[Opinion column written by U.S. Consul General to Bermuda Robert Settje] The Government of the United States supports and promotes lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender [LGBT] rights.
Rainbow Alliance of Bermuda, in collaboration with the Centre for Justice, the Human Rights Commission, Kinsfolk Bermuda, and Two Words and a Comma, are excited to announce Bermuda’s participation in WorldPride 2014 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, from June 20-29, culminating in the Annual Pride Parade on Sunday, June 29th, 2014.
By Owain Johnston-Barnes, for The Royal Gazette
A same-sex couple was turned away from several rental apartments and treated with hostility by Bermuda Immigration, it has been alleged.
The past month has surely been exciting for Bermuda’s LGBTQ community! Bermuda’s Government finally made the decision to amend the Human Rights Act to include sexual orientation as protected grounds from discrimination in terms of employment, goods and services and housing.
Here’s a timeline of some of the events that have led up to this point:
Bermuda, 18 June 2013 - The Rainbow Alliance of Bermuda, would like to applaud the government’s decision on Friday, June 14th, to pass the amendment to the Human Rights Act to prevent discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. We are proud of all the brave voices who spoke in favour of the amendment and of protecting the fundamental human rights of the LGB community.
This legislation would not be possible without years of campaigning by countless activists and groups, particularly Dr. John Stubbs, Two Words and a Comma, Centre for Justice, the Allen Vincent Smith Foundation, the Human Rights Commission, and Amnesty International Bermuda. The Rainbow Alliance of Bermuda sincerely thanks all of these allies.
Based on the emotional, confused, and sometimes offensive tenor of the debates that took place surrounding the amendment, it is evident that there is still work for us to do in the Bermudian community to combat homophobia, improve understanding, and address misconceptions. The Rainbow Alliance of Bermuda will continue this important work, while continuing to provide safe spaces for the LGBTQ community members and allies. The LGBTQ community will not be shamed, silenced, or condemned and we hope to work together to create equity for all of Bermuda’s citizens.
By Ayo Johnson
Parliament has passed landmark legislation prohibiting sexual orientation discrimination, following after a nine-hour debate yesterday.
While there were some dissenting voices, the majority of MPs spoke in favour of the Human Rights Amendment Act 2013 which added sexual orientation discrimination to the list of prohibited grounds of discrimination.
By Premier Craig Cannonier
There come times in the life of a country when its people have the opportunity to decide what kind of future they want; to build toward something better, to expand freedom, to better protect one another, to leave behind what was not working; to correct a historic wrong or make good an oversight.
The legislation before the House today is one of those opportunities.
The Human Rights Amendment Act contains provisions that will, in effect, prohibit discrimination against anyone on the basis of their sexual orientation.
By Owain Johnston-Barnes
Government has formally tabled legislation to prohibit discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation.
The Human Rights Act currently prohibits discrimination on the grounds of race, sex, religion and criminal record, but the Human Rights Amendment Bill 2013 adds sexual orientation to that list.
…Outside the House of Assembly, dozens of supporters gathered yesterday for a “picnic lunch” organised by the Sexual Orientation Working Group.
The event was held to not only celebrate the tabling of the bill, but to mark the UN International Day Against Homophobia, which was yesterday.
Several members of the crowd wore purple, the colour adopted for the Day Against Homophobia, while others wore purple ribbons and held purple balloons.
A number of attendees also brought placards adorned with phrases including “Feel the Love Bermuda”, “Welcome to the 21st Century Bermuda” and “All Humans have Rights”.
To me, NOH8 is about more than equality, it’s about humanity.
As a collective of people supportive of the inclusion and recognition of the LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer) community in Bermuda, the Rainbow Alliance of Bermuda are encouraged by the OBA’s pledge to amend the Human Rights Act (HRA) to include sexual orientation and age as grounds for protection from discrimination. The expansion of the HRA to acknowledge and prevent discrimination faced by people based on their sexual orientation is a crucial step towards making Bermuda a more inclusive and accepting community and it has our full support.
The amendment of the HRA has been consistently promised since 2004 and has yet to come to fruition. The Rainbow Alliance of Bermuda urges the government to follow-through with this legislative change as quickly as possible. Combating discrimination requires more than just a change in the law, it requires an adjustment of attitudes which we hope to see modeled by the leaders of our country and community. The time has come where homophobia should not and will not be tolerated from anyone, particularly from our role models.
The Rainbow Alliance of Bermuda will continue to campaign for further policies to combat homophobia and transphobia. The Bermudian LGBTQ community experience discrimination based not only on their sexuality, but also their gender identity and The Rainbow Alliance of Bermuda will continue to advocate for increased legislative inclusiveness. We hope that Bermuda’s law-makers will eventually join other nations in extending further equal rights to the LGBTQ community.
This legislation would not be possible without years of campaigning by countless activists and groups, especially Dr. John Stubbs, Two Words and a Comma, the Allan Vincent Smith Foundation, the Human Rights Commission, and Amnesty International Bermuda. The Rainbow Alliance of Bermuda is proud to be counted among these groups, and would like to also thank Centre for Justice and The Chewstick Foundation for their unwavering support.