LGBT rights dismissed by candidates

| 28/04/2017 | 25 Comments

(CNS Elections): The issue of equal rights for members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, especially on same-sex marriage or civil partnership, has been dismissed in this election campaign by most candidates when the issue has been raised in debate forums and during interviews. The language used by many people running for office has been derogatory and dismissive about such rights, with many still pushing the idea that the LGBT people who want these rights come from overseas, with local gay people content to put up and shut about their lack of equal rights.

The leader of the CDP, McKeeva Bush, has said he doesn’t believe that the Cayman Island has ever discriminated against people who are gay or transgender. Speaking to Barrie Quappe in an interview for Cayman 27’s new talk show, Cayman Now, he pointed to the importance of religion and the church to him. Bush said the LGBT community here was not “pounced on or beaten up on” and what people did in privacy was their business, but he was not prepared to change “my laws, my culture” for anyone else.

He said for those people who “want to be a gay or a lesbian or have other feelings, Cayman has not done them any harm”, but he firmly believes that God made marriage for a man and a woman.

The opposition leader’s sentiments reflect the comments made by most candidates that have taken part in TV, radio and other debate forums where the issue has been raised. Many don’t seem to recognise that terms such as “these people” and suggestions that they should keep their behaviour hidden is discriminatory. Some candidates also appear to believe that LGBT people are all foreigners that are trying to change Cayman.

But the local LGBT community is made up of many Caymanians and the younger generation is increasingly less inclined to stay behind closed doors and “put up or shut up.”.

Following the shocking things that were said in the LA by Bodden Town MLA Anthony Eden during a debate on his private member’s motion in August 2015 asking government to confirm it would not introduce gay marriage, the LGBT community has become more visible and vocal. Eden has made it clear that he has returned to the campaign trail as an independent, after previously planning to stand down at this election, to defend the country’s Christian heritage.

He left the PPM because the government supported the interpretation of the immigration law by the IAT to allow same-sex dependents on work permits who were legally married in their countries of origin — a step too far for the veteran politician.

While he has not yet appeared on any of the forum debates to engage in discussions with other candidates about this issue, his sentiments appear to be widely supported by a significant number of candidates on the ballot. While one or two have suggested that some rhetoric on this issue has at times gone too far, even those that support the introduction of civil partnerships to afford LGBT people the legal rights enjoyed by married heterosexual couples, have been silent in the face of Cayman’s very powerful anti-gay lobby.

But the gay community in Cayman is no longer silent. While the island is probably another generation away from gay pride parades, the LGBT community is organising itself. Colours Cayman, a local group that began by organising safe spaces for members of the community and to promote equal rights and campaign against discrimination, is elevating its profile.

Billie ‘Bee’ Bryan, who founded the organisation, has launched a new introductory video, where she points out that LGBT people in Cayman still do not feel comfortable coming out because of institutional homophobia. But the organisation is expanding its voice and Bryan said the group is poised “to redefine our cultural views on gender and sexuality, stand up to political corruption and provide support and education for those marginalized by our oppressive society.”

While politicians are pandering to the Christian right, the younger generation has a very different view of LGBT issues. If things are to change, the under 25’s will need to come out and vote, regardless of their sexuality or gender identity to demonstrate that the next generation will not tolerate the levels of discrimination still present in Cayman.

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Category: Election Viewpoint, Uncategorized

Comments (25)

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  1. frangipani says:

    what a tragedy!!!

  2. Unison says:

    My dear, its best you get rid of your ego (to be seen) and your desire for fame, and leave such issues, Al and Eden in God’s hands. Billy there will be a time we will all have the opportunity to stand for our rights. But in the Cayman Islands, the time is not ripe. God is not ready. It is either you walk humbly in God’s timing or you walk alone. Meanwhile, clear your mind and attachments, and just be you!

    *Sorry if I appear offensive. Just saying … because you have your whole life ahead of you, and it would be a waste to chase after talk and smoke.


  3. Anonymous says:

    This whole LGBT thing is a hot mess. The Cayman Islands is a Christian nation and whenever Christians stand up for what they believe is right, others accuse them of hate speech!
    I am a Christian and I admit I am not a scholar or have any experience people that are born with both male and female organs but I believe what the Bible says. Many call it antiquated but just as they want me to respect their beliefs, they need to respect mine.
    The Bible says homosexuality is abomination and those people will not inherit the kingdom of heaven.
    If any of my children told me they were gay, I would still love them but they know I am not going to condone that behaviour. That is not hatred of my children, that is sticking to my beliefs, irrespective of who it is.

    The issue here is does Cayman want to become a melting pot like the United States where people of all different cultures have migrated and the US Government tried to implement laws to appease everybody or does Cayman want to be firm and say this is a Christian nation, whatever you want to do on your bedroom or in private is your business but we are not implementing any laws that encourages and condones behaviour that go against our Christian beliefs.

    This is eroding our morals and values. Next they will be requesting school curriculum to be changed to teach/talk about two mummys or two Daddies.

    Those people who want to indulge in that kind of behavior can go find somewhere else where it is welcomed and is portrayed as normal. It is NOT normal here in the Cayman Islands.

    • Al Catraz says:

      “The Bible says homosexuality is abomination and those people will not inherit the kingdom of heaven.”

