Rally For Equal Rights & Against Homophobia

May 23, 2011

equal rights justice male femaleThis coming Wednesday [May 25] a rally will be held from 1-2pm at City Hall, with an aim at encouraging officials to include sexual orientation in the Human Rights Act.

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.”

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Comments (10)

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  1. Truth says:

    There needs to be better definition around what it entials for all interested parties, if and when sexual orientation is added to the HRA. I am in agreement, that discrimination towards homosexuals has no place in employment, hotel stays or any other matter of public importance. I do draw a line when it conflicts with what I believe with respect my personal space. By way of example, I will not rent my place to homosexuals. Not because I hate them or that I am afraid in some way but because it conflicts with what I believe. No hard feelings at all but the answer is no. I should have the right to make that decision because it is my place and really it is of no public importance, without being persecuted in a court of law. This is where clarity is needed. People need to better understand what 2 words and comma translates into, in their personal lives. I am not against the inclusion but there needs to be limitations with respect to infringing on a persons individual beliefs.

  2. What's the Difference? says:

    I see where you are coming from, but I’m not sure I see how that is different from saying, for example: I won’t rent my place to whites, Christians, seniors, etc because it is my personal space and my choice.

    • None says:

      You’re right Whats the Difference. If it’s your property, you have a choice as to whom you can rent it to period. Let’s not let our society be arounded like others by taking away personal liberties. I believe all should be treated with respect regardless of race, creed, educational accomplishment, gender and the like. You still have the right to raise your children and instill the morals you see fitting to your children. BTW unless we include age and handicapp in the human rights act, homosexuality doesnt stand a chance-that’s my opionion!

    • Truth says:

      Its a fair question. The reality is that people discriminate all the time. For example, landlords “discriminate” against renting to;

      Young People
      old People
      Muslims etc etc.

      They just lie about it. I am of the opinion that I shouldn’t have to lie about my reasons for fear of being prosecuted. There ought to be room for disagreeing with a certain lifestyle without being labeled a homophobe or a bigot. Everyone doesn’t fit into that box, although some do.

      • MIA says:

        Your comments are ignorant and old fashioned. Your are basing one aspect of a person on their entire living situation, its silly and economically speaking its bad business skills. I suppose whatever you believe in makes you feel that you do not agree with a certain lifestyle but that is what makes you a horrible judgmental person. Your view of the world is skewed and you represent a lifestyle that is dated and does not include everyone. Think this, if we were not allowed to leave the house because we would offend someone we would all be stuck in the house. Yes you are saying you don’t want them on your property but I don’t think people want someone like you even walking the streets with a mind like yours.

        • Truth says:

          Everyone is guilty of a degree of discrimination, even you, and sometimes it is appropriate to do so. I won’t rent my places to drug dealers, couples who aren’t married, people who aren’t working etc etc. These are all forms of discrimination (just in case you didn’t realize that) and EVERYONE DOES IT in different areas of their lives ….even you. We call it by different names at times but it is all rooted in “discrimination”. A big difference between you and I is that I have admitted my bias. You have them as well, you are just being dishonest about it. Ironically, you have accused me of being a” judgmental person” (a typical knee jerk reaction) not realizing that you have just judged me a “horrible judgemental person”. It’s funny that you didn’t see that.

          Ill tell you what is outdated and ignorant. Empty, emotional rants that do nothing to move a conversation forward torward real progression, such that you offered.

  3. Suzanne Mayall says:

    @ Truth – the Human Rights Act does support your desire to discriminate when renting apartments under certain conditions. The Human Rights Act provides protection in the areas of housing, employment and the provision of public services. However, there is exemption under the Act if you are a landlord living on a property of less than three dwelling units. The addition of sexual orientation as a protected category would have the same restrictions.

    • Truth says:

      Thank you for the information. As I stated above, I am in support of adding the words and a comma to the act but I, and I think many others, need clarity around what this means in real life. Thank you very much for the information.

    • Bible Scholar says:

      Thank you Ms Mayall for clarity around this issue. “Truth” is right, we all judge and discriminate in some way or another. I, for example, will not rent to smokers. I also expect all tenants, hetero or homosexual to be discrete and private in their expressions of love. However, if my child should have seen two people of the same sex holding hands or kissing, I would simply say that they love each other. I am grateful my parents brought me up to be tolerant and I tried to do the same with my children. Marlo Thomas had a wonderful book back in the ’70s entitled “Free to Be You and Me.” Wish it were still around. Wish more of my contemporaries had read it.

  4. db says:

    Good day all, i understand what you are all saying and you all have have good points. But at the same time what about our rights as straight people. Let me first say it took me years to accept people being gay and go respect them. Growing up when it was really hard for them, i mean you would get beat up for wearing pink and calling some a f%$ot.But My point is that i feel my rights are being attacked when i cant say who i want in my apartment. I don’t want my son to man or women in my back yard kissing or making out. This will confuse my son in the messed up world as it is. Another example i go to the emergency room and a gay man asks me to take my clothes off in front of him for an exam. I would fill so uncomfortable that i would ask for someone else. Lets be real about all this and at the same time we will all be judged come judgement day.