If you thought the ongoing discriminatory practices against transgender people currently being imposed in the United States are bad, they are a mere shadow of the human rights atrocities that continue to happen in countries outside of North America. The current example of how to dehumanize transgender people is taking place in the Bahamas, to wit, Tall Pines MP Leslie Miller demanding that transgender people be exiled, in the name of his version of God.
An upcoming referendum, scheduled for June 7th, has brought a number of issues to the attention of the public. Question four of the constitutional amendment referendum, “the gender equality referendum,” will ask Bahamian voters to eliminate discrimination based on sex in the Bahamas Constitution by inserting the word “sex” into Article 26.
Now, given that gender equality tends to frighten the socks off of men in some societies, this could be part of the reason that the fringe types are yelling loudly about the horrors that are due to befall them should this be allowed to pass. And, of course, they have a target in their transgender and gender non-conforming citizens.
In response to the ever louder rhetoric and threats, a new organization was formed, the Bahamas Transgender, Intersex United (BTIU). On April 26th, they launched their equality campaign, “Bahamian Trans Lives Matter.” What this group is asking for is quite simple, equal access to education, healthcare, and employment without discrimination or transphobia.
Lead spokesperson for BTIU, Alexus D’Marco, says that people of the transgender and intersex communities along with those of the wider LGBT community are forced to endure socially-accepted discrimination and other behaviours. For more of Ms. D’Marco’s remarks, please see the articles linked at the end of this column.
This is not difficult people. All human beings deserve to have equal rights and protection under the law, in every corner of the world.
Within a week of the BTIU press conference, Bahamas MP Miller stepped up with his total condemnation of all peoples of the LGBTQ communities, and his demand that transgender and intersex people should be forced into exile to save the existence of the heterosexual population of the Bahamas. Speaking for his God and his version of Christianity, Mr. Miller has said that he prays for his God to end the world.
Okay. Time to talk to some people with more than just a passing familiarity with all aspects of this.
I first spoke with Rev. Dr. Cheri DiNovo, Ontario NDP MPP, Parkdale-High Park, the NDP’s LGBTQ Issues Critic and an activist for over 40 years:
“This is yet another ‘Christian’ using the bible in away in which it was not intended. Jesus said nothing against homosexuality or Transgender people. Among the very first Christian converts in the New Testament (Acts 8.26-40) is someone who we would consider gender non-conforming (and thus under the Trans umbrella of gender identities) in today’s times.
What Mr. Miller is doing is prooftexting. Take a line here or there and use it out of context to further your own purposes. When you read the book of the Bible these lines are pulled from, the intent is entirely different than the section quoted to prove a point of hatred. What Mr. Miller is doing is hateful and discriminatory.”
I next asked Transgender Human Rights Activist Rachel Lauren Clark for her opinion on Mr. Miller’s claims:
“With regards to the unfortunate comment from Mr Miller concerning the status of Transgender people in the Bahamas, I can only express my surprise that some places in the world continue to embrace colonialism, despite decrying it publicly. There is very little to no theology denouncing third gender people who existed all over the Bible. Even Christ himself acknowledged and uplifted third gendered people (Matthew 19:12). Therefore, his rather dull and uneducated monologue is only exacerbated by his radical and hate-filled solution to his latent hangups concerning his sexuality. As someone who is educated in theology on a post graduate level, I decry Mr Miller’s comments and remind him of the radical inclusion of Jesus Christ who never rejected anyone for who they were.”
And, to add one more expert opinion to our discussion, I spoke with Michael Coren, best-selling author of the new book, Epiphany – A Christian’s Change of Heart and Mind Over Same-Sex Marriage:
“As a Christian I find it obscene that people use God’s name to try to justify hatred and cruelty. This proposal is particularly repugnant and stinks of the policies of 1930s and 40s fascism. Now I will use God’s name: God forgive him!”
Requests for comments from Bahamian government representatives were still unanswered at press time.
Apparently the lessons being taught to anti-Trans legislators in the United States are not being paid attention to. Should Mr. Miller wish to take the Bahamas down the path that North Carolina, Mississippi, and other towns and cities have taken, the government may find that their tourism dollars rapidly disappear, as well as paying other economic penalties for openly promoting discriminatory practices against their own citizens.
U.S. Republicans, other fanatics, fringe evangelicals and those who promote hatred of identifiable minority groups; when will people stop listening to their crazed ravings? I would expect that the intelligence quotient level of the human race has risen over the past few millennia, not declined. When you examine these issues through the lens of logical thought, it is proven to be scapegoating and discrimination. What seems to be missing is the concept that all beings on this planet are human too, no matter what other identifiers or labels are adopted or applied.
I am disappointed that such things are a daily constant in the media feeds that I see. And the body count continues to rise the more that we allow such people as the MP from the Bahamas to continue to preach their message of hatred, as transgender people continue to be targeted for homicide in every part of the world.
We must do better. We can do better. The future of humanity depends on all of us. Before you speak, ask yourself if you will inspire love, not hate.
Here are the links to articles referenced above, plus a truly excellent article written by Colin Stewart of Erasing 76 Crimes: