Bermuda to hold first pride celebration, police pledge support: ‘all communities deserve respect and equality’

Bermuda is throwing its first pride festival this summer, and rumor has it this party is going to be lit. Yachts!

Thousands of people have taken to social media, posting plans for rainbow outfits and forming groups to march in the parade. After-party ideas are circulating, perhaps at restaurants and bars, or maybe everyone will just go drink on the beach? (GayCities votes “yes” to the beach-drinking idea.)

There is a campaign to get Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones, who live on the island, to be the grand marshals of the parade. Granted, there’s no confirmation that Mr. and Mrs. Douglas have actually been asked, or even know that the pride festival is in the works. But imagine Michael and Catherine riding along in the parade, waving from a convertible, Dark and Stormy cocktails in their hands, greeting the masses.

And all of this against the backdrop of the lovely island of Bermuda, one of the most beautiful places in the world. Harbors filled with sailboats and yachts! Hotels and resorts with fabulous pools! And then there are the stunning coastlines, where the aquamarine waters of the Atlantic Ocean wash up to beaches covered in sand that is shaded a gentle pink.

You like that? Here’s another one.

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Press play and enjoy the waves along Bermuda’s southeastern coast. 

The parade and festival will kick off in Victoria Park, in the capital city of Hamilton. Festival organizers are still working out the event’s details, but GayCities checked with the Hamilton city government and confirmed that all the necessary permits have been issued. This is happening, people. This isn’t some Fyre Festival nonsense where people will show up for the party, but there’s no party. (And FYI, because you might have this confused: Fyre Festival was The Bahamas. Bermuda Pride is in Bermuda. Both are island countries, both are in The Atlantic, both start with “B,” but they are different places. Don’t get it twisted.)

Beyond the parties, the emergence of this pride festival is big news. Equality in Bermuda has taken a beating in recent years, thanks to small groups of religious conservatives and a cranky government. Remember in 2007 when Rosie O’Donnell had a cruise for gay and lesbian parents and their kids, and they had to cut Bermuda from the itinerary because protestors didn’t want a ship full of gay people to arrive? Not nice.

There’s also that little incident in 2018 when Bermuda legalized marriage equality, but then the governor enacted a law to end it. Bermuda’s Supreme Court struck down the governor’s law and legalized marriage equality again, and it all worked out, but still, how rude. But these little scuffles do not reflect the true spirit of Bermuda: the island is part of the British Crown, and their refined heritage mixes with the easy-going island vibe, and the people are famously friendly and fun.

This pride festival also has some heavy hitting power in its corner: in a glorious turn of good fortune, Hamilton’s police commissioner, Stephen Corbishley, issued a statement telling all of the haters to chill out, because Bermuda Pride is happening and he doesn’t care who is mad about it:

“The BPS represents and supports all aspects of our diverse communities and we want to be alongside LGBTQ people to celebrate their identity and have confidence that their police service is there when they have need.

We have many in Bermuda, particularly young people, who may feel alone or isolated due to their sexual orientation or are subject to hateful comments or actions.

This is not right and all communities deserve respect and equality.

The Pride Parade can help change attitudes and is a celebration of the progress that LGBTQ communities have made all over the world.”

Boom! Maybe Commissioner Corbishley should be the grand marshal of the parade.

Bermuda does not have any official gay bars or related social spaces, and the scene exists mostly through hookup apps and private parties with friends. So it is refreshing to see how Bermuda’s police recognize the importance of this festival, and don’t want the bullies to win.

Commissioner Corbishley’s statement also noted threats that are circulating social media, which suggest violence against people who attend the pride festival, and he said police are investigating the matter and “action will be taken against those responsible.” In other words, come to that pride festival and start anything, and it’s funk on sight, y’all. Don’t do it. Corbishley will be ready for you.

Related: Documentary “State of Pride” follows YouTube star Raymond Braun as he explores why pride is more important than ever