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Losing ‘billions’

Homophobia causing Barbados to miss out on foreign exchange

Barbados is losing out on billions of dollars in foreign exchange and an influx of tourists from the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer (LGBTQ) community by maintaining “archaic and draconian buggery laws which only serve to repel today’s liberal traveler”, says Donnya Piggott, director of the Barbados Gays and Lesbians Against Discrimination (B-GLAD). Piggott, who returned from an international LGBT conference in West Sussex last week, told Barbados TODAY this fast, growing market could reignite the struggling tourism industry.

Donnya Piggott

Donnya Piggott, director of B-GLAD

“Perhaps the gain and the revival our tourism industry can be one more incentive to do away with these irrelevant and outdated laws which only exaggerate negative views of the Barbados we know,” she said.

Pointing to the World Tourism Market LGBT2020 study, Piggott said it was estimated that “the known gay community would have cumulatively paid a hefty US$200 billion on travel”.

“It’s in the billions because the LGBT community has much more disposable income than the average heterosexual or even the heterosexual couple. Most of the time because you have less children especially in those liberal countries you have more time to focus on careers and in most cases they tend to be better off,” Piggott argued.

Piggott, who disclosed that she met with the Foreign Minister of Canada and other representatives from European countries at the conference, said officials “were really saying that Barbados is losing out tremendously”.

She acknowledged that while the island “doesn’t have heavy discrimination” it is perceived as being homophobic because it is often grouped with countries like Jamaica where discrimination against gays is reportedly high.

“So it’s because of these preconceived notions as well as doing their own research they find that the Caribbean is one of the most homophobic places . . . and seeing laws as harsh as our buggery law, most of them are not going to worry about coming and that’s usually the case. Two consenting adults, in the privacy of their home – or hotel – could face life imprisonment under our buggery law, found in Section 9 of our Sexual Offences Act. Section 12 of the Act also includes a law against serious indecency which, although ambiguous, had been condemned by regional activists for apparently criminalising all forms of same-gender intimacy, including lesbian love,” she argued.

“These penalties infringe upon basic human rights to privacy and a life free from discrimination. Both our own local LGBTQ population and visitors alike are born with these rights and the Caribbean can only stand to benefit if they decide to holistically embrace all people including the LGBTQ community.”

Piggott stressed, however, that there was high interest in Barbados among delegates at the conference. She said apart from gay cruises and the possible hosting of PRIDE events, the island could also reap the dividends from same-sex marriages once it makes an effort to understand the concerns of the LGBTQ community.

The B-GLAD director said: “Especially in European countries, people just want to travel and get married on a tropical island but they have to think about if my wedding is going to be tormented because of a homophobic country. Yes it is going to be nice on the beach, but do I have to contend with homophobic guests, homophobic staff or a homophobic hotel?”


12 Responses to Losing ‘billions’

  1. Martine Boyer
    Martine Boyer September 9, 2014 at 11:32 pm

    They won’t visit because they don’t feel welcome

  2. Cavil Best
    Cavil Best September 9, 2014 at 11:43 pm

    Nothing that is immoral will not resonate in Barbados.

    • Enam Idrissa
      Enam Idrissa September 10, 2014 at 5:10 am

      ….have you read any newspaper recently genius?

      quite a few murders and “unnatural deaths” been happening, guns in fetes, shootings – even on public transportation. Every Saturday lick mout lou and pudding and souse got gossip.
      Notice the ages of the fellas recently charged with murder…none over 30.
      I’Akobi – nothing more to say.

      You really feel, you honestly feel, you really think that you could say, with any sort of certainty or righteous validation that “Nothing that is immoral will not resonate in Barbados.” A country built on slavery and colonialism, the vestiges of which live on, and you think that you can say that which you have said. You, a man, that not 100 years ago would be in no different position, in fact possibly worse off, than you would have been 100 years prior (200 years prior to current (2014) ) ie. a slave in 1814 Barbados, really think that you can say that nothing immoral will resonate in Barbados?

