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LETTERS Don't boycott the boycott
2018-02-28

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Dear Editor:

Bermuda became first in the world to legalize and then revoke same-sex marriage. Same-sex couples no longer have equal rights to marry and are only able to access a civil union.

This ruling is a step backwards for equality.

However in response to this decision a misguided reaction is unfolding — a call to #BoycottBermuda. The online campaign is spearheaded mainly by people in the United States and Europe, who believe that a tourism boycott will show the Bermudian government that repealing same-sex marriage was a mistake.

To be clear, the demand for this boycott is not coming from grass-roots organizations in Bermuda. In fact, LGBTIQ Bermudians are coming out against the boycott.

This campaign stands to hurt rather than help the LGBTIQ community in Bermuda. This boycott, in line with almost all boycotts that do not start locally, is uninformed and ill-advised. It could increase discrimination against local LGBTIQ people, who may very well be used as scapegoats for any negative impact on tourism and the economy. Not to mention the consequences for LGBTIQ people who themselves work in the tourism industry.

People and the media, in the United Sattes and Europe ought not to push their own agendas and instead listen to the priority of LGBTIQ groups on the ground.

This simple but important rule is central to the way that OutRight functions and engages in enabling social justice. We consult, listen to and are guided by local leaders who are best placed to inform strategy and programs to bring about change.

Without listening to voices from the ground we all stand to do more harm than good. I ask that you #DontBoycottBermuda and instead learn how to empower local organizations and the movement there.

Sincerely,

Jessica Stern,

Executive Director

OutRight Action International


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