SATURDAY, JULY 7: Bermudians are calling for the government to demonstrate leadership in giving equal rights to gays and lesbians on the island as they marched for change in London yesterday.
The occasion was World Pride, a variation on the traditional annual Pride Parade, which saw around 25,000 descend on London’s centre for the march, despite some heavy rain showers.
Bermudians have been taking part in this parade at least since 2006 with the first organized effort in 2009. This year five Bermudians took part.
Bermudian Chen Foley said: “It is good that legislative change appears to be back on the agenda but it is disappointing that steps have still yet to be taken to introduce a bill.
“If the government is as serious about extending human rights protection as Minister Glenn Blakeney suggests, one would have expected it to demonstrate leadership, and to have acted far more quickly and decisively.”
Bermudians in London joined the 5,000 or so other marchers to highlight the fact that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is still unprotected under Bermuda’s Human Rights Act.
Campaigner Benedict Greening, who marched along with other Bermudians, said: “Because of the austerity and the cutbacks in the usual Pride celebrations, there weren’t any mopeds allowed in our float this year.
"But we still brought the same amount of passion for a positive change in the law in Bermuda.
“This change would be such a powerful act for so many Bermudians who currently feel shut out.
“It would also be a signal for all Bermudians and for the world that our island values civil rights for everyone; that we’re a modern, progressive country.”
This year the Bermudians organized and planned their participation through social media.
Mr Greening said they did not have to do as much planning in 2012 due to the fact that no motorized vehicles were allowed in the parade, so they did not have to make arrangements for scooters.
A spokesperson said the march had a real grassroots feel with groups coming together from countries all over the world to speak out against discrimination and persecution.
The spokesperson added it was also the first time Britain’s Cabinet office flew the rainbow flag as marchers walked up Whitehall, perhaps symbolising that change is in the air.