Swan building to fly Pride flags for parade
A company owned by Bermuda's longest-serving premier has thrown its weight behind Bermuda's first gay pride march.
Sir John Swan has pledged that his landmark Seon Place office block in Hamilton will fly the Pride flag in the run-up to the August 31 event.
Sir John said: “It's the right thing to do. If you believe in human nature and the equality of man, then why should people have to make those choices here in the 21st century?
“Bermuda has to be on the right side of where things are going and for the right reasons.”
The support of Sir John's real estate firm Swan Group was revealed after Tony Brannon, a supporter of Bermuda Pride, published a statement from the company on social media yesterday.
Sir John said that the decision was made after a number of tenants in the ten-storey Seon Place approached him to ask if his business empire planned to support the parade.
He added that Seon Place was an appropriate spot to fly the flags and it had become a tradition to use the flagpoles outside the building to publicise major events.
Sir John said: “We have the six flagpoles at the building and they've always symbolised something significant to the country.
“Therefore we had two choices — we keep the existing flags there, which means we don't identify with what's taking place, or we put the Pride flags up.”
Sir John added that he was prepared for criticism of the decision but was not deterred because “life is full of backlash”.
He said: “In life, you will always have someone who disagrees with you and people are entitled to their disagreements.
“I respect their disagreements, but you can't just decide your life on the anticipation of backlash.”
Sir John added: “The country is no longer run by seniors any more; it's run by the younger people.
“They don't see Bermuda as the same way as our ancestors and if we want to be a part of what's going on in the world, we have to grow up.”
Sir John said that he would attend the Bermuda Pride celebration in Victoria Park, Hamilton, on August 31.
The event will also include a panel discussion on August 30 and a parade through Hamilton at 2pm the next day.
The Bermuda Hotel Association has also backed Pride.
The organisation said it supported events that helped to boost tourism and that “we are pleased to support Bermuda's inaugural Pride parade as a sponsor”.
A spokesman added: “We hope that the event on August 31 is a success as it marks the beginning of a new annual tradition for Bermuda as an international travel destination for our visitors.”
• UPDATE: This story initially described Tony Brannon as an organiser of Bermuda Pride. It was amended to describe Mr Brannon as a supporter of Bermuda Pride.