What the Rainbow Alliance stands for
August 9, 2012
Your paper graciously reported on our newly formed collective, the Rainbow Alliance of Bermuda, last week and we hoped to clarify what it is that we stand for. Although only recently formed, we were brought together based on strong common beliefs and concerns which have been in the minds of many people of Bermuda for years, and we urge people not to perceive this effort as fleeting or unfounded. What are these concerns? Put simply, we are frustrated by the discussions around, and treatment of, LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) and queer people in Bermuda, using the word queer in its reclaimed meaning as an umbrella term for all sexual minorities. As epitomised through the recent take note motion in Parliament surrounding a new Equality Act, discussion followed by inaction continues to be too common a thread when it comes to rights for LGBT/queer people. However, more than that, the discussions in the House, in the media, on the internet, on talk shows and various other forums have demonstrated the disturbing absence of a safer space in which LGBT/queer people are given a voice to speak about their own struggles and rights.
The discourse is often either drenched in openly oppressive, hurtful ignorance or diplomatically tiptoed around in apparent hopes that if the subject (ie actual LGBT/queer people) is made abstract enough, no one will be offended. It is time for this to end. These are real people whose lives are being used as rhetoric, political capital or scapegoats. We agree that Bermudas legislation needs to join the modern world and start protecting people of different sexual orientations and gender identities from discrimination by amending the Human Rights Act. However, this cannot be seen as the be all and end all of progress. Legislative change must be supported by social change. The people affected must be given a space to speak and be heard, to be respected and supported. Although this sentiment has existed for years, a few of us decided to help turn this into real, grassroots action. We have created a Facebook page under the name Rainbow Alliance of Bermuda to help bring LGBT/queer people together, as well as their friends, families and allies, to start steering Bermuda into a more positive space for discussion. Bermuda is home to many different and wonderful people, and we must not condone the negative, hateful speech being used against a part of Bermudas community.
E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org and like our page on Facebook if you want to hear more about our future plans, including our upcoming open forum discussion.
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