Ay, Dun…safe? Good. Pure (lots of) madness transpired over this past week, and sure as my grenny’s fishcakes are mug, gay marriage is the hot topic yet again. We wish that giving people basic human rights wasn’t this complicated, we really do, but it’s a debate enveloped in so much dogma, fear, selfishness and ignorance that it demands special attention as a cultural paradigm: Bermuda has a gay problem. Now let’s venture down the rabbit hole, shall we?
Last Thursday during an interview with “Issues” host Richard Smith on local TV, Opposition Leader Marc Bean channeled his inner Republican to promote a slew of paranoid, disproven talking points about the “dangers” of gay marriage. Awkward and insensitive enough to provoke an official response from the Rainbow Alliance Of Bermuda, the comments sounded more suited to Rick Santorum or Newt Gingrich than a man claiming to lead a socially progressive political party. A few gems from the interview:
“Historically if you look at the gay rights agenda, at who created it and who financed it, then you will recognise that its purpose is to turn civilisation upside down and upon its head”
“It’s clear is that it [being gay] has a psychological component, meaning that man has made his choice”
the “agenda of same-sex marriage” represents “an attack on the foundation of civilisation and on life itself, and that’s the family unit”
Fire and Brimstone, inna? Such rhetoric almost sounds satirical, but it reflects a problematic national mindset that transcends racial/political lines and all comes down to religion. Hell (pun intended), it was only about a month ago that our Premier told us gay marriage would never happen under his leadership, speaking it as if we should be relieved. It seems that on a collective level, we’re so scared to confront our personal views about something things that make us uncomfortable (gay marriage, and consequently, gay sex), that we’d prefer to live in blissful ignorance and pretend it never happens. Following Mr. Bean’s interview, local blogger and former political candidate Jonathan Starling had an excellent piece published in Bernews framing one’s right to marry whomever they want in the way it should be: as a moral issue. I mean cheekums, even the fleppin Queen of England said just the other day, “um kewl with bredrens marrying their ace boys and sistrens marrying gyal dem”, giving her royal seal of approval to a recently passed bill legalizing gay marriage throughout England. Bigups to QE2 for taking a progressive stance on a defining social issue, and for being a safe grenny overall! (((Bermp)))
Those passionate about mental health and frustrated with the stigmas surrounding it would do well to check out The Sun’s recent piece by Bermudian actor Liana Hall, who’s written a beautiful, gut-wrenchingly candid essay about her personal struggles with depression, anxety and Bipolar II disorder. As strong mental health awareness advocates, we believe that publicly sharing stories like this is the most effective way to dispel social hangups surrounding the issue, and that Ms. Hall’s bravery should be commended.
In the OBA/PLP drama of the week, it was recently revealed that the Premier hired another consultant, Mr. Don Grearson, to act as his advisor/speechwriter. We don’t even really know where to start with this one. While God knows Mr. Cannonier could use help in avoiding future public gaffes, it seems mind-boggling that he or the OBA wouldn’t have expected to catch scrutiny for this. This is a party whose criticism of the “friends and family plan” style of Governance was a relentless talking point leading up to the election, and considering Mr. Grearson’s close ties to both the OBA campaign and the Royal Gazette (he was a former editor), it looks suspicious whether well-intentioned or not. Here’s hoping it’s $105,000 per year well spent…de people are watching.
That’s about it…thanks for reading, Bermy! If enough transpires over the next week, we’ll be back again faster than you can say “Somerset is mug!”*
* This has been proven by scientists in all fields.
Image Credit: Charlottesville Brazilian Jujitsu & Muay Thai