A gay rights campaigner welcomed a call for LGBTQ people to get involved in the battle against gang violence.
Adrian Hartnett-Beasley, deputy chairman of pressure group OutBermuda, said he was pleased that Wayne Caines, the national security minister, had asked for help from the LGBTQ community.
Mr Hartnett-Beasley added: “While it may have been one of the first times that the LGBTQ community has been specifically identified as being a part of the overall community by a government minister, we believe that all Bermudians should have a voice in national conversations.
“We appreciated being included as being referenced as part of the fabric of the Bermuda community.”
Mr Hartnett-Beasley was speaking after Mr Caines released statistics on violent crime last weekend and said everyone “must rise and play a part in the process”.
Mr Caines added: “All churches, community clubs, fraternities, sororities, the LGBTQ community and, most importantly, family, I challenge you all to step up and be part of the solution.”
Mr Hartnett-Beasley said: “There are many different voices that are all equally important when it comes to national conversations.
“We are happy to have the right to express them as individuals.”
Some LGBTQ activists criticised Mr Caines’s plea for their help as the Government planned to appeal to London’s Privy Council to repeal the right to gay marriage.
However, Mr Hartnett-Beasley said that he did not find the call for help from the LGBTQ community inappropriate or hypocritical.
He added: “As an organisation which seeks ways to build bridges and collaborate within Bermuda, we are pleased to be invited to be part of the national conversation, not just on this, but in other areas we feel we have more expertise.”
Mr Hartnett-Beasley said OutBermuda had not focused on the island’s gang problem, but it had examined other problems that affected LGBTQ people, including anti-bullying campaigns and education on diversity.
He added: “Strengthening families and community organisations, which LGBTQ people are part of, is essential for ensuring young people have the necessary support systems to protect them from social ills like gang culture.”
Mr Hartnett-Beasley said that LGBTQ people come from all parishes and backgrounds.
He added: “We are confident that individual members are already doing their part to address safety and wellbeing, with gang violence being one of them.”