What is RAB?Edit
The Rainbow Alliance of The Bahamas is a support and advocacy group for persons in the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community.
The group was established in May 1999 during a social event hosted by members of other GLBT groups. The members of those groups, BGLAD (Bahamian Gays and Lesbians Against Discrimination) and Hope TEA (Hope Through Education and Awareness), decided it would be better to pool their resources together and create one national gay rights organization. They named it “The Rainbow Alliance of The Bahamas.”
At that time RAB was essentially a support group, organizing GLBT socials and the annual, low-key gay pride event in The Bahamas. However, in 2004 when Bishop Sam Greene threatened to blow up parliament if the government had followed Canada and legalized gay marriage in The Bahamas, group members felt the need to stand up against him and other forms of bigotry and discrimination in the country.
The activist arm of the group placed it in the public spotlight, and that arm has been growing every year since 2004. Group members say they are now receiving overwhelming support for their cause from both gay and straight Bahamians.
RAB in legal fight Edit
There is no legislation in The Bahamas that addresses basic human rights concerns of gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender (GLBT or LGBT) people. In fact, discrimination can be found in existing laws on same-sex relationships. One example is the law regarding the age of consent.
Homosexual relations between consenting adults have been legal in The Bahamas since July 1991, but the age of consent is two years higher than that for heterosexuals – 18 vs. 16. Adult heterosexual men can legally engage in sexual activity with 16 year-old girls, though these teens are considered minors. Homosexual men however, have been charged before the courts for having consensual sex with 16 and 17 year-old males.
Apart from this disparity, homosexuals in The Bahamas face another form of discrimination in Section 16 of the Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence Act. The Act says that adult homosexuals found engaging in sexual activity in a public place are committing an offence, subject to prosecution with prison sentences of up to 20 years. This law does not apply to heterosexuals.
GLBT Bahamians are also subject to discrimination in employment. The Employment Bill of 2001, which had a clause barring discrimination in the workplace based on sexual orientation, was passed with that clause removed. The law was amended again in 2002, still without protecting GBLT Bahamians.
In addition to protesting these laws, RAB spoke out strongly against its lack of inclusion in the former government's Constitutional Reform Commission. The Commission, which included outspoken anti-gay Bishop Sam Greene, had been reviewing the country’s unamended 1973 constitution between 2003 and 2006. It failed to consider a person’s sexual orientation as an attribute deserving of protection from discrimination in a preliminary report it presented to the Cabinet on March 21, 2006.
RAB's mission and objective Edit
The Rainbow Alliance of The Bahamas says it is committed to affirming the dignity, diversity and human rights of all human beings. Group members say they strongly believe in fairness and justice for all; the right of every human being to dignity, to equal protection under the law, the right to live without discrimination and victimization regardless of political affiliation, religion, nationality, physical disability, age, race, creed, gender, sex and sexual orientation.
Through education and advocacy, RAB says it is creating support mechanisms to empower the GLBT community and raise public awareness with a view to ending discrimination in all its dehumanizing forms.
RAB contact info Edit
RAB can be reached in Nassau at 242-455-7242 or 404-592-2664 (US number directed to Nassau). E-mail: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. RAB is a non-profit organization and donations are accepted.
- The Rainbow Alliance of The Bahamas Website For the latest local GBLT News
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