Delight at sea of rainbows’
Organisers of Bermuda’s first Pride parade said they were overwhelmed by the support for the event.
Elizabeth Christopher said: “This is way bigger than we expected. We are so excited. It was building, things have changed, but it was never quite this.
“People are as far as the eye can see down Front Street.”
The turnout was also a huge surprise for Roderick Ferguson, whose lawsuit was responsible for the Domestic Partnership Act, which outlawed same-sex marriage, being overturned.
Mr Ferguson said: “The turnout was amazing; way more than I expected.
“This is so huge because this is the first time the support for LGBTQ Bermudians has been visible,” he said. “We ourselves did not know how much support we had. This is why this is so hugely important.”
Mr Ferguson said that, after growing up in Bermuda, he had never envisioned such a large event to celebrate the island’s LGBT people.
He added: “Honestly, even last week I didn’t. I had no idea this many people would show up with such support. It’s just a wonderful day.”
MaryEllen Jackson, who joined Mr Ferguson in the legal battle against the DPA, said the turnout was “amazing”.
She said: “This is beyond any expectation. Amazing.
“The atmosphere is electric. It’s wonderful to see people throw in their support from the sides, from the crowd.
“It’s something I never imagined would happen. Did I ever think I would see a rainbow flying in Bermuda? No. Did I expect to see a sea of rainbows?
Ms Jackson added: “I thought that would never happen, but here it is.”
Mike Hind, a Pride supporter, said he supported his nephew and other LGBT people. He added: “I’m here to be visible for those who can’t be visible.”
Mr Hind said that he was “over the moon” about the turnout. He said: “This is beyond any of the dreams I could have had for this. It’s so amazing.”
Jessica Figueiredo, who said she was an ally, was at Victoria Park in Hamilton with a sign that offered free hugs.
Ms Figueiredo added: “I believe that love is love and everybody should have the right to love.
“There is so much divisiveness in the world right now and on an issue like love there really should be no divisiveness.”
Ms Figueiredo said she was also surprised by the number of people who came out for the event.
She added: “I was kind of worried because we are a small community and there are a lot of people worried about the backlash of coming out to an event like this, so I’m really, really pleased to see so many people come out in support.
“It’s important to be an ally, and important that everyone has the right to love.”
JoLiza Vanderpool said she came out because it was important that Bermudians felt supported in their home country, irrespective of their sexual orientation.
She added: “I feel the turnout is really good despite the heat — and it is hot.
“I didn’t think there would be this many people, but I’m glad they came out in support.”
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