Deserting LGBTQ+ Virgin Islanders

A VI community group changed its name for Pride, and lost 400 members.

Photo by Francesco Ungaro on Pexels

Homophobia in the Caribbean is nothing new, and the U.S. Virgin Islands certainly has its share. When the U.S. Supreme Court was still considering whether to legalize same-sex marriage in all states and territories in 2014, Virgin Islanders marched down the streets of St. Thomas in opposition.

A small contingent of counter-protesters, many of them friends of mine, gathered in front of the courthouse on the route. The Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in 2015.

It’s been five years since that march, and most island residents have shifted focus to more pressing issues. Between a failing water and power authority, crippling corruption, and of course recovery from hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017, worrying about people’s sexual orientation has understandably taken a backseat.

Until St. Thomas’ first Pride celebration was announced, reigniting arguments in Virgin Island social circles online and off.

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