Intolerance biggest problem in gay community, activist says – The Royal Gazette

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Created: May 20, 2022 2:48 p.m.

Taj Donville-Outerbridge (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

Tackling a culture of homophobia is key to keeping young people in Bermuda, according to an LGBTQ+ activist.

Taj Donville-Outerbridge, 22, said public intolerance was one of the biggest problems – and one that could not be entirely solved by laws – facing gay and transgender Bermudians.

He added that Bermuda had lost “some of its most talented people” because many LGBTQ+ people felt unsafe and chose to leave.

Mr Donville-Outerbridge was speaking after married gay couples spent nine weeks in the dark about the legal status of their unions after the Privy Council sided with the government on same-sex marriage.

The government, which has argued that marriage should be limited to being between a man and a woman, has not made a decision on whether same-sex marriages entered into during the four-year legal battle will be annulled or not. .

Mr Donville-Outerbridge said: “Even if same-sex marriages were allowed, LGBTQ+ people would still leave Bermuda.

“The law means something to a defined group of people, yes, but for the whole LGBTQ+ community – for the young queer boy in high school who is bullied and tormented because of his identity – I don’t know. not if that means anything to him directly.

“He will always be faced with teachers who cannot help him and guidance counselors who offer him no support because they have not been trained to deal with LGBTQ+ people or it goes to against their faith.”

He added: “Some of us stay, either because we have no choice financially or because we are willing to work to fight, but many have left.

“Bermuda has probably lost some of its most talented people because LGBTQ+ people don’t feel safe in Bermuda.”

Mr Donville-Outerbridge hoped the government would still recognize the weddings as legal, but admitted ‘they have no real legal obligation to’.

He added: “I hope they take this as an opportunity to focus on social progression.

Mr Donville-Outerbridge, who studies at King’s College London, said he would return to Bermuda regardless of the government’s decision – but added that many young LGBTQ+ Bermudians did not feel the same way.

He explained, “Bermuda isn’t necessarily the most nurturing environment for LGBTQ+ youth and adults, so I’m sure it will affect negatively if LGBTQ+ people decide to stay in Bermuda.”

Mr Donville-Outerbirdge challenged the government and the public to “turn words into action” and ensure young LGBTQ+ people feel safe on the island.

He said, “There are still people who are tormented for being LGBTQ+, so I’d like to see OutBermuda, Pride Bermuda and the government all focused on trying to push some social progression or social acceptance.”

Mr Donville-Outerbridge added: ‘When I say ‘meaningful action’ I mean ensuring that educators know that they are going to be dealing with LGBTQ+ people and that they cannot avoid it, and that ‘they must do all they can to be well informed about such identities.

“It’s about making sure that sex education is comprehensive and inclusive and includes the sexual health needs of gay people and clarifies hormones and gender identity and all those things that should be taught in a sex education comprehensive, which I don’t think any school in Bermuda has yet.”

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