Report highlights lack of protections for LGBTQ people in The Bahamas

The Bahamas is the 46th most dangerous country for LGBTQ travelers, according to The LGBTQ+ Danger Index.

The index, which was released last week, uses eight factors to rank the worst and safest countries for LGBTQ visitors.

It ranked the 150 most visited countries.

The index highlighted The Bahamas’ failure to legalize same-sex marriage, offer worker protection for sexual orientation or gender identity, offer protection against discrimination, criminalize violence and hate crimes for LGBT people, and recognize adoptions by same-sex couples. 

It gave The Bahamas a D- for its lack of protections for the LGBTQ community.

Tourism Minister Dionisio D’Aguilar said yesterday he was “surprised” by The Bahamas’ ranking.

“I would be interested to see how that was determined,” D’Aguilar told The Nassau Guardian.

“I would think that The Bahamas is very understanding. The Bahamian people are very accommodating. They may not fundamentally believe in that lifestyle.

“But, you know, certainly in the Ministry of Tourism, we’ve had, as far as I’m aware, no complaints whatsoever about any unpleasant vacation to The Bahamas by members of the LGBT community. So, I find that difficult to comprehend.”

The index notes that “certain cities, tourist areas or resorts can sometimes be LGBTQ+ friendly even when the laws of the country as a whole are very anti-LGBTQ+”.

“To measure LGBTQ+ safety abroad, one cannot look only at data on whether or not same-sex marriage is legal and if anti-LGBTQ+ discrimination laws are in place,” it said.

“It also depends on the general attitude of the culture, minutiae of the legal system, and oppression of LGBTQ+ rights. These issues can affect everything, from your ability to show public displays of affection to being able to share a hotel room bed to the capacity at which you can use dating apps without being caught by the local police.”

In December, the Canadian government issued a travel advisory warning members of the LGBT community to consider the risks of traveling to The Bahamas due to attitudes about homosexuality.

“Bahamian law does not prohibit sexual acts between individuals of the same sex,” the advisory said.

“However, homosexuality is not widely socially accepted.”

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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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