Barbados: PRIDE that makes no wanton boast

Editors, Barbados Today

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” – Martin Luther King Jr., “Letter from the Birmingham Jail”

There is pride. And then there is pride.

There is “the pride that makes no wanton boast of what it has withstood/ that binds our hearts from coast to coast/ the pride of nationhood” – as our national anthem extols. There is the pride supposedly self-evident in the motto on our coat of arms – Pride and Industry.

There is pride, too, that cometh before a fall; baseless, needless, self-righteous, arrogance, a sense of superiority, exceptionalism, the fruits of which are prejudice and discrimination.

And there is the pride, too, of accepting, embracing and even rejoicing in, differences.

Last month, the pride of several of our citizens in expressing the love that for far too long dare not speak its name, was on national display during what was PRIDE Month.

In Barbados and elsewhere in our globe, scores, then hundreds, then thousands, then millions marched in public to demonstrate their lack of shame and disgrace for choosing to love who they love. And we are proud of them as much as we are increasingly proud that our nation continues to grow up, with yet more tolerance, acceptance, and sisterly and brotherly love of the other.

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transexual and other-gendered people (LGBT+) have for too long worn in this country a scarlet letter that sets them apart from the mainstream of our society, denied in many instances the full fruits of citizenship.

Many of us, in our private places, religious places and workspaces have practised discrimination, prejudice, hatred, fear, ostracism, cruelty and ignorance against people who mostly through no active choice or active malice on their part, find themselves loving who they love.

Perhaps, as racism is the original sin of a once enslaving nation, homophobia is the enduring sin of modern Barbados. We posit that homophobia harms so-called straight people as much as it does LGBT+ people; for no one who enters into an oppressive environment escapes unscathed. Read more via Barbados Today