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Canada issues warning to LGBTI people thinking of travelling to the Bahamas

Canada issues warning to LGBTI people thinking of travelling to the Bahamas

The Canadian government has issued a warning to LGBTI travelers who are considering visiting the Bahamas.

The warning states that LGBTI tourists should be wary of the anti-LGBTI sentiments in the Carribean nation.

The warning states that ‘LGBTQ2 travelers should carefully consider the risks of traveling to The Bahamas [where] homosexual­ity is not widely accepted’.

‘A reasonable advisory to LGBTQ Canadians’

Erin Greene and Alexus D’Marco, two Bahamian LGBTI rights activists, spoke out in support of the Canadian government’s warning to LGBTI people considering visiting the Bahamas.

‘As an advocate on the ground, I think it’s fair warning, I think considering travel culture generally, I am not concerned that Canada would have issued this advisory,” Greene told local newspaper, Tribune242.

‘[Generally] I think it is a sound, a reasonable advisory to LGBTQ Canadians. I am not offended or concerned that Canada has decided to issue this advisory,’ she added.

‘We should acknowledge that LGBT people do exist in The Bahamas that they have been stigmatized and discriminated against. They’ve been used in voluntary attacks even through political statements,’ D’Marco said.

‘There is no trust when it comes to the police. That’s another reason why they don’t trust the police because when they go to the police station, they are in a same-sex relationship and the police says to them “well if you weren’t like this wouldn’t have happened to you, sit over there,” and they make them sit there for hours and no reports are filed nothing like that so there is no trust,’ D’Marco added.

Widespread homophobia

Homosexuality is not banned in the Bahamas, as is the case in other Commonwealth countries.

However, conservative religious groups, which teach that homosexuality is decadent and sinful, are highly influential in the Christian-majority country.

As a result, many of the Bahamas’ politicians have been unwilling to supporting pro-LGBTI legislation and often turn a blind eye to the widespread homophobia.

In the past, there have been several high-profile instances of discrimination and harassment of both LGBTI citizens and tourists in the Caribbean state.

In 2017, a gay American tourist was badly beaten in a homophobic attack at a carnival.

Adrian Brown suffered lacerations to his head after being hit with a bottle and a rock by two assailants in an unprovoked attack. The men also verbally abused Brown with homophobic insults.

But in recent years, there have been moves make the Bahamas more LGBTI-friendly, including from the business sector.

In 2016, The Caribbean Tourism Organization UK hosted a seminar discussing how businesses could reach the LGBTI tourism market throughout the Caribbean.