Hamilton mayor: I was a hypocrite
The Mayor of Hamilton admitted yesterday he was a “hypocrite” until his daughter made him rethink his traditional view of marriage.
Charles Gosling said his daughter had convinced him to accept the principle of equal rights for gay people.
Mr Gosling explained: “I used to be a defender of the traditional concept of marriage. It took my daughter challenging me as how I could explain to gay friends and associates why they cannot enjoy the same rights I have in life, and in death, which led to changing my outlook.
“This woke me to the fact that I was being selfish in what I had achieved through simply being one of many and was unwilling to share with people different than me. I was being a hypocrite, dishonest to people I cared about.”
Mr Gosling added: “Bermuda suffers greatly from a shared history of restricting rights from people different from ourselves, others being based on race, sex, countries of origin and subtler community-construed differences.
“We should be ensuring every Bermudian has the rights enshrined in our Constitution, especially that which is mentioned first — the fundamental rights and freedoms of the individual.
“Physically, I will not be in Bermuda for this first parade but I will be there in spirit.”
He was speaking as Hamilton prepared for Bermuda’s first Pride parade on Saturday — and as the event got the backing of international superstar Sir Elton John. Sir Elton’s staff wrote: “On behalf of Elton John, his management team would like to pass on Elton’s best wishes for the first Bermuda Pride Parade.”
Pedestrian crossings on Queen Street and Washington Street have already been painted in the rainbow colours of the Pride flag to mark the occasion.
Nicholas Swan, a city councillor, added: “Full civil rights for all is the lifeblood for any society to survive and thrive.
“I fully support our LGBTQI brothers and sisters and look forward to marching in solidarity with them on August 31.”
Bermuda Press (Holdings) Ltd, the parent company of The Royal Gazette, also showed support for the parade with a rainbow-hued Pride sign across the front entrance of its Par-la-Ville Road building. The front steps have also been decorated in the colours of the rainbow.
A City of Hamilton spokeswoman confirmed that the pedestrian crossings were funded with private cash.
She explained: “In the past, the City has approved, and will continue to approve, similar requests from charities to paint crosswalks to coincide with and promote observances such as Breast Cancer Health Month, for example. The crosswalks will revert to black and white on September 8 in accordance with industry safety standards.”
The event on Saturday will start in Victoria Park at 9am and the parade, scheduled to last for 90 minutes, will leave the park at 11am. The city spokeswoman said rolling road closures will be used to limit traffic disruption and street parking will be restricted on some stretches of the route from 6am.
Parts of Dundonald Street and Washington Street will be closed from 6am until the parade is finished. The route will also take in Parliament Street, Victoria Street, Court Street, Front Street, Queen Street, Church Street and Burnaby Street.
Dwayne Caines, the city’s secretary and chief operating officer, said: “We have worked closely with the Bermuda Pride organisers as well as the Bermuda Police Service and the Bermuda Chamber of Commerce retail division to ensure that we have a safe, secure and expertly executed event. Hamilton is open for business and it’s my hope that our greater community enjoys the day while practicing and celebrating inclusivity, tolerance and respect.”
Participants should use the Bull’s Head or Elliott Street car parks.
Bermuda Pride has covered the cost of parking at the two sites and barriers will be raised. City Hall car park will continue to offer short-term parking.
• For more information about the Pride parade and other events, visit the organisation’s website at www.bermudapride.net
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