Meet Stévia Arthur, one of the organizers of Barbados Pride.
On June 28th, 1969 the Stonewall Riots kicked off a larger gay rights movement in the USA.
In 1970, the first gay pride marches took place in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago – today pride parades are taking place all around the world.
In 2018, I wanted to know who the people organizing today’s pride parades are, what the marches mean to them, and met wonderfully powerful, loving and kind people from places, which might not be the first ones that come to mind, when we think of queer love.
See all Faces of Pride.
What’s your name and age?
My name is Stévia Arthur and I am 32 years old.
Since when have you been involved with Barbados Pride?
I have been advocating for a Barbados Pride since 2012, and an attempt at creating a Barbados pride was made in 2015. Despite all the setbacks, we had our first successful attempt at Barbados Pride in November 2017.
Well, walking down the street is a traumatic experience for many LGBTI Barbadians. At first glance, Barbadian LGBTQIA+ people appear to have relatively safe, full lives. Truth is, physical violence against our LGBTI bodies pales in comparison to some other countries. However, many members of the community are subject to serious verbal, sexual, psychological and financial abuse. Barbados Pride not only brings visibility to a community which, despite efforts in advocacy, remains mostly hidden, but creates a sense of community and support amongst LGBTQIA+ Barbadians and our allies.
What is one (or two) remarkable thing(s) that has/have happened at Barbados Pride?
1. The response to the events was remarkable, though rain did hinder attendance at some of the events, the interest in participation. But the persons who signed up for the march and the small business expo was wonderful. The attendance at all the other events not affected by rain was truly inspiring, we saw members of the community who usually stay hidden, actually participate and bring their friends. 2. We successfully held the first pride march in the Anglophone Caribbean!
What do you do when you are not organizing Barbados Pride?
I run a psycho-social academic charity for at risk youth and/or kids with special learning needs. I am also an independent advocate for LGBTQIA+ rights in Barbados.
What do you like to do in your free time?
I enjoy relaxing with my wife, a good movie or sitcom and our favourite snacks.
Is there something you would like to say to the rest of the LGBT+ community?
Together we are powerful, working together, we can improve our quality of life. Stand strong together, speak out against oppression, no matter the oppressor. Visibility is liberty and knowing we have the strength of an entire community behind us, makes it less scary to be visible.
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Not different, just love
How do you feel when it comes to dealing with our emotions, expectations and responsibilities, around coming out, living as a LGBTIQ+ person and when it comes to our families and love in general?