Pride Bahamas organizer says BCC misrepresenting LGBTI community

Pride Bahamas Organizer Alexus D’Marco yesterday accused the Bahamas Christian Council (BCC) of misrepresenting the LGBTI community as it prepares for its celebrations next year.

“As much as the Bahamas Christian Council tries to misrepresent the LGBTI community and the movement, the proof of the pudding is in the eating,” D’Marco said in a statement.

“While they are praising undisturbed, we will be priding undisturbed. While they misinform the public about what we want, we are sharing with the public the truth about what we want. We are coexisting and both the LGBTI movement and the church agree that this coexistence should be a non-violent one.”

She noted that both freedom of speech and freedom of religion are “alive and well” in The Bahamas.

D’Marco’s comments followed the BCC’s statement that it will host an anti-gay parade in protest to the LGBTI community’s celebrations, which are slated for October 2020.

In a statement released on Sunday, BCC President Bishop Delton Fernander said homosexuality is in “direct contradiction to the teachings of the Bible”.

“ … If the church has to take it to the level, we will book out some of the largest, maybe the stadium is the largest place,” he said.

“We have already engaged some of our friends around the world and they were coming for Operation Restoration and rebuilding, and we were planning a night of hope, but we would be more than happy to not only share that as a night of hope, but a restoring [of] Christian values in our country.”

However, D’Marco said the event next year is aimed to be “a new start for our country” as it relates to the treatment of the LGBTI community.

“At the heart of this are discussions around what The Bahamas should look to as it seeks to respect, tolerate and include LGBTI Bahamians; and nowhere in the conversation is the domination of the church or the religious,” she said.

“We aimed to bring religious LGBTI persons and allies together to celebrate their faith.”

She added, “Inequality and discrimination [continue] to be an issue for the LGBTI and other marginalized communities and we hope that with the continued cooperation and partnership with our government, we can see this change for the betterment of all.”

Pride Bahamas organizers have noted that most of their events will be private to ensure the safety of participants.

D’Marco said the BCC ignored two requests from her group to meet.

Fernander said, “They told us when they wanted to meet and it wasn’t good for us.”

He added, “So, if they’re requesting that meeting again, just request it but don’t demand.”

However, the emails D’Marco sent to the BCC did not make any demands.

In the first email, dated August 15, 2018, she wrote: “…I’d like to begin to bridge the gaps between the LGBTIQ community of The Bahamas and faith based leaders of our country in a dialogue. There is a percentage of LGBTIQ Bahamians who identify as people of faith. Looking for a response to this request.”

A response came that day from Anglican Archdeacon James Palacious: “Received. Thank you.”

On December 14, 2018, D’Marco sent a second request for a meeting. It ended: “Is there availability in the first week of February 2019. Looking for a response to this request.”

There was no reply, according to D’Marco.

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Jasper Ward

Jasper Ward started at The Nassau Guardian in September 2018. Ward covers a wide range of national and social issues. Education: Goldsmiths, University of London, MA in Race, Media and Social Justice

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