Standing side by side with the LGBTQ community
Last week I sent a release to the media to announce the Bermuda Police Service would be involved in the LGBTQ Pride Parade on August 31, 2019.
However, this was not just to say we would provide some officers to help with any route taken or traffic management. This was to say the BPS support Bermuda's LGBTQ community and that a number of officers, including myself and other senior officers, will be attending the parade.
The primary function of policing is to ensure local communities are safe and free from any form of victimisation. This may be the resulting acts of criminal or antisocial behaviour, but victimisation can also include marginalisation and discrimination. Reading some of the online posts circulating on social media this weekend concerns and upsets me, but sadly does not surprise, either.
The BPS will address the acidic posts by a very small few that suggest violence towards those that are LGBTQ. However, there are others that infer being LGBTQ is “not normal” or something that should, and I excuse the pun, be kept in the closet, let alone have the audacity to hold a parade.
While I do respect the views of others, when expressed constructively, I fundamentally do not agree that LGBTQ communities should be subject of criticism or anything other than being seen as a normal part of our society. However sadly, discrimination and stigma do exist in small pockets, which, if applied to others on the basis of ethnicity, gender or culture, would be universally condemned.
So why are the BPS keen to be involved in the Pride parade? The answer for that is simple in that the BPS represent all communities in Bermuda. We are there to protect people, but also we are there to build confidence and trust.
Importantly we will be there to stand alongside our LGBTQ community to celebrate their identity, not least if it can help to change some of the minority views that being LGBTQ is both normal and an important part of the fabric that makes Bermuda a great — and safe — place to live, work and socialise.
• Stephen Corbishley is the Commissioner of Police