Ten years ago, the Cayman Islands included its first ever Bill Of Rights into the country’s Constitution, setting out the “fundamental rights and freedoms of the individual and provisions for their enforcement.” This Bill Of Rights was introduced with the intention of both recognising and securing the rights of all people living in the Cayman Islands and ensuring that its Government treats its people fairly, with dignity and respect.
However, in the decade that has followed since the Bill Of Rights’ inclusion and subsequent implementation, our LGBT community has consistently been excluded from receiving the same dignity and respect that our Bill Of Rights has afforded so many others.
One does not have to review our Constitution point by point but simply read its Section 16 that prohibits the Government from treating “any person in a discriminatory manner in respect of the rights under this Part of the Constitution” without exception. Contrary to this prohibition, the Government of the Cayman Islands has failed to uphold the Constitution by neglecting to adopt minimum standards to protect or even recognise LGBT Caymanian people. Whether with the introduction of basic laws that prevent discrimination in the context of employment or services to denying them marriage, the opportunity to adopt children, or even the recognition of their gender identity, our Government continues to leave us out of the conversation, pointing to our culture’s “Christian values” as justification.
The Government of the Cayman Islands is not alone in this breach of our basic laws—it has had the implicit and, at times, explicit support of the governor whose constitutional role is precisely to secure good governance for all Caymanians.
But this injustice ends today.
This Constitution Day, we no longer need to hold our Government to account in order to be recognised and respected. Today, we take matters into our own hands. Today, Colours Cayman is proud to announce the launch of its ever-expanding “Allies” network.
Beginning tomorrow morning, you’ll now have the ability to find all local businesses, organisations or professionals who identify as LGBT-friendly. Thanks to the work our organisation has been doing through our “Make Your Mark” campaign and our Colours Cayman Pledge, regardless of your sexual orientation or gender identity, you can be assured that you will be welcomed and supported by these businesses and organisations, without the threats of discrimination or harassment. And every week, members of our Colours Collective will reach out to even more across the country and continue to expand the network.
We have far more allies here than many realise and now is the time for them to make themselves known. Now is the time for us to band together and write our own history. Now is the time for us to be visibly strong.