Column: Allyship To LGBTQ+ Community

May 17, 2023

Taj Donville-Outerbridge Bermuda June 21 2022

[Opinion column written by Taj Donville-Outerbridge]

“Without community, there is no liberation…” – Audre Lorde

Today, on May 17th, people, communities, companies, charities, and governments around the world recognize and celebrate the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia [IDAHOBIT]. While I can be sure countless individuals, a few charities and some international businesses in Bermuda will recognize this day, I am almost certain this important day will go by as another missed opportunity for the Government of Bermuda to show allyship to the local LGBTQ+ Community.

As has become somewhat of a routine in my articles, I will take this opportunity to once again challenge the leaders of this country that so many LGBTQ+ people call home to do better for us. At the very least, the government could and should make a clear declaration that any and all forms of homophobia, biphobia and transphobia are not welcome in the Bermudian community. I can only hope that one day my pleas will be heard and actioned. However, despite what many believe, chastising the government and its leaders, is not the aim of my writing. I write to educate because as I have said before education is the first, and perhaps most important, step to understanding, respect, and allyship.

So in that spirit…

The International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia [IDAHOBIT] has existed in its current form since 2015 and is officially recognized by over 130 countries worldwide. This campaign was first conceived by Louis-Georges Tin, a French LGBTQ+ activist, in 2004 but wasn’t celebrated until 2005 when numerous international LGBTQ+ related NGOs signed on to officially support the initiative. However, the origins of IDAHOBIT date back to May 17, 1990. On this date the World Health Organization made the monumental decision to officially remove homosexuality as a mental disorder from the International Classification of Diseases. This decision was very significant as it was really the first time any major health governing body recognized LGBTQ+ identities as a normal variation of human existence.

This important day serves as a vital reminder to both recognize how far we have come as a community but also to acknowledge that there is still work to be done to ensure equal treatment and protection for all members of the LGBTQ+ community. In my opinion, this day also provides perhaps the most salient opportunity for radical allyship from both outside and within the LGBTQ+ community.

For individual allies outside the community:

STAND UP. STAND UP for human rights. STAND UP for equity and inclusion. STAND UP for your LGBTQ+ loved ones. After you make the decision to take a stand on the right side of history, here are three things you can do to take your allyship to the next level:

The first and most vital step you can take is to SHOW UP. This is a simple, yet powerful act of allyship, that is often done silently. If your company is holding any events to commemorate this day, show up. If OUTBermuda plans any celebrations for this day, show up.

The second step you can take is to SPEAK UP. This can range from sharing a post on your social media to sending kind messages to the LGBTQ+ people in your life to writing a letter to government petitioning them to do what is right to having conversations with those less supportive of the community.

The third and final step, is to PUT YOUR MONEY UP. Let’s be frank, nothing happens without finances. OUTBermuda needs more funding to support and expand their offerings.

For corporate allies:

While what is mentioned above does also apply to you, I have a few additional notes that I hope the international business community will take heed.

What you are doing is not enough. Sending a companywide email, flying a rainbow flag, holding internal events, and even sponsoring Bermuda Pride is not enough. This was an admirable start but it’s time to move on, it’s time to take your allyship to the next level.

The local LGBTQ+ community needs you start acting outside of the four walls of your company. Holding internal panels filled with often homogenous, non-Bermudian, and upper-middle class voices is only having marginal impact, if any. Community-wide and year-round initiatives with diverse voices is what is needed on that front. I would also argue that your company wide email should instead be a letter sent to the Governor, the Premier, the Cabinet [hopefully published in the media] challenging them to take a stand against homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia. It is time for the international business sector to start using the massive lobbying power they have on this island to do something positive for local Bermudians instead of being used to stop legislation in the name of their own self-interest.

For my LGBTQ+ siblings:

You must be allies too. Yes, being queer is hard enough and our simple existence is a form of activism, but we can no longer pretend that is enough. It is time for us to take a stand not only for our own rights but for the rights of our trans, nonbinary, and intersex siblings who still do not even enjoy the same rights and freedoms that we currently have.

