Bahamas upcoming constitutional referendum on gender protection based on one’s sex is forcing a debate much akin to what the United States experienced during 1964 civil rights act enactment. Even with the Obama administration’s efforts transgender people lament daily not being included in that historic law. Ours remains a tenuous position dictated by political winds.
In our 10 years online Planet Transgender has never published an article about Bahama’s trans community. There’s a good reason for that. Like during 1964 in the USA, transgender isn’t yet a word Bahaionians recognize or respect.
But that’s changing.
For the first time in Bahamian history, a group of trans advocates braving the intense transphobic social climate have taken the extraordinary step to come out personally and advocate for their inclusion in all that society offers.
To say that they are putting their lives on the line would be and understatement. Transgender woman Alexus D’Marco spokeswoman for Bahamas Transgender Intersex United(BTI) said in an interview on a local radio show.
“Students are being thrown out of school because they are identifying as transgender,” she said yesterday.
“Schools are saying ‘we don’t want that in here.’ Parents are throwing children out because they are transgender. Ten-year-old children are being kicked out because they are gay, 11-year-olds are being thrown in the streets to be molested and abused. There is a problem in this country,” Ms D’Marco said
Why isn’t there anything in google searches about transgender Bahamas?
An article Planetrans published in 2012 about a Jamacian 16-year-old murdered by a mob on her first day living authentically could have easily taken place in the Bahamas. Except if this had happened in the Bahamas we most likely wouldn’t have heard about it. There are powerful forces that have until now silenced Bahama’s trans community, kept them in the closet out of reach of the Commonwealth’s news sources.
So is amendment four about gay marriage? The group in favor of it Yes Bahama makes it clear it has nothing to do with LGBT people. And if it was, would the local Anglican Diocese and the Roman Catholic Archdiocese give it ‘unequivocal support’?
The Constitutional referendum was initiated in response to a record number of murders, a lack of constitutional protections for women, and a subsequent US State dept report alleging widespread governmental corruption. However, the US State dept report made only two mentions of LGBT people. The first mention was ‘sexual orientation’ in the summary, the other a highly problematic paragraph about a murdered cross-dressing man.
The Bahamian government statement on the 2012 Constitutional Commission Mandate made no mention of LGBT people at all.
…. but people traditionally opposed to change of any kind are rallying against it.
A group of pastors opposed to amendment Four urged voters against being duped by the government’s diabolical plot to allow for same-sex marriage under the guise of gender equality.
As currently worded, bill four seeks to eliminate discrimination in the Constitution based on sex, which has been defined as being “male or female,” by inserting the word “sex” into Article 26.
The pastors associated with Save Our Bahamas have contended that terms “sex” and “being male or female” allows for various interpretations of the phrase.
The group has also agitated for the government to include the words “born male” and “born female” into the fourth bill, according to tribune242 suggesting that the phrases would further provide the necessary protection against same-sex marriage.
Same sex relationships have been legal since 1991 and gay people are allowed to serve in the military and police force but that’s the extent of the LGBT inclusion.
Local sources feel it will most likely to fail at the polls in June because of disinformation and that those most in need are disenfranchised.
“All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and Rights. The Bahamas must respect and Protect All Bahamians” Ms. D’Marco told Planettrans this morning “No matter who or what they are the basic rights as a human should be acknowledged and given to the citizen of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas.”she said