Categorized | National News

Transgenders Upset

Members of the Bahamas Transgender and Intersexes Unit (BTIU) are asking to be treated with dignity and respect after a press conference was held to raise concerns about their treatment and identity in the Bahamian society.

President and Director of LGBT group The Demarco Foundation Alexis Demarco said members have decided to come to the forefront about the many challenges they face on a daily basis.

She stressed that the BTIU community is not seeking any form of acceptance from society but simply fair treatment.

“We’re not here to push our beliefs on anyone,” she said.

“We are just here to try to get people to understand that we are all humans and would like to be respected as such. The fact is medical support and access to education, jobs, and even being in a school environment are the mere things that this community is looking for. The present referendum does not include BTI issues therefore; same sex marriage is not an issue for us. We just want the basic things that we deserve as Bahamians that we need to function in the Commonwealth.”

Standing with Ms. Demarco was Tory Culmer, a member of the BITU, who also focused on the fact that BTI members “do not care at all for the upcoming Gender Equality Referendum”.

“We want equal rights for all but I’m not here to change people’s perception on what the bills are about,” she said.

“I am demanding respect for who you are. We are not going anywhere anytime soon. Actually, we are growing in numbers and internationally communities are realizing that. We are here and there is nothing the Bahamian people can do about it.”

Felicity “Peaches” Smith, 21, was among members that discussed the turmoil that came along with revealing her “true self” to society; including friends and family.

“I was harassed, tormented and bullied for being who I wanted to be,” she said.

“Everyone wanted to tease me for my sexuality. It’s not okay. They basically chased me out of school. I was unable to finish or graduate. It’s even hard for me to find a descent job at this point being a transgender woman.”

Ms. Demarco called for the government and citizens to hear their cry.

“We’re talking about equality for all in this country,” she said.

“If we are talking about equality we have to go across the board and talk about it for all people. The word is equal. How can you discriminate against one set of people and give the other set of people full rights?”

She said most transgender individuals in the Bahamas do not come forward because of stigma and discrimination.

She criticized the church for not embracing the BIT community “as they are”.

TOP PHOTO- Fashion Designer Alicia Seymour at BITU Press Conference at the British Colonial Hilton

Written by Jones Bahamas

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