A Facebook page for the Bahamas LGBT Equality Advocates was topped by two contrasting messages as of Tuesday morning.
One celebrated the first Pride event in Bermuda, which on Friday welcomed guests to the tropical island. The other offered an official update on Hurricane Dorian, which savaged the Bahamas this weekend before parking north of Grand Bahama Island.
The National Hurricane Center at 8 a.m. Tuesday said the storm had started a slow move away from the Bahamas and toward the United States, where it is expected to ride just off Florida’s coast for the next day and continue northward. Dorian is poised to spare such LGBTQ-centric locales as South Beach in Miami Beach and Wilton Manors, near Fort Lauderdale.
Leaders stressed a need to stay alert.
“Metropolitan Broward County, including the City of Wilton Manors, is under a Tropical Storm Watch. Please, do not let your guard down,” reads a message shared by Wilton Manors Mayor Justin Flippen. “Tropical storm gusts can mean power outages, damage to trees, sheds, and porches. Flooding is possible depending on the course of the storm.”
But the oft-oppressed LGBTQ population in the Caribbean took a hit.
In the Bahamas, a nation where HIV was at one time the leading cause of death for young people, the hurricane poses a public health challenge.
“The Ministry of Health is planning its coordinated response to Dorian. With the support of PAHO and other international partners, we shall respond to the needs of the persons affected by this terrible storm,” said Minister of Health Dr. Duane Sands. “Doctors, nurses, allied health personnel... we have met and are preparing a response appropriate to the requirements of the people of Abaco and Grand Bahama. We are deeply appreciative of the solidarity of all healthcare stakeholders. Once we get the all clear ... we move!”
Hospitals in New Providence already reopened Monday, and health officials broadcast a need for blood. The hurricane already passed over the island of Abaco, where five died, according to The Nassau Guardian.
As for Bermuda Pride, clear skies allowed the event to advance as planned. Despite travel disruption in the region, thousands ultimately attended the event, according to BerNews.