Rainbow Alliance of Bermuda

Writing in The Advocate, Kirkland Hamill also reveals the deep-rooted, widespread homophobia in the small island nation.

Earlier this month, Bermuda became the first country in the world to repeal same-sex marriages. One of the reasons given to the repeal, by Home Affairs Minister Walton Brown, was that the “majority of Bermudians do not agree with same-sex marriage.”

Kirkland Hamill, who used to serve on the board of directors for the Human Rights Campaign, started his piece by saying that he wished he “could say I was surprised.”

Hamill then goes on to write that it took him “14 years” after leaving the country to feel “safe enough to admit (even to myself) that I was gay.” He then goes to say that the island masks a darker side in its beauty, including “racial resentments” which have been allowed to “fester and grow.”

Starting to get more personal, Hamill then writes about how when he was 12, with “pale blond hair” and a “dainty cowlick” his mother began calling him “Faggity Fag.” Although, Hamill says the nickname was playful, he also said that she didn’t stop until he “learned to take my hand off my hip and float a little closer to the ground.”

Related: P&O Cruises scrap same-sex weddings due to Bermuda’s anti-gay laws

Hamill then reveals that when he was 14, there was a school debate over which sport had the “biggest poofters.” The football coach argued that is was the rugby players, with the rugby coach arguing the other way.

He then goes on to reveal that after a year in America, he returned to the island and feared that he might be gay. He went to the island’s counsellor, who told him: “I’ve met gay people, and you look nothing like them.”

Hamill then says that he was 30 when he realised that she was wrong. Reflecting on this, Hamill then says “From the time I was very young, I couldn’t even see myself because where I grew up there wasn’t an acknowledgment that who I was existed.”

Hamill finishes his piece by revealing that he and his partner, Dave, were going to return to the island, but following the repeal of same-sex marriages, they cancelled the trip.

“Because no matter how beautiful the beaches, how polite the people, and how sparkling blue the water, I will only be able to see the ugliness underneath it all until this legislation is overturned.”