I was very disappointed by the news of the ‘gay cruise’ cancelling its trip to Bermuda. I do however understand the concerns of its organisers, and understand why they chose to cancel the cruise. I do think the whole issue was totally mishandled almost from the get go. To begin with, I don’t really know why it was splashed all over the news media in the first place that the cruise was coming here, as I don’t see any similar headlines when a heterosexual cruise comes here, and it was bound to end up in this manner based on the concerns of the cruise and the expected reaction by the local peddlers of intolerance and hypocrisy. It would have been better not to mention it at all and just let it come, most of us would have been none the wiser, and at least the realisation would’ve come to late for those inclined to do so to arrange any organised harrasment of the passengers. I also think Mr. Kaminsky’s statements in reaction to the Churches here came across as purely belligerent and had the effect of pouring gasoline on the fire (‘…just one incident and etc…’).
Despite the compassion I would feel for the passengers should they have come and been harrassed, I do think that the visit would have served almost as a further catalyst for the gay rights movement here in Bermuda, and towards furthering the general debate on secularism and sexual equality as a whole. I think that the comments by the, I beleive Catholic, Reverend Kurtz that ‘It was controversial and now it’s not coming we don’t have to deal with all the issues around it’ reveal a lot about the feelings of many Bermudians. With the cancellation of the cruise we all don’t have to face the issues around it, we can avoid it, sweep it under the carpet, stick our heads in the sand, and carry on with our regular lives. The issues ‘around it’ involve basic concepts of human rights and dignity, of the relationship of the Church to the State, of heterosexual dominance, or rather the very basis of our patriachal authoritarian society. We can now simply avoid the issues and carry on with banality.
I bet not only the Churches are breathing a huge sigh of relief here, but also many politicians, especially as this is widely thought to be an election year, and in election years our politicians like to avoid anything of any real substance and rather waffle on about sweet nothings, empty promises, and a few practical tinkering jobs that should have been done decades ago anyway. Anything of substance, anything that makes us feel uncomfortable and stimulates actual critical thought, they all avoid like the plague.
Unfortunately for our dear Reverend Kurtz, his fellow clerics and for the poor politician who tries so hard to say nothing at all, I highly doubt that they will get their wish to ‘not deal with the issues around it.’ Perhaps the ongoing culture wars will lose a predetermined and highly anticipated scheduled battle, but the ‘issues around it’ will continue to be discussed whether the Holy Family likes it or not.