Key Population Heroes: A Bahamian Trans Woman’s Call to Action

Written by Alexus D’Marco, Founder of the DMARCO Foundation

 

“To deny people their human rights is to deny them their humanity”

– Nelson Mandela

This quote has been a call to action for me. Over the past years of my life I have made it my mission to raise awareness and to educate people about transgender issues, HIV and AIDS, and the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, supporter, intersex (GLBTQSI) community. I was born and raised in Nassau, Bahamas, and here at home I have established the DMARCO foundation, which speaks to the challenges facing these at-risk populations.

I remember the inner and external struggles that confronted me during my transitioning stages at the age of 17, when I left the Bahamas to get the necessary medical treatment for the process. It was difficult but it was absolutely necessary for my mental and emotional stability to deal with my issue of gender dysphoria. Since then, I have been liberated by an inner peace that comes from triumphing over the struggles of stigma, discrimination and yes, even a little bit of depression. My story has led me to a place where I have realized a purpose for my life and a calling to inspire, uplift, and empower those like me, with similar struggles and situations.newspaper pic

I worked to address this calling in many ways. For example, I, Alexus Mya Braxton Royale D’Marco, came out publicly as a transgender person and stated that I was disturbed and offended by the implication from members of the Christian Council in Grand Bahama that a drag queen show would corrupt the nation’s youth, since the show was only open to consenting adults.

I also was featured in a documentary titled “SHE,” which premiered at the Portland Film Festival and The Bahamas Film Festival in Nassau.

It is through the Ministry of Health, working under The U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), and through my advocacy work as a visible trans woman here in the Bahamas, that I  create relationships  with government officials  to bring  awareness to  and  speak out on  issues facing GLBTQSI Bahamians. In this capacity, I work with the government officials to create a dialogue with people who are trans or GLBT to help the officials understand what their lives are like and what challenges they face living in our society.

Recently, I launched the DMARCO foundation (Dreams Manifested Around Restoration, Change and Opportunity). It primarily targets at-risk youth, and is a multifaceted organization that offers support for the challenges that confront GLBT youth within the Bahamas. I have conducted speaker bureaus, lock-ins, workshops, and testing and counseling parties, all of which have shown much promise throughout the community. Some of my latest prospects include a safe house and establishing a GLBTQ national collaboration to better strategize efforts to curtail stigma and discrimination from a unified front.

My work has taken me to distant shores to better equip myself with various aspects of training related to the preservation of human rights and the fight against stigma and discrimination. I lead a life dedicated to the cause of human rights for everyone, and I am committed to bringing awareness and tolerance through education about all issues facing our community. I have never missed the opportunity to share this excerpt from the preamble of the Bahamian Constitution:

“DO HEREBY PROCLAIM IN SOLEMN PRAISE the Establishment of a

Free and Democratic Sovereign Nation founded on Spiritual Values and in which no

Man, Woman or Child shall ever be Slave or Bondsman to anyone or their Labour

Exploited or their Lives frustrated by deprivation”

“Whereas every person in The Bahamas is entitled to the

fundamental rights and freedoms of the individual, that is to say,

has the right, whatever his race, place of origin, political opinions,

colour, creed or sex, but subject to respect for the rights and

freedoms of others and for the public interest, to each and all of

the following, namely-

(a) life, liberty, security of the person and the protection

of the law;

(b) freedom of conscience, of expression and of

assembly and

association; and

(c) protection for the privacy of his home and other

property and

from deprivation of property without compensation,

the subsequent provisions of this Chapter shall have effect for the

purpose of affording protection to the aforesaid rights and

freedoms subject to such limitations of that protection as are

contained in those provisions, being limitations designed to

ensure that the enjoyment of the said rights and freedoms by

any individual does not prejudice the rights and freedoms of

others or the public interest.”

CH3.15 Bahamian Constitution

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