      It also says the same thing of other religions. Shall Cayman outlaw those as well?

    • Edgar A. Poe says:

      I am neither for or against LGBT as it is not my right to judge. As for Cayman being a Christian country I disagree 100%. Men and women commit adultery a lot in Cayman but it is not discussed. Bars are open on the Sabbath whether it be Saturday or Sunday despite the Bible saying “remember the sabbath to keep it holy”. There are many more examples and until Cayman begins to clean up ALL that goes against what the Bible teaches Cayman is not nor will be a Christian Nation.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Soon after these elections, this classically myopic regime, and the general public, will learn an economic lesson in how expensive our human and civil rights oversights and assumptions have been – starting with the two PR cases working their way through the court system, surely to be followed by hundreds of similar claims.

    We must now aim to be a society that upholds all of the civil and human rights of our residents and visitors. Regardless of whether we agree or not, whether “they” are Caymanian or visitor, “traditional” or “alien”, “Put up or Shut Up” is not the right attitude in 2017. It’s rude, disrespectful, and frankly, illegal.

    Our Caymanian household is not going to vote for any Candidate that doesn’t understand this loosing policy equation. Maintaining the status quo as the loosing defendant for limitless caseload is a fiscally incompetent position that will cost us. We conform or pay.

  5. Unison says:

    I am not a Christian, but I certainly agree 100% with McKeeva Bush’s remarks. Such as Bush saying to the LGBT community:

    Here in Cayman you are not “pounced on or beaten up on… Cayman has not done [you] any harm” and what people did in privacy was their business, but I am not prepared to change “my laws, my culture” for you!


    • Unison says:

      I stand by those remarks. That is why the two ole timers: McKeeva Bush and Anthony Eden will be getting back in …

      lol … if you don’t believe me, just watch the show ?

    • Anonymous says:

      Really? How soon we forget…

      Poor Swiss banker, Frederic Bise, was raped, bludgeoned, and burned alive! His savage death at the hands of Anglin/Ebanks Caymanians means nothing?

      Massachussetts visitors Aaron Chandler and his partner were forcibly removed/arrested by the very Police charged with protecting them from Royal Palms and berated for holding hands and kissing while dancing on holiday. Attempts were made to intimidate them and suppress their story in the media.

      How about the countless gay/rainbow cruises (dollars) are rerouted or picketed by our gay pouncing religious nuts?

      Lots of other stuff not formally recorded that I’m sure in your perfect revisionist world, you’d like not to concern yourself with.

  6. Rob says:

    This article needs valid sources to substantiate its claims, especially on what it says about the younger generation.

    The author is leading readers to believe that the entire younger generation of Cayman supports gay marriage, which is outright false.

    And gay pride parades here? If you mean those parades where men dance down the streets hugging and kissing on each other wearing nothing but tall boots and fancy briefs, then no thanks.

    I, the passive, silent, non-activist will be the first one out there trying to shut that parade down.

    This ongoing attempt to force change on the Cayman culture is getting ridiculous now.

    • Anonymous says:

      “And gay pride parades here? If you mean those parades where men dance down the streets hugging and kissing on each other wearing nothing but tall boots and fancy briefs, then no thanks.” No lets have them enjoy the carnivals that happen where the women wear almost nothing and grind on anything that moves. Much Much Better -__-

    • Anonymous says:

      A Gay Pride parade certainly could not be more offensive that the debacle that is Carnival. Body parts hanging out for all to see, shaking, grinding, carousing in the streets! But a so call “Christian” nation condones that?
      What is the difference? Please explain it to me! I guess one man’s sin is another man’s pleasure!

  7. Anonymous says:

    Heads in the sand and whilst your asses are in the air they gonna get bitten. Grow a pair and you might actually get young Caymanian votes…

  8. Anonymous says:

    They all seem to be running on old Tony E’s knock-off of our cheeto up north’s campaign slogan…

    “Make Cayman straight again!”

  9. Anonymous says:

    Special Interest group. We have bigger battles. My advice would be to start at the grassroots and bring folks over to your favor. I would infer that many folks on island disapprove of gays.

    • Anonymous says:

      This group is not asking for gay marriages to be consecrated in our churches – the fact is simply that LGBT are already legally entitled to equal acceptance, civil recognition, and protection under ECHR. What we are doing now is conflating ancient divine pretext/hillbilly political populism with current legal obligation, resulting in fertile lawsuit habitat in line with our fiscally-irresponsible political traditions. Expensive dog-headedness that many modern-thinking Caymanians wish to avoid, rather than fuel through ongoing disengagement. The financial consequence will affect us all. It’s time to politely accept LGBT and move on to those bigger battles you elude to.

  10. Anonymous says:

    CNS: you missed the response on this in the GTS forum, All three candidates said they saw no difference between LGBT and the rest of the community. They were not dismissive.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes they did. I was there but there were only Independents present! This has to be noted. They will pick up votes across the GTS as they are not party people. I hope one of them gets elected. I was upset that there were excuses given for the Progressives and CDP. If they don’t show, I don’t hear their answers to the Chamber’s questions. Therefore, I limit my choice.

  11. Anonymous says:

    I am sorry but there is more important issues ….high crime, people without homes, a failing social service system, and unemployment, cruise dock , dump…..lets deal with those please and not someones ‘personal issues’.

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