You lot just REALLY don’t know when to leave well enough alone. I’m convinced that if I were to look up ‘doing too damn much for no reason’ in the dictionary, whom would I find? Bermuda’s anti-LGBTQ crusaders and politicians.
Let’s go back a couple years.
In the lead up to the marriage equality referendum, Preserve Marriage was formed, a group led by religious leaders that said their goal was to ensure that ‘marriage’ remained between a man and a woman, with the intention of shoring up family values in the country. They spent oodles of money on a well executed advertising campaign amid whispers about millions donated by an insurance tycoon and rumours of overseas investment.
In a country where adultery, fornication, divorce, child abuse, drug and alcohol abuse, and un/underemployment are rampant – this group strangely sees Adam and Steve’s relationship as the primary plague of families and put all their money in that basket.
On referendum day, June 23, 2016, I crossed my fingers, sent a wish up to the universe, and marked my ballot in favour of extending equal rights to my brothers and sisters. But, when the votes were tallied, it was a resounding and heartbreaking loss for the LGBTQ community.
In 2017, a brave gay couple took on the system in the Supreme Court, challenging that the law that did not allow them to marry was inconsistent under the Human Rights Act, which has primacy.
But the then-government, the One Bermuda Alliance who had waffled on this issue, did not use this groundbreaking ruling as an opportunity to write it into the law books. Two months later, it was election time, and the Progressive Labour Party campaigned that they would reverse the ruling if voted in.
They were and they did. And while they passed a ‘compromise bill’, which granted a set of rights that never existed before to the LGBTQ community, Bermuda became the first nation on the globe to take away the right to marry.
THEN … (yes, there's more) a US based right-wing association called National Organization for Marriage put out a statement claiming, “NOM played a significant behind-the-scenes role in the tremendous victory in Bermuda. Our team advised pro-marriage supporters there on strategies to preserve marriage and I travelled there twice to meet with activists from Preserve Marriage Bermuda to discuss potential strategies.”
So… if you’re still following, what we have here is a group made up mostly of black Bermudians quietly colluding with an association known to further their cause by exacerbating anti-gay sentiments within the black community to persuade black voters to support anti-black candidates and organisations. One of NOM's missions is to bring down the Southern Poverty Law Center.
I guess nobody likes black people… not even black people.
And (YEP.. STILL MORE!) instead of JUST LEAVING IT THE HELL ALONE, both the Minister and Shadow Minister of Tourism have agreed that the rainbow dollar is just too much for them to pass up, and announced that there are new BTA initiatives afoot to attract LGBTQ tourists.
I’m sorry, what??
This is a joke, right?! This cannot be real. There is no way a country that collectively and resoundingly told the ENTIRE world that they don’t give a fuck about gay people, now want to invite aforementioned gay people to come have a lovely holiday.
From the Royal Gazette*: Ms. Scott repeated that she was not in support of same-sex marriage. She added: “However, what people do with their lives and in their houses is their business. At the end of the day, the LGBTQ community spends money, and they spend big money.” Ms Scott said LGBTQ tourism was worth $211 billion per year worldwide. She added: “This is an area that we need to get with the programme on. This is an area that we actually need to pursue and investigate.”
Of all that is right and holy... girl please sit down.
Jamahl Simmons, the Minister of Economic Development and Tourism, in response to her comments about attracting LGBTQ visitors said, “Bermuda has to be a place that welcomes all. It has to be a place where all can feel included and a part of a great experience.”
UM… BUT IT ISN’T. You all voted for it not to be.
Listen…. I do not at all agree with Bermudians supporting the Boycott Bermuda campaign. It’s shortsighted, lopsided, and, um… ok I can’t think of another word that rhymes, but, sufficed to say, I'ont like it.
If people overseas feel strongly enough not to come to Bermuda, that is their prerogative and I completely understand. But there’s no need for anyone here to add fuel to that fire.
In fact, this is a time the LGBTQ community and allies could be saying, ‘Yes it sucks. It’s awful. But if you still want to come to Bermuda, and we hope you do, we will ensure you have a grand time. Plus... how wonderful would it be for you to come flood the island!" My friend Faith, owner of Aunt Nea’s Inn, said similar in the New York Times.
It's a time for us to stand in support of safe spaces, and direct LGBTQ residents and visitors to 'rainbow-friendly' businesses.
What it is NOT a time for is opportunistic and disingenuous pandering from politicians. ‘We don’t think you deserve the same rights as us, but we love your money. Come on over! Don’t kiss in public though.’
When the article bounced around in my ‘What’s App’ groups today, the move was called ‘insulting’, ‘dumb’, ‘clueless’, and ‘fucking stupid’. And while I don’t tend to read RG comments, in this instance I agree with pretty much all of them, especially this one, “We don't even make our own LGBTQ Bermudians feel included let alone tourists... we need to clean up our own house before we send out invitations.”
THAT is the crux of the point.
You all don't want the gay people we already have... what in the hypocritical world would possess you to try and put on some contrived show for company? Please... just stop, because although I can't even see how it could get any worse, I'm sure you're just itching to demonstrate.
*misleading headline as per usual in the Royal Gazette. The initiative to attract LGBTQ guests is a BTA initiative and Jamahl Simmons reported on it because he was asked the question by Leah Scott.