The Bahamas nearly had its first Pride event this weekend, but fierce antigay sentiment and violent threats shut it down just as it was beginning.
Early in the event, which began Friday, organizer Victor Rollins posted a photo on Facebook of himself with a Pride flag. His life was threatened soon after, leading him to cancel the festival's remaining events. Leading up to the Pride, local newspapers and talk shows stirred up opposition to the festival. Some commentators even said the Caribbean island would face "divine punishment" should they allow such an event.
Island officials mostly cooperated with LGBT rights activists hosting the Pride, which was discreetly held at a private hotel; no parade was planned. The early events were watched over by police before the event was shut down. "Everyone is scared," Rollins told the Nassau Guardian. "But that's normal for this type of thing."
Bahamas travel officials actually market the island as a gay destination — even though there are no protections for LGBT people, homosexuality has been decriminalized since 1991. But while the government tries to move away from the virulent homophobia of other Caribbean nations like Jamaica, the populace apparently has yet to catch up.
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