Bermuda Pride: a moment of reflection
Bermudians must stop “cherry-picking” on human rights, an activist said at the weekend.
Linda Bogle-Mienzer said in the black community, she could not “bring my gay self”.
But she added: “In the LGBT community, which is predominantly white, I cannot bring my black self. And in the male-dominated community, they would prefer it if I did not bring my entire womanhood.
Ms Bogle-Mienzer was speaking at Bermuda Pride’s “Moment of Reflection” event on the steps of Hamilton’s City Hall on Saturday night.
She said: “When we begin to talk about causes in these communities, we cannot be single-focused because many people, like myself, are a part of all these communities as a single entity. I fit into all these communities. We can’t cherry-pick around what equality and equity looks like.”
Ms Bogle-Mienzer, who represented Citizens Uprooting Racism in Bermuda, said: “If we want equality as black people, then we must also want it for gay people. Also, if we want it for gay people, we must also fight for it for black people.”
Ms Bogle-Mienzer added: “We have a moral responsibility to talk about race in LGBT circles and sexuality in our black circles.”
She said: “I will continue to stand for equality and equity for all.”
She was joined on the podium by Adrian Hartnett-Beasley, the chairman of LGBT charity OutBermuda, and Lisa Reed, the executive officer of the Human Rights Commission.
Mr Hartnett-Beasley said: “In these last few months, we have seen the island truly pull together in unprecedented ways — in the truly humbling sight of 7,000 people marching in solidarity with Black Lives Matter, but also as Bermuda continues to face the economic blowback from Covid-19 shutdowns.”
He added the pandemic and the economic crisis it brought in its wake had “a disproportionate effect on LGBTQI+ communities around the world, including queer youth forced to quarantine with abusive or unsupportive family members”.
Mr Hartnett-Beasley said: “I want to offer support to anyone who has been forced to stay put in an unsafe place or to seek refuge outside their homes or even off the island. We want you to know that you are not alone.”
He added: “Let today be a reminder for all of Bermuda, that the LGBTQI+ community is right there with you.
“We are looking after loved ones, responsibly wearing our masks and watching the test numbers as they are released, just like everybody else.
“Like you, we are out exploring the lesser-known beaches and shopping locally. In this global pandemic, we really are in this together.”
The event was held on the seventh anniversary of the addition of “sexual orientation” to the Human Rights Act — which outlawed discrimination on the grounds of sexuality.
Ms Reed said: “The significance of the 2013 amendment cannot be overstated. Its inclusion in the Human Rights Act strengthened not just legal remedies and recognition for the LGBTQI+ community, but all of the protected categories.
“The expanded protection enhanced Bermuda’s human rights framework as a whole and fortified our stated commitment to the fundamental rights and freedoms of all members of our community.”
She added the pandemic had “laid bare the stark inequities we have allowed in our community. Suspension of so-called ‘normal life’ has forced us to face the reality of the privilege and marginalisation that surrounds us”.
Ms Reed said: “Most significantly for Bermuda, the Black Lives Matter movement in the United States has served as a catalyst to face our own racial justice reckoning.
“The systematic implementation of racism was central to Bermuda’s founding, so it necessarily follows that the pursuit of its dismantling is central to our future.”
About 50 people attended the event, which was given the go-ahead by Government on Friday on condition it lasted for just 30 minutes and be attended by no more than 150 people.
A spokesman for the organisers said the gathering was “Pandemic Pride”.
He added: “I think people saw that we were being limited to having so few people at the event, and just thought ‘I’ll never get in’ and decided to watch it online.”
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