To close, I’d like to reiterate that while we do have a role to play is not the responsibility of the oppressed to free themselves from their own oppression. The burden of addressing and ending homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia should not fall on the shoulders of the LGBTQ+ community alone. As I have said before and will say again, community and solidarity through radical allyship is the only way any of us will ever be free.

- Taj Donville-Outerbridge is an award-winning Bermudian human rights activist and student studying at Kings College London. Most importantly, however, he is human. He can be reached via Instagram @_king.taj_ or via email @

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Comments (37)

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  1. Elio says:

    Thank you for writing this article my friend. As a transexual Bermudian man who has tried to transition in Bermuda that it is barely possible and extremely costly as to be expected not to mention that there is no proper protocol or lays in place to protect trans folks to provide hormone therapy or name change. Thanks to out Bermuda I am in the process of getting my name change but as I said it is a long and costly process. Currently thanks to having Costa Rican citizenship I was able to change my name here and soon start my medical transition. There isn’t even anything written in low for trans folk in Bermuda this must change!

    Elio Hans leader or @transjoybda

  2. Joe Bloggs says:

    “At the very least, the government could and should make a clear declaration that any and all forms of homophobia, biphobia and transphobia are not welcome in the Bermudian community.”

    That would be the same government that went to the Privy Council in order to discriminate against “gay marriage”.

    I doubt you will get what you (justifiably) ask for anytime soon, but my pessimism should not dampen your optimism.

    • Come Correct says:

      Don’t forget to add that every single past OBA leader said NO to same sex marriage. The clowns were in charge and had the chance to vote yes but like CoWards did nothing.

      • saud says:

        …and that just shows how little difference there is between governments. The PLP are JUST LIKE the OBA. You’re all bigots and hypocrites! LOL

    • Mike Hind says:

      Neither of the parties have a good track record with regards to Marriage Equality.

      Let’s not pretend that one is better than the other!

      • Facts says:

        Correct thank you Mike. One party kept it honest with the voters and the other party preferred to remain silent like cowards when in power.

        • saud says:

          One party is proud of their bigotry, the other, a bunch of cowards.

          It’s amazing what torch Bermudians will carry.

  3. Phobia madness says:

    ppl don’t respond well to being told that they must follow all your ideology or else they’re homophobic.

    not everyone who disagrees with you:

    - is a bigot
    - hates you
    - has a phobia
    - is toxic
    - is dangerous

    if some ppl may have treated you in a messed up way, I’m sorry and that’s wrong. but to label everyone who disagrees with you or fails to affirm you in the way you demand is unhelpful.

    it also seems that some ppl are seeking more than acceptance. they demand to be celebrated by everyone “or else…”. this is not how societies work and is not helpful to your cause…or dare I say your own longterm mental health.

    • sandgrownan says:

      Homophobes don’t like being called homophobes.

      More news at ten.

      • Phobia madness says:

        In keeping with your ‘logic’ of resorting to ad hominem attacks on ppl who don’t agree with you, i’m just going to label you as epistemophobic and move along.

        • sandgrownan says:

          Well hold on…the problem is that it’s not about “agreeing with a point of view” or an “ideology”..because it’s not an ideology.

          The request is to accept and treat with respect. If you don’t, then you’re a bigot and homophobe.

          • Question says:

            The problem is that ‘treating with respect’ becomes accepting the idea that trans women are actually women. They aren’t. Therefore they should not expect to be able to use women’s spaces; changing rooms, bathrooms, prisons, and the like. Because they aren’t actually women.

        • Joe Bloggs says:

          “i’m just going to label you as epistemophobic and move along”

          Applying such labels is the very problem.

          Not everyone fits neatly into societal norms.

          Calling a marriage between gay people a “gay marriage” suggests that it is different from what I feel in my (heterosexual) marriage.

          Talking about “gay rights” suggests that gay people are not human and should not have “human” rights.

          I could go on, but I hope my point has been made.

    • Mike Hind says:

      This is exactly the opposite of correct.

      This ends with a weak attempt at tone policing, a sure sign that the position is wrong.

      If you are against equality for the LGBTQ+ community, you are, in fact, a bigot.