      Look go and jump in a hole, because you like you int sure.

      I am sure that Donnya has exaggerated “billions” but even a conservative estimate will highlight millions in potential foreign exchange were Barbados seen as more LGBTQ friendly.

      Ignorant people, like some of you all here, commenting about “immoral this” and “immoral that” only seem to find your high horses, and moral compasses when two men or two women decide to hug up and love up.

      I am out almost every night of the week.
      Between men hustling drugs, men bothering women, women “working” there is a whole lot of “immoral” action happening , even the same msm, wsw, and all other lgbtq things that bother you all, are going on (a lot on the down low) but to allow people to freely live their lives as they are – with no negative impact, concerns you all to the point of angry facebook comments and angry radio show call-ins to the moderator.

      “Is Jamaica losing out?” – Yes fool.

      The teacher doesnt have to beat you with the belt for you to be afraid of the belt, similarly, you do not have to be charged with a crime to fear the consequences of being charged with said crime. Add stigma and discrimination to that and the reality is a whole lot less simple than you – Gregston – paint it/think it to be. Afterall, i too have lived here a long time and have “NEVER HEARD NOBODY (anyone) CHARGE(d) WITH THAT DIRTY CRIME YET(,) SO WHO GINE CHARGE A TOURIST UNLESS HE(/she) HAVE(has) SEX IN PUBLIC” Well…there was that time that Didi didnt get service in PriceSmart, or the time the flag person of Youth Explosion was pelted with stones, but thats not being charged…so everything irie.

      It is a shame that access to education has begun to be limited in Barbados; there is too much ignorance, with, now, too much free time, running around.

  3. Cavil Best
    Cavil Best September 9, 2014 at 11:59 pm

    All immoral systems will collapse only moral will stand!

  4. Gregston Griffith
    Gregston Griffith September 10, 2014 at 12:02 am

    haha this is a bare joke all kind of thing does happen in Bim and who care about what u say is Jamaica losing out nah. stop using ignore statement to justified what u are saying I lived HERE AND NEVER HEARD NOBODY CHARGE WITH THAT DIRTY CRIME YET SO WHO GINE CHARGE A TOURIST UNLESS HE HAVE SEX IN PUBLIC HUMMM

  5. Cavil Best
    Cavil Best September 10, 2014 at 12:02 am

    Agree with Ama-wog Alleyne let us keep our principles.

  6. Peter Lee
    Peter Lee September 10, 2014 at 1:02 am

    As a regular visitor to bim I would be more concerned about the recent spate of shootings and killings going on in what used to be my favourite island. The authorities need to get a grip of this or many more billions will be lost! I am one who chose not to visit this year. 🙁

  7. Perro Holloway
    Perro Holloway September 10, 2014 at 2:54 am

    I don’t see a problem with any tourest coming but I think the problems is when they want to openly do they stuff

  8. Shirley Garnes
    Shirley Garnes September 10, 2014 at 3:15 am

    Has Barbados gotten so desperate for tourist that they are going to consider this. Give me a break.

  9. Veroniva Boyce
    Veroniva Boyce September 10, 2014 at 3:18 am

    What a load of crap!!! Why do any one in their right mind want Barbados to become a bulling pardise – all in the name of money. Sexuality each to his own. Barbados got rules in place and we as tourist should respect them. Beause this type of behaviior is acceptable in some countries that does not mean Bim have to clutch at straws like a drowning man. Yes Barbados is broke, but she is not that broke for that sort of lifestyle..

  10. bernard and india walker September 10, 2014 at 3:14 pm

    Watch this we put them on the run in the usa also. Problem is straight people don’t travel in packs and get every one madd at them. So you can make sure that you countries rules are followed . The bajan citizens know how you feel. This is taget practice . Hetrosexuals have rights also. i’m staright if the two worlds can co exist. We know the next step .

  11. bernard and india walker September 10, 2014 at 3:15 pm

    They see hetro sexuals as a threat !!. Good we need the target practice . I never misss .


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