A Christian dance academy from Barbados has been disqualified from a national competition over its performance piece challenging gender identity ideology.
Praise Academy of Dance Barbados created and performed a piece called 'Speak Life', which portrays a 15-year-old girl's struggle with her gender before reading the Bible and eventually embracing her identity.
The story was set in a school science lesson, with dialogue including the lines: "It's not a choice, you don't get to pick, that's the science, period!"
Banners also quote Genesis 5:2: "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them."
The National Independence Festival of Creative Arts (NIFCA) disqualified the group, allegedly for breaching Section 9b of the rules by exceeding "the bounds of good taste" and making "defamatory claims".
Senator Gregory Nicholls, arbiter of the National Cultural Foundation Barbados (NCF), which runs the competition, dismissed the academy's initial appeal.
"The entry was adjudged to have denounced various gender identities of the LGBTQ community via raging characterizations and expressions. This was a determination that the experienced panel of judges were entitled to make."
The academy has contacted the UK-based Christian Legal Centre (CLC) to assist them in their legal challenge.
Attorney Davida Maynard-Holligan, who is representing them, said they had been "excluded in the name of inclusivity" and that the ruling from Senator Nicholls sent "a chilling message to Christians on the island, especially young students, who do not believe in and refuse to conform to confusing and harmful gender identity ideology and extreme teaching".
She said cancelling the group's performance "amounts to a ban of the expression of the Christian faith".
"The message is that you can no longer disagree with or criticize LGBTQ ideology without being cancelled, marginalized and excluded," she said.
"The ruling issued publicly amounts to an LGBTQ takeover of our legal rights and freedoms in Barbados and cannot go unchallenged."