government board's decision to ban the movie Brokeback
Mountain has prompted charges of discrimination
and censorship in the island chain. Gay rights groups and
others have called on the Plays and Films Control Board to
reverse its decision prohibiting theaters from showing
the award-winning movie about a troubled love affair
between two cowboys.
"You have a group
of people who are telling grown men and women what
they can and cannot watch," said Philip Burrows, a theater
director in the island chain. "I cannot understand
denying people the right to make their own choices."
Nassau, the capital, had already begun to advertise the
movie Friday when the board announced its ban at the
request of the Bahamas Christian Council. "The board
chose to ban it because it shows extreme
homosexuality, nudity, and profanity, and we feel that it
has no value for the Bahamian public," Chavasse
Turnquest-Liriano, liaison officer for the control
board, said Wednesday.
Alliance, a gay rights group, called the ban a "farce"
and said most Bahamians reject the idea that a "small
group of appointed individuals...can provide the moral
compass for the entire country." Some have suggested
the board could have simply issued a rating that would
have barred anyone under 18 from seeing the film.
Critics also noted that even some countries where
homosexuality is illegal have allowed the movie to be
shown in theaters.
"This is not a
movie to be banned. This is not a subject to be
censored," said Bahamas resident Liz Roberts, who has worked
in film production. "It is a subject to be aired, a
subject to be confronted openly." Brokeback
Mountain, which won critical acclaim and three
Oscars, including best director for Ang Lee, has also
been banned in mainland China. Turkey has restricted viewing
to viewers over 18. (Paco Nunez, AP)