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Businesses display support for Pride

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Small and large business in Bermuda have pledged their support for the island's first Pride Parade.

The Facebook page of the Bermuda Pride Supporters group has nearly 6,000 members and is replete with messages of support from businesses island-wide.

Throughout Hamilton and beyond, a wide range of supporters are flying the rainbow flag, or otherwise showing support such as with multicoloured ribbons.

Businesses doing so range from restaurants, food and liquor suppliers, hair stylists, to communications firms, gift shops, law firms, and insurance companies.

At Rock Island Cafe, on Reid Street, rainbow flags are displayed inside and out. A sign on the door reads: “Welcome. Rock Island is a positive space that welcomes and supports everyone.”

Lisabet Outerbridge, the cafe's owner, said: “From a business point of view Rock Island has always believed in inclusivity, and providing a safe space for all people, particularly young people that are navigating the rough road to adulthood.

“Many LGBTQ young people have been a part of Rock Island's life, and I am proud of the many employees and customers that have helped in that endeavour.”

She added: “I am heartened by how Bermuda is progressing to be a more inclusive, and open community, and thrilled that we are holding this first Pride parade.”

Sweet Saak Bakery, in St George's, has been baking rainbow-coloured cupcakes for private clients during Pride Month in June for five years.

This year it decided to offer a range of goods — marble cake, sugar cookies, brownies, mini-cinnamon bars and cupcakes — in the shop as well.

Owner Kamilah Cannonier said: “The response has been very good. We have even had a couple of corporate clients from offices in Hamilton who will have some treats for their staff on Friday morning. We will also have some available on Saturday at our St George's location.”

In Pembroke, there is an eye-catching display at the world headquarters of Bacardi, on Pitts Bay Road. The outdoor fountain is lit up with rainbow colours between 7.30pm and 8pm each day until Wednesday.

A spokeswoman said: “At Bacardi, we pride ourselves on being inclusive and support policies of equality just as we seek diversity in our own workforce to reflect that of our consumers around the globe. As importantly, we believe that our company's purpose is to “bring all people together to celebrate moments that matter.

“We raise a glass to the participants of Bermuda's Pride Parade and wish all a joyful celebration of community and spirit this weekend.”

A massive rainbow flag flies from the top of Point House, the former HSBC building on Front Street, which was purchased by the Green family earlier this year. There are similar flags at the Hamilton Princess & Beach Club and Waterloo House, properties also owned by the family.

A spokesperson said: “The Green family are pleased to be able to support Bermuda's first-ever Pride parade by flying the rainbow flag over the Hamilton Princess & Beach Club, Point House and Waterloo House.

“They believe that everyone is welcome in Bermuda and that this event is a wonderful way to embrace that and to show off the famed friendliness of Bermuda.”

David Northcott, Chen Foley, and Liz Christopher, the organisers of Bermuda Pride, in a statement said: “Since we announced the save the date for Pride just a few months ago, the public outpouring of support has been incredible.

“In terms of the businesses, it is wonderful to see the flags and stickers on their premises, as well as Pride versions of some of their logos. This kind of high impact visual display to show to the LGBTQI+ community that they are welcome and valued is something that is very important in a country that has been quite hostile and unaccepting of this particular community.

“We have had so many people very emotionally saying they never thought they would see the day in Bermuda where they felt included. The public statements of support by the businesses are equally valuable, and also extremely welcome in terms of signalling to both their LGBTQI+ staff and customers that they value diversity and inclusivity.

“The next step is for all businesses, if they haven't already, to consult with their LGBTQI+ staff, customers and others to understand how they may serve and support them better — and then to reflect that in updating and publishing policies and procedures that support the outward shows of inclusion.”

Argo Group has donated $2,500 to the Pride parade, in partnership with Out Bermuda, the island's LGBTQI+ charity. The donation is designed to help improve accessibility at the event and cover the cost of free parking for participants, the company said.

Ryan Mather, global head of reinsurance at the international speciality insurance company, said: “Argo believes that an inclusive, progressive and diverse environment is integral to any successful business. We work hard to promote openness within our workspace. Through this sponsorship, we're pleased to join the celebration of Bermuda's LGBTQI+ community.”

William Wharton, head of insurance, added: “We are truly excited to be a part of Bermuda's first pride parade. Diversity and inclusion are at the heart of our culture at Argo, and vital to the future of Bermuda. We are privileged to be able to sponsor this year's event, and look forward to working with Bermuda Pride to promote equality in Bermuda in the months and years to come.”

Rock solid: Rock Island Cafe demonstrates its support for the island's first Pride Parade (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)
Flying high: A Pride flag flies atop Point House in Hamilton (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)
Colourful display: The fountain outside the Bacardi building (Photograph by Owain Johnston-Barnes)
Rainbow repast: Marble cake at Sweet Saak bakery (Photograph supplied)

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Published August 30, 2019 at 9:00 am (Updated August 29, 2019 at 10:15 pm)

Businesses display support for Pride

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