Krystl Assan addresses supporters at a rally outside City Hall in Hamilton. Ms Assan wants sexual orientation added to the Human Rights Act, so gays can have the same legal protection as other groups covered by the legislation. *Photo by Kageaki Smith
Krystl Assan addresses supporters at a rally outside City Hall in Hamilton. Ms Assan wants sexual orientation added to the Human Rights Act, so gays can have the same legal protection as other groups covered by the legislation. *Photo by Kageaki Smith

WEDNESDAY, MAY 25: Scores of supporters turned out to a human rights rally this afternoon to oppose discrimination based on sexual orientation.

The event, ‘Home is where the hatred is’ was organized by Krystl Assan, a 23-year-old student who claims she was discriminated against because she is gay.

Supporters stood out in the heat at City Hall and listened intently to Miss Assan, who spoke about why the Human Rights Act should be amended to include sexual orientation.

She said: “I thought about voicing the private frustrations of gay and straight people alike when it comes to this issue. Isn’t there something really wrong with politics or society when I have to present an argument for why it’s not okay to discriminate against me, or my friends or my loved ones on the basis of who they love?

“Why do I need to prove to you that it is wrong and should be punishable by law to deny someone service at a restaurant on the basis of who they are or how they’ve chosen to live their life?

“Convicts are given this amount of decency and respect, as they should, but as yet, gay people are not.”

Miss Assan told the crowd the rally stemmed from an incident where she was allegedly turned away from a guesthouse.

She publicly apologized to the owner of the guesthouse for putting her and her guesthouse in the public spotlight.

Miss Assan went into some detail about what allegedly transpired at the guesthouse; a disagreement apparently arose about a second person staying in her room. The owner has publically denied discriminating against her.

“So where does this leave us?” Miss Assan asked after describing the incident.

“It leaves us to deal with the messiness of discrimination, the fact that there are usually no clear offenders and victims and the fact that the more honest you are, the more perspectives you have see.”

Miss Assan also said many of her friends have been discriminated against because they “look gay”.

“For some of my friends, who more openly break gender rules in terms of their personal styles or mannerisms, the consequences of being gay in Bermuda have been severe.”

She said she has had male friends beaten up and a female friend lose a job for failing to dress in a feminine way.

“It is obvious that we live in a society where we are not wanted.

“For many of us, living or attending school abroad is out first experience of complete acceptance and returning home isn’t returning home at all.

“It’s a place where we are confronted by hate.”