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The challenge of being gay in Bermuda

By Carla Zuill, for Bermuda Sun

The month of June signified Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Pride Month worldwide. It is observed every year in honour of the 1969 Stonewall riots, which took place in New York City.

On June 24, the Human Rights Commission, in conjunction with the Consulate General of the United States, hosted a panel discussion at the Bermuda College. The standing-room only crowd had the opportunity to talk about LGBT rights and tolerance on the island with the aim of having respectful, open and frank dialogue.

Recently, Carla Zuill spoke with three Bermudians who are openly gay. Each shares a bit of insight into their lives and how they have coped with being gay in Bermuda.

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Second party to promote equal rights for gays

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 6: A second event to promote equal rights for gay people is to be held in a city nightspot tomorrow (Thursday).

The Big Gay Thursday event — with a dress code of business attire — is aimed at fostering links between Bermuda businesses and the gay community.

But organiser Valentino Tear, a Bermudian based in England, where he is a successful DJ, said: “I want to encourage everyone to come to these parties.

“They are not exclusively gay — but they are gay-friendly. A lot of people say they don’t want to go because people will think they’re gay. But this is not a gay or a straight thing — it’s a Bermuda thing.

“It’s an opportunity to show we can all party together as one, supporting and respecting each other as Bermuda residents and human beings. It’s an open event and everyone is welcome.”

The event will be held at Taste One Four One in the new Sir John W Swan Building on Front Street.

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‘Gays need more than a change in the law’

(Bermuda Sun) WEDNESDAY, NOV. 7: Government’s plans to rewrite human rights law to protect gay people from discrimination does not go far enough, campaigners said on Tuesday.

And the Rainbow Alliance — a pressure group set up to campaign for gay rights — said that if Government is to rip up the current human rights law and draft a new Equality Act, it should also use the time to work to cut anti-gay sentiment in Bermuda.

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Gays to be covered in new human rights bill

FRIDAY, NOV. 2: Government will address sexual discrimination with a new bill that will offer protection for a range of characteristics including sexual orientation and age.

Governor George Fergusson made that announcement in this morning Speech from the Throne calling the current Act “outdated” for a 21st century democracy.

In the 2012 Throne Speech Government said it would look at “the feasibility of introducing an Equality Act to address the outstanding areas of discrimination, in particular, discrimination related to sexual orientation.”

Continue Reading: Bermuda Sun

Island’s ‘in dire need of a gay and lesbian centre’

Professional drag queen Mark Anderson this week gave homophobic Bermudians a dressing down for being intolerant and hypocritical about gays.

He told the Bermuda Sun that Bermuda is in dire need of a gay and lesbian centre where homosexuals could go for counselling and sex education.

He said the need is greatest for teenagers who are struggling with their identity — but often have nowhere to turn.