      • Question says:

        You can be against trans women sharing real women’s changing rooms, for example, without being a bigot.

    • tucker says:

      Racism, homophobia and xenophobia are what powers the PLP and its base.

      Not really something to brag about, but at least the rest of the world can see your hypocrisy….probably why your tourism numbers are down, and IB is poised to leave.

      • Tucker Truth says:

        Must be the same racism the OBA uses when fronting a black man to lead a 98% white party. Also stop changing the name that doesn’t work anymore..You can’t even deny the facts. Now go your cowardly party lose the next election muppet.

        • Joe Bloggs says:

          “Must be the same racism the OBA uses when fronting a black man to lead a 98% white party.”

          Are you suggesting that no black person should ever be the leader of the OBA?

          “Also stop changing the name that doesn’t work anymore”

          The OBA does NOT represent the ideals of the BDA, so the name change is appropriate.

          • Truth says:

            Everyone on the island and off the island knows that the OBA aka UBP is a white party that only fronts black faces for political gain. It’s the same old games played time and time again. Which is the very reason you continue to fail. Jarion will be fronted next.

            • Joe Bloggs says:

              I don’t continue to fail. I am not a member of the OBA and never have been.

            • saud says:

              Everyone on and off this island knows that the PLP is an undereducated, racist, xenophobic and extremely homophobic party, that has put the “jewel” under $6 BILLION in debt.

              Why are you so proud of your bigotry? You’re no better then the white people you hate so much.

        • tucker says:

          LOL….you get so angry when presented with facts. Poor thing.

  4. Jae says:

    Nah bro. We’ve seen where this road leads.

    • Mike Hind says:

      Have you? Would you care to elaborate? Or is this just another pathetic, nebulous “slippery slope” argument with nothing to back it up whatsoever?

      • Question says:

        It leads to, for example, Nicola Sturgeon, trying to defend convicted rapists being housed in women’s prisons on the basis they claimed to be a woman.

        • Celeste says:

          This exactly! I have compassion for people with gender dysphoria but according to some people on here, we have to play pretend and deny science or else we are ‘hateful’. If someone wants to identify that way I have no issue with it. But when we all have to play along and totally redefine basic biologically to cater to them…nope. I want to maintain safe spaces for biological women, but nowadays that makes me a hateful bigot. How ridiculous. That is a really immature way to interact with people. If you say anything I don’t like or anything I disagree with, I can just block my ears and call you a hater and a bigot??? Mmm OK. SMH. And some of these same people want to let young children make irreversible decisions about their body. Sick!!!

          • sandgrownan says:

            Be careful, this is science, not a random choice. We know that while most of us reside at one end of a male/female spectrum, it is accepted that sexuality and gender is a spectrum albeit affecting a minority of the population.

            You need to strike a balance between acceptance and respect, and healthy dose of common sense. Nicola Sturgeon had too much of one and not enough of the other.

            • Question says:

              I disagree about Sturgeon. She has no respect whatsoever for women’s rights, and no acceptance of their reasonably-held views.

              Live how you want, dress however you want, have sex with whoever you want. But do jot seek to infiltrate women’s legal sex based protected spaces, or expect everyone to endorse extreme and unscientific views.

              • sandgrownan says:

                October 2018 study published in The Scientific American.

                Sex Redefined: The Idea of 2 Sexes Is Overly Simplistic – Biologists now think there is a larger spectrum than just binary female and male

                But your other comment is valid.

    • saud says:

      Nothing wrong with being gay…good of you to come clean, you’ll lead a much happier life now :)

  5. Jonah Jones says:

    Thank you for articulating your knowledge, experience and articulating how we can support andr assist.
    From someone on the sidelines who is learning, sympathetic and supportive.
    Jonah Jones

  6. Question says:

    He wants to us take a stand against bigots and phobias, but has no trouble casting a slur against those with “non-Bermudian, upper class voices”.
    The usual bigoted double-standard.

    • Mike Hind says:

      A weak attempt at cherry picking, made worse by the mischaracterization of what was said.

      • Question says:

        Why did he even mention the “Non-Bermudian upper class voices” then.

        • Burt says:

          …because he was raised as a racist, like the rest of them.