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Miss Teen Bahamas comes out — and gets dumped

“”It has been difficult dealing with the stereotype, as well as the discrimination, but for me, I’m a strong person and I don’t let anybody or anything deter me from what I want to do.”

— Gari McDonald, Miss Teen Bahamas, on being booted because she came out as a lesbian

What a brave young woman, facing the homo-bigotry of this pageant (and the country’s anti-gay culture) that seems hell-bent on publicly humiliating her. I call BULLSH*T. This article describes the story quote well, but the reporter (and the paper’s editors) allude to the “homosexuality is a choice” nonsense. (Nassau Guardian):

Teen queen Gari McDonald admitted yesterday to being a lesbian. Her stunning revelation came during a press conference held on Wednesday at the Zemi House, Rainbow Alliance headquarters, to announce that she may be stripped of her title because of her sexual orientation.

…She asked the committee, “What is my fate as Miss Teen Bahamas?” She said it has been about four months since the committee had any contact with her. Ms McDonald alleges, “I have not signed a contract to officially be Miss Teen Bahamas.”

“What is going to happen with the prizes that I have been promised and not given,” was another question she put to committee officials. Those prizes were also inclusive of a two-year scholarship to The College of The Bahamas. She explained that she completed one semester at the college before taking a break to meet the demands of reaching teens throughout the wider Bahamas by way of her platform.

She is of the view that the committee wants to strip her of her crown because “of accusations and gossip. Basically they say it is because of sexuality and if it is because of sexuality, then isn’t it outright discrimination?” The teen queen crowned on Nov. 14, 2004, stated that no question regarding sexuality arose before she entered the pageant.

At this point, she is “surprised” that she could possibly lose her crown. Under the pretense of attending a meeting to discuss the international pageant, Ms. McDonald said a young lady was at the meeting who had leveled some allegations against her. This meeting took place in March, where there was also some talk of “harassment” by the complainant, who said McDonald phoned her on her job. McDonald said the ultimatum arose in a subsequent meeting, at the end of April.

It is her contention that a committee member was of the view that “we cannot have a lesbian Miss Teen Bahamas representing the country.

Following that statement, the question was posed at the press briefing, whether she was indeed a lesbian, her response, “Yes, I am.” [Go girl!]

…”Had I thought that I did behave in a manner I thought was unfitting for the queen, this would not be going on today. I would have graciously stepped down to avoid having to go through all of this,” Ms. McDonald admitted.

It has been about three years now, she said since she decided to be “true to herself.” Now at 18, Ms McDonald has accepted her chosen lifestyle, even though it was a very difficult and frightening decision. She said though, that she has the support of her family- her brother Harry was present at her side.

Richa Sands, assistant director of the Miss Teen Bahamas committee, said yesterday in a telephone interview with this daily, that there was no comment to make at this time regarding the allegation of crown stripping.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding