The event launched as a Facebook event ‘Home is Where the Hatred Is‘, with Krystl Assan speaking of discrimination she says she encountered at a local guest house, which the owner denied.
Ms Assan has stressed that the rally is not actually about that incident, or any in particular, it is more aimed at the wider matter of “encouraging widespread acknowledgement of homophobia as a relevant social concern, and to encourage officials to implement legal protection from discrimination.”
Ms Assan said, “I am writing to clarify that the rally, which is taking place on Wednesday May 25, is aimed at encouraging officials to include sexual orientation in the Human Rights Act. It has never been – and should never become – an event about castigating any individual or individuals.”
“With sexual orientation in the Human Rights Act, all individuals involved in a human rights dispute would have have the opportunity to discuss their grievances in the context of a formal process mediated by experienced, objective parties. Only with this process in place can all parties experience justice and resolution.”
“My hopes for the rally are simple: to encourage widespread acknowledgement of homophobia as a relevant social concern, and to encourage officials to implement legal protection from discrimination.”
“There has been overwhelming support for the rally, and such a show of solidarity affirms that many Bermudians support equality based on common humanity. I look forward to seeing you on Wednesday.”
The issue of sexual orientation not being included in the Human Rights Act has been addressed before. On 26 May 2006, then-MP Renee Webb brought before the House of Assembly a Private Members Bill to add sexual orientation as a protected grounds of discrimination under the Human Rights Act. The bill did not pass.
Ms Webb has posted her support on the Facebook page, saying “I remember how long it has been since we worked together on the “Two Words and a Comma” campaign to have the words “sexual orientation,” included in the Human Right Act once my Bill failed to get support in Parliament, that was in 2005! 2011, and a City Hall gathering for equal rights on the same issue. I am proud of your stand. I will off Island, but with you in spirit.”
Former MP Quinton Edness also posted on the Facebook page, saying, “You will know I have supported amending the Human Rights Act to include protection of sexual orientation for a long time. It is long overdue. You have my support.”