Rainbow warrior walks the talk for LGBTQ support centre
The “Queen of Bermuda” is to cover the end to end course to raise cash for a safe house for LGBTQ young people.
Mark Anderson, the man behind Sybil Barrington, said the creation of a special centre had been a dream for a long time.
He explained he was spurred on to launch the fundraiser after at least three of his friends left the island in the last two months because of discrimination.
Mr Anderson said: “I’ve been wanting to do this for so long but I just kept putting it off over and over.
“Eventually I just said ‘enough waiting, it’s time to do this’.”
He added: “It has always been my vision to open a community centre when I realised the discomfort that LGBTQ+ people have experienced in other settings where others may not accept their identity.
“My dream is also that the facility will be named the Mark Anderson Community Centre and that each room would be dedicated to and named after local LGBTQ+ activists who helped in the struggle for the rights of the LGBTQ+ community in Bermuda.
“I believe that such a facility is necessary in every community and it is long overdue in Bermuda.”
The walk will be held with OutBermuda, a charity focused on support for LGBT people.
It will take place a week before this year’s Bermuda Pride parade.
Mr Anderson will start his trek at 4am on Friday at King Square in St George’s and finish in Dockyard so that he can “beat the heat”.
He added that “every little bit” donated would help him reach his goal.
Mr Anderson also appealed to business and people who backed the first Pride march in 2019 to donate to what is planned to be an annual event.
“I’m looking at the corporations and the almost 6,000 people who marched in the parade.
“If everyone who was a part of that great, magnificent day donated to OutBermuda it would be extremely, extremely helpful.”
Mr Anderson said that his route would take him along Harrington Sound Road and South Road, through Knapton Hill in Smiths, before going on to Middle Road at the Paget stop lights and on to Dockyard.
He added that members of the public were welcome to join him on any leg of the route or give donations as he walked.
According to Mr Anderson, the centre would offer counselling services to help young people and their families adjust to their sexual identities.
It would also offer housing for young LGBT people who were forced to leave their family homes.
Mr Anderson said that he did not have a financial target or a location for the centre at present.
OutBermuda said: “While OutBermuda is grateful for support, it hasn’t agreed on the mentioned fundraisers and isn’t involved at present with any plans for a community centre.
“As part of its charity requirements, anyone that may have donated for this should email OUTBermuda@gmail.com to confirm their identity and donation amount.”
• For more information on how to donate, visit www.outbermuda.org