OTTAWA — Canada is warning LGBTQ travellers about the risk of homophobia while visiting The Bahamas.
The advisory, which was posted on the Government of Canada’s website on Dec. 20, 2018, states: “Bahamian law does not prohibit sexual acts between individuals of the same sex. However, homosexuality is not widely socially accepted. LGBTQ travellers should carefully consider the risks of travelling to The Bahamas.”
Homosexuality has been legal on the island since 1991 but widespread discrimination still occurs.
The travel advisory was supported by LGBTQ activities based in The Bahamas – Erin Greene and Alex D’Marco – who told local newspaper Tribune 242 that they understood where Canada was coming from. Greene called it a “sound, a reasonable advisory” while D’Marco noted how LGBT Bahamians “can’t advance in their career” and have no access to marriage, hormones and medications. She also said that LGBTQ people can’t rely on the police for help in times of need.
In August, Global News reported on a couple who fled The Bahamas and came to Canada seeking asylum. Lex Miller and his partner Ralanda Mitchell, a transgender woman, said they experienced intimidation from landlords, co-workers and family members while living in The Bahamas.
“You have situations where you can be walking in the street in your own community and people can taunt you, throw rocks at you, beat you up,” Miller told Global News. “As a gay person that’s a Bahamian…it’s not as sweet and nice as it appears.”