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Rainbow Alliance of Bermuda’s Response to Throne Speech; National Gender Policy

The Rainbow Alliance of Bermuda is a collective organization which supports fights for equity across a variety of issues, and we are therefore supportive of efforts to address problems of gender inequities.  The statement regarding a National Gender Policy remains too vague for us to substantially comment on the policy itself, but we hope that in making the policy the government ensures that the public are broadly consulted on the issue. In a world where people are still systematically discriminated against and oppressed because of their marginalized gender identities, efforts to address gender equity are necessary, and must include women, men, and those that fall between and outside traditional categories.
A truly progressive policy will recognize that such a policy necessarily requires the recognition of the broader context in which gender oppression occurs, including the intersections of class, race, sexuality, ability, gender identity/expression, and age. A holistic approach, accounting for all of these factors, is absolutely necessary if the government is to make any real change for Bermudians affected by oppression based on their gender.

 

Rainbow Alliance of Bermuda

Co-signed:
Two Words & A Comma
Kinsfolk Bermuda

Rainbow Alliance of Bermuda’s Response to CoH Deputy Mayor Donal Smith’s Comments

The comments Deputy Mayor of Hamilton, Donal Smith, made on the ISSUES program regarding homosexuality were riddled with offensive and derogatory language towards members of the LGBTQ community and their allies.  Moreover, these comments showed a marked ignorance of LGBTQ issues and an overarching tone of homophobia. Comments labeling a group of humans as “freaks” display a strong antipathy towards those he summarily dismisses as unworthy of the protection of the law and are founded on ignorance: this is homophobia.

The Rainbow Alliance of Bermuda remain proponents of an individual’s rights to free speech.  You can have strongly-held religious or moral viewpoints without resorting to offensive and hurtful attacks on an entire community.  This is an inappropriate way for an elected official to speak about anyone, and we await Mr. Smith’s apology.

Rainbow Alliance of Bermuda’s Response to ISSUES Program

The Rainbow Alliance of Bermuda would like to acknowledge the respectful manner in which Dr Gibbons and the Seventh Day Adventist Church spoke on the topic of homosexuality during the ISSUES program. They offered open arms to all individuals, which is in-line with the Rainbow Alliance’s focus on providing safe spaces for the LGBTQ community.

We agree with Marc Bean’s assessment that same sex marriage is inevitable in Bermuda, but reject all heterosexist assertions that such an event will cause moral disruption. The PLP has not yet arrived at a party position. The official position of the current government was clarified a few weeks ago by Premier Craig Cannonier, who has stated that marriage equality will not be pursued while he is in power. Premier Cannonier’s leadership is not permanent, and Bermuda will continue to take steps towards equity for all citizens, regardless of sexual orientation.

Bermuda has a long way to go in addressing the heterosexist and sometimes homophobic attitudes displayed in reaction to the recent Human Rights Act amendment, which will remain a cause that the Rainbow Alliance of Bermuda will campaign for through education and outreach. The Rainbow Alliance of Bermuda will continue its focus to provide safe spaces for the LGBTQ community members and allies.

See also: Bernews Article, Royal Gazette Article

Human Rights Act Amendment Passed by Parliament: Our Statement to the Press

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.

New bill is ‘a step in the right direction’

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”.

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