Islanders will march in London to support gay rights
Wednesday, July 01, 2009 11:24 AM
Gay and lesbians will march through the streets of London in their Bermuda shorts to fight for equal rights.
Scores of Bermudians in traditional dress are expected to come together to highlight their plight in the annual London Gay Pride parade on Saturday.
To make themselves "unmissable" they will all be wearing pink Bermuda shorts, blue knee-length socks, white shirts and blue ties while waving small Bermuda flags.
Several of them will be on scooters and a handful of Gombey dancers are also expected to take part. The Bermudian contingent will be marching behind a huge Bermuda flag and banner saying 'Bermuda-London Gay Pride.'
The gay and lesbian community decided to take part in the parade to show "the House of Lords and British government" what is going on.
It's the latest move in a high-profile campaign to add the 'sexual orientation' words to the 1981 Human Rights Act, which outlaws discrimination in employment, housing and public services.
It is believed to be the first time that Bermuda has been represented at the event because "we're a British colony and people have to know what is happening."
Those taking part will include Bermudians who live in London, as well as a group of Bermudians who have travelled to the capital city especially for the event.
Mark Anderson, one of the few who are openly gay in Bermuda, said: "Bermudians really wanted to be part of this year's London parade, a lot of people will be taking part.
Make a statement
"We need to make a statement, we need this change in legislation for the words sexual orientation to be added.
"We will show the House of Lords and the British government, we're a British colony and people have to know what is happening."
He added: "London Pride is going to be given a real Bermuda flavour.
"We love our country but we have to make this universal statement as everyone will be watching."
Pride London is now in its sixth year and aims to promote equality and diversity. It is one of the biggest Gay Pride events in the world with the afternoon parade expected to attract about 500,000 people.
Mr. Anderson has performed all over the world as drag queen Sybil Barrington and is one of the most popular but controversial entertainers in the Bermuda Day parade.
He cannot attend London Pride because of work commitments, but said: "More Bermudians in the last decade or so have become supportive of gay rights.
"But it's still not enough, as gays we should have rights."
Mr. Anderson's message to Premier Dr. Ewart Brown is: "If Bermuda wants to keep up with the Jones's we need to get with it."
In May 2006 there was a House of Assembly protest after MPs failed to debate a Private Members Bill brought to the House by the then PLP MP Renee Webb.
The following year campaigners launched the Two Words And a Comma campaign to fight for the Human Rights Act amendment to end discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation.
Mr. Anderson said: "Whether you are gay, lesbian or transgender, we will continue to raise awareness universally
"We are saying we are here, we exist and we are living our lives."