The assault on a same-sex couple on the basis of their sexual orientation has galvanised the LGBTQ+ community in Cayman into action. Billie "Bee" Bryan, Founder & President of Colours Caribbean, confirmed last week that she intended to follow up with the Premier, the RCIPS and the Governor’s Office imminently to discuss what more government and political leaders as well as her organisation could do to reduce discrimination and harm towards Cayman’s LGBTQIA+ community.
“On behalf of our entire organisation, I would like to extend our deepest apologies and support to the same-sex couple that was assaulted last week on the basis of their sexual orientation,” Ms Bryan said. “Although the Cayman Islands, regrettably, lacks any formal legislation specifying which criminal acts would be considered “hate crime,” that is clearly what this incident should be observed as and no one in our LGBTQIA+ community should ever have to be subjected to it.”
Colours Caribbean strives to foster a safe and comfortable social environment for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, intersex and others outside of the gender binary in the Cayman Islands, championing a message of being “visibly strong” in the face of the many dangerous beliefs that permeate, she said.
“Unfortunately, despite all of the progress we’ve made, it is painfully evident that there is still much work to be done,” Ms Bryan confirmed. “There are still many who do not feel comfortable displaying acts of affection with their partners in public for fear of assault or harassment. Worse yet, many do not even feel comfortable reporting acts of assault or harassment to the police or other persons of authority when they do happen for fear of being ignored or facing further abuse and stigma.”
As a result, Ms Bryan stated that those identifying as LGBTQIA+ often had no choice but to remain silent, else risk creating an unsafe environment at their place of work or losing their employment entirely.
“This is why we must step up and take action,” she said.
As well as hoping to meet with officials, Ms Bryan was also pushing for the UK Government to take action against homophobia, biphobia and transphobia across the region by instituting proper legal protections that are long overdue.
“Meanwhile, I implore anyone who has more information on the incident of assault against the same-sex couple to go directly to the RCIPS or communicate with Colours Caribbean confidentially,” said. “Lastly, I’d like to encourage anyone who feels they or someone they know is at risk or unsafe because of their gender identity or sexual orientation to contact me or our organisation for support. We are ready and willing to help and more than likely can provide you with the resources you need.”