New head of LGBTQ+ charity seeks to broaden its work
An LGBTQ+ charity will seek to find a broader purpose so it can better help the community, the charity’s first executive director said.
Tiffany Paynter, who was recently appointed as the executive director of OutBermuda, said that the charity, which has been pushing for marriage equality, will also now focus on other ways to protect Bermuda’s LGBTQ+ community.
She explained that although the fight for marriage equality had fuelled OutBermuda since its inception, the organisation was keen to find what impacted the community the most.
Ms Paynter added: “We have to figure out ‘OK, what are the things that are central and local to us and our community? Where can we have the greatest impact?’
“What I hope to help OutBermuda do is guide us towards more community engagement.
“We have our small board and we all have our own individual ideas of what the community wants, but in order to serve the community you really have to touch base with them instead of operating from assumptions.”
Ms Paynter said that she spent the past month familiarising herself with the charity’s board members and partners to get “a lay of the land”.
She added that the group will speak with Bermudians in the LGBTQ+ community after this year’s Pride parade and create a plan for the next few years.
“Right now the mission is to focus on Pride, make that an exceptional and memorable time on our island and for our community, and then from there we’ll begin to reach out to the community to touch base with them, whether that’s in small focus groups or a combination of different forums.”
Ms Paynter was speaking after she became OutBermuda’s executive director on May 23.
She told The Royal Gazette that she had been a consultant with OutBermuda for years before she applied for the new position.
Ms Paynter added that she saw the role as a chance for her to do her part in making the island a better place.
She admitted that she was unsure if she was ready to join the charity when she saw the job advertised.
“I thought ‘it’s a once in a lifetime moment and opportunity’ and I genuinely admire our board.”
“Everybody wants to change the world, but nobody wants to do the dishes.
“To me this just seemed like the best way that I could put my own money where my mouth was and to step in and say ‘all right, I’m going to do the dishes’.”
Ms Paynter urged businesses to throw their weight behind LGBTQ+ initiatives throughout the year, rather than just in July during Pride month.
She also encouraged members of the public to be proactive in speaking out against homophobia and transphobia.
Ms Paynter said: “If you, for instance, have a loved one that is LGBTQ+ and has been out or you have someone who you think may need your support, I think it’s important that you do, at the very least, ask your friends what you can do.
“And do you own research and internal research on where you stand and where your own biases are.”
She added: “I think that we have a great amount of support in different areas of our communities and we look tapping into that as we grow and as we develop a new way forward for OutBermuda.”