is race but personality overcomes that. Does she have "it"?

"It" aside, the one that that is clear that is not subjective is the govt certainly doesnt respond to her the way they do to other top athletes. I dont know if I've ever seen a contingent speak with excitement about going to a championship game to rep the Bahamian flag. Maybe they did and I missed it. So she's right that she doesnt get the spotlight other top Bahamian athletes get (and deserves) and it probably has to do with her "look", but personality could overcome that.

In general I think the govt needs to have a fair treatment policy AND Jonquel maybe needs to objectively assess some things. I dont think this is an LBTQ issue, it "could" be an issue of unfair treatment where she "happens" to be lesboan. Life isnt always fair but each of us has a mix that gives us an opportunity to become our best, be whole and be fulfilled. Forget BTC, try for one of the big US firms or the American embassy.

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ThisIsOurs 1 month, 2 weeks ago

I think the entire LBTQ community needs to get beyond how proud they are to be LBTQ. Heterosexual people dont walk around saying how proud they are to be heterosexual. Just be the best you and let people recognize you for the best that you are. Jonquel is an amazing basketball player at the top of the "world", no other tags needed... other than "Bahamian".

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sheeprunner12 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Agree. The mere fact that LGBTQ+ ppl have to flaunt their sexuality choices says that they have an inferiority complex with themselves. Straight ppl don't need to do that, because it's the right moral social way of life.

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ThisIsOurs 1 month, 2 weeks ago

"because it's the right moral social way of life."

As long as its between consenting adults, they can do what they want, morally right. It's a personal choice.

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GodSpeed 1 month, 2 weeks ago

When Democrats are in control in the US their degeneracy spreads outwards, influencing other countries. Promoting and encouraging all kinds of nonsense.

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M0J0 1 month, 2 weeks ago

What's new, 90% of wnba players are lesbians.

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M0J0 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Further more if BTC was interested, they just wont be now.

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