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Rainbow Alliance of Bermuda’s Response to “Preserve Marriage Bermuda”

The Rainbow Alliance of Bermuda supports the rights of all people in Bermuda to have their consensual, loving relationships between two individuals recognized and protected – regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation. The Bermuda courts have already supported this position, ruling that refusing to recognize same-sex partnerships amounts to discrimination – a stance which we wholeheartedly stand by.

A referendum on this issue disregards the struggle of minority groups in human rights issues. Why should an unaffected majority decide the extent to which an oppressed minority can access their rights? Fundamental rights and freedoms are in place to protect minorities against the shifting passions of the majority. Referenda pose a danger to the protections afforded to minority groups through legislative and judicial means. Preserve Marriage‘s rhetoric shows a need for a better understanding on how to be accepting of all persons, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Justice Anthony Kennedy’s eloquent writing from the US Supreme Court ruling of Obergefell v. Hodges shows how important allowing same-sex marriage is to the community at large:

“As all parties agree, many same-sex couples provide loving and nurturing homes to their children, whether biological or adopted. … Excluding same-sex couples from marriage thus conflicts with a central premise of the right to marry. Without the recognition, stability, and predictability marriage offers, their children [...] suffer the significant material costs of being raised by unmarried parents, relegated through no fault of their own to a more difficult and uncertain family life. The marriage laws at issue here thus harm and humiliate the children of same-sex couples.

“In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.”

Preserve Marriage’s media campaign against same-sex marriage is offensive and riddled with skewed statistics. For the many non-heterosexual young people and adults in Bermuda, Preserve Marriage’s homophobia is further entrenching the daily exclusion and alienation already faced. It is unfortunate that with the multiple serious issues Bermuda is currently facing, a group of individuals would use such a significant amount of resources to advocate to prevent a recognized segment of the population from being able to benefit from rights and freedoms afforded to the majority.

The Rainbow Alliance will continue to support the rights of LGBTQ+ persons in Bermuda to have safe spaces available and to educate the community on LGBTQ+ issues.

“The conversation on [the legal right for marriage equality] has NOTHING to do with my Christian beliefs.”

“The conversation on whether or not men should have the legal right to marry men or whether women should have the legal right to marry women has NOTHING to do with my Christian beliefs.”

We received this heartfelt letter of support from Justin D Brangman, a Bermudian who attended the Ministry of Community, Culture & Sports’ Information Session on Same Sex Marriage on Monday September 28. Thank you Justin.

Continue Reading…

Rainbow Alliance of Bermuda’s Response to Liberty Theatre Event + Further Reading

The Rainbow Alliance of Bermuda strongly condemns the hate speech promoted by Ayo Kimathi at the “African History & Culture Come Alive” event hosted at Liberty Theatre, as reported in the Royal Gazette.
Gambian President Yahya Jammeh has been cited as a human rights abuser by Amnesty International, amongst other human rights organisations. Allegedly playing a video of this man suggesting that members of the LGBTQ community should be subject to the death penalty is equivalent to inciting violence within Bermuda’s community. President Jammeh is not an example of the kind of leadership Bermuda needs, and his model of violent homophobia does not deserve applause.
Mr. Kimathi’s suggestions that homosexuality is a “white sex” crime introduced to Africa by European colonizers is historically inaccurate. There is documentation of normalized homosexuality in Congo, Madagasgar, Ethiopia, Pangwe (present-day Cameroon and Gabon), Ghana, Sudan, South Africa, Egypt, Benin, Nigeria, Kenya, Zimbabwe, amongst other countries. What the European colonizers did import to Africa is homophobia and hateful attitudes towards natural sexual orientations.
The Rainbow Alliance of Bermuda has gathered a variety of information on the topic of homosexuality in pre-colonial Africa and will list articles and books for further reading for anyone interested on their website.
The Rainbow Alliance of Bermuda remains committed to promoting safer spaces in Bermuda for the LGBTQ community. We look forward to the series of discussions on marriage equality on Monday, September 28 and Thursday, October 1.

 

Further Reading:

Homosexuality is not un-African, by Sylvia Tamale, Aljazeera America

Homosexuality un-African? The claim is an historical embarrassment, by Eusebius McKaiser, The Guardian

If you say being gay is not African, you don’t know your history, by Bisi Alimi, The Guardian

The idea that African homosexuality was a colonial import is a myth, by Bernardine Evaristo, The Guardian

Debunking the myths: Is Homosexuality, Bisexuality or Transsexualism Un-African or Unnatural?  by Yemisi Ilesanmi, FreeThoughtBlogs.com

Boy-Wives and Female Husbands - Studies of African Homosexualities, Edited by Stephen O. Murray and Will Roscoe Palgrave for St. Martin’s Griffin

Heterosexual Africa?: The History of an Idea from the Age of Exploration to the Age of AIDS, by Marc Epprecht, New African Histories

 

 

Ministry: Info Sessions On Same Sex Marriage

The Ministry of Community, Culture and Sports has announced that public information sessions regarding same sex marriage will be held on Monday, 28 September and Thursday, 1 October.

“The public information sessions follow as a response to the petition that was presented to Government in May 2015,” the Ministry said.

“These sessions will focus on experiences in other jurisdictions and the current local situation as well as provide an opportunity for questions and answers.”

Video of the petition being presented in May 2015:

Community, Culture and Sports Minister Patricia Gordon-Pamplin said, “When I received the petition from Mr. Tony Brannon and supporters, I assured them that Government would take into consideration the proposed request allowing same sex marriage in Bermuda.

“The Department of Human Affairs has presented to Cabinet research regarding what other countries have enacted in legislation and what steps can be taken. At the public information sessions we plan on sharing what we’ve learned as well as give our citizens an opportunity to respond.”

Minister Gordon-Pamplin added, “We want to encourage community engagement and dialogue around the subject. It is important after reviewing the research about what other countries have done that we, in Bermuda, have frank and honest dialogue about same sex marriage.”

The information sessions will be held on Monday, 28 September at the Berkeley Institute and Thursday, 1 October at Bermuda College North Hall. The sessions begin at 6 p.m.

In response, Tony Brannon — who started the petition — said, “It’s a start. Everyday we don’t make this happen is a day lost for human rights and tourism.”

Source: Bernews

Fantasy Pride Summer Night Cruise | July 10

DJ Lady Blazian and DJ Quiet Storm present the party we’ve all been waiting for… FANTASY PRIDE, a summer night cruise aboard the MV Destiny on Friday, July 10 from 11PM-3AM. Tickets are $50, which includes a complimentary rum swizzle and hors d’oeuvres. Cash bar. Bathing suits are optional (personally, we plan to get wet)!

Are you using the correct LGBT terms? You might be surprised!

Since 2004, the terms gay and lesbian have increased in search by more than 32%. In the same time, the term transgender has increased in frequency by more than 240%. With so many terms becoming more frequent in the popular lexicon and in honor of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Pride Month, Grammarly partnered with GLAAD to lay out the do’s and don’ts of LGBT parlance. The following infographic will help you better understand how to discuss LGBTQIA issues in a culturally aware and sensitive way.