The first GLBT Pride event to be organized in The Bahamas came to a premature end after an organizer received death threats, local newspaper The Nassau Guardian reported on Sept. 1.
The event was originally planned to run from Friday, Aug. 29, through Tuesday, Sept. 2. An array of activities and services, including HIV testing, was on the schedule. But in the face of hostile anti-gay reactions from the press and public, the event ended early, the article said. Particularly odious were talk shows, in which commentators expressed the belief that divine punishment would descend on The Bahamas if gay themed event were allowed to take place.
Police remained vigilant during what events did take place, to ensure that violence would not erupt, but organizer Victor Rollins received death threats via Facebook after posting photos of himself with a Pride flag.
The fear of reprisal ran so deep among Bahamian LGBTs, Rollins indicated, that not a single local person of sexual minority status attended to events -- only organizers and about a dozen foreigners. "Everyone is scared," Rollins told the Nassau Guardian. "But that's normal for this type of thing."
Normal in the Bahamas and other Caribbean states, that is; though homosexuality is not illegal in The Bahamas -- JoeMyGod noted in a posting on the story that The Bahamas decriminalized being gay in 1991 -- anti-gay sentiment is rampant among Caribbean nations like The Bahamas and Jamaica.
The Pride events were designed to remain low-key, being scheduled to take place at the private Viva Wyndham Fortuna Beach Resort. Rollins said that reports of a planned Pride parade were inaccurate. "It was a private event at a private resort," Rollins said. "All that stuff about marching and a parade, that was never the issue."
Rollins also said that the event was intended to offer a spiritual component.
"It was supposed to be coordinated with different ministries, but that all of that was canceled," Rollins said.
Though LGBT residents of The Bahamas may encounter anti-gay animus, the Caribbean state seems willing enough to accept pink cash from tourists. The Bahamas remains a popular destination for gays and lesbians looking for a warm and sunny getaway, according to gaytravel.com.
"The Bahamas is increasingly gay-friendly," text at gaytravel.com says. "Although full protection is not yet enshrined in law, there is still a groundswell of public support for equal rights for all people. Many LGBT people visit or live here, and while the country once had strict anti-homosexuality laws, things are changing fast!"