Double Meaning For ‘Proud To Be Bermudian’

August 26, 2019

[Written by Zakiya Johnson Lord]

The hashtag #ProudtobeBermudian gets to take on a double meaning on August 31st.

As Bermuda prepares to host its first Pride event, it feels significant to place it within the broader Bermudian context. For me, Pride feels like an extension of who Bermuda and her people have always been. We take pride in ourselves wherever we are, whether home or abroad.

Bermuda Pride is a holding of the line around who it is that gets to say who Bermuda is for: everyone who calls the island home. This is the Bermuda I hope shows itself on August 31st.

Zakiya Johnson Lord Bermuda August 26 2019

There are folks who want the LGBTQ community to feel ashamed and stay hidden. Shame is harmful, always. It is a poison. Instead, this is the community declaring for ourselves, and reminding others that this is our Bermuda too. We belong.

As an LGBTQ person, I know that love looks different on different days. In thinking about the value of allies coming out and showing their support for the LGBTQ community, I reflect on all the love that I have felt over the years from my friends and family in Bermuda. I reflect on the love and warmth my wife and my son have also felt.

Additionally, we have been emphasizing the allies but I also hope that members of the LGBTQ community themselves also feel encouraged, and safe enough to also come out and celebrate. This is an opportunity for folks to show up, and to be in community with their LGBTQ friends, family, neighbors, teammates, coworkers and more.

Naturally, a true sense of belonging will require more than buying rainbow t-shirts and Pride flags, but the energy already being generated online is quite galvanizing, as well as affirming. This level of positive engagement related to the LGBTQ community feels novel, and is welcomed.

Admittedly, there has been some negativity online, and some concerns expressed about safety. I hope Bermudians will extend the kindness and neighborliness that we take pride in being known for at home and abroad, towards those taking part in the celebrations.

The organizers of Bermuda’s first Pride event have emphasized a Bermuda for all people. Hopefully members of the LGTBQ community take this sentiment to heart and are able to celebrate, as well as to feel celebrated. May this also serve as a reminder to the LGBTQ folks that these are our streets and our parks too, and we are using them to celebrate ourselves, our people and our island home.

The activists who originally pioneered the modern LGBTQ movement were known to say, and I paraphrase: “If the poison is shame, the antidote is pride.”

And as Aretha Franklin so beautifully stated, Pride is, at its core, “the power that gives you the strength to survive.”

- Zakiya Johnson Lord is the Deputy Co-Chair of OUTBermuda 


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Comments (20)

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  1. Carol-Ann Simmons says:

    Well said! I look forward to supporting Bermuda’s first Pride.

  2. Joe Bloggs says:

    I have always been proud that over the decades I have been traveling Bermudians have picked me out and called me out. Now I am embarrassed. Now I am supposed to only talk “right kind” of Bermudians. How am I to know the “right kind” of Bermudians? Not by skin colour. Not by gender. By “gaydar”?

    • Reality Cheque says:

      What are you talking about??? I think you are slurring. Put the bottle down and step away from the keyboard.

      • Joe Bloggs says:

        I am talking about Government sponsored discrimination. The PLP Government is appealing to the Privy Council to enshrine discrimination against gay people into our law. It is the gay people that the PLP Government believes are not the “right kind” of people, if the PLP Government accepts them as people (humans, deserving of human rights) at all.

        One of the things that used to be taught at Whitney Institute was to obey the law. Whitney needs to go back to the way it was.

  3. Real Deal says:

    As Adam was deceived by Eve was deceived by Evil in the Beginning. 2019 Adam is no longer as foolish.

  4. Smh says:


  5. Gina Spinicelli-Ingham says:


    You are amazing! Keep it up, you have more support than you know ❤️

  6. frank says:

    God put a rainbow in the sky to let us know that he will not destroy the world by water again

    • PBanks says:

      That’s great and many people have read that passage. What’s that got to do with the article?

      Particularly the point “There are folks who want the LGBTQ community to feel ashamed and stay hidden. Shame is harmful, always. It is a poison”?

      • Ray says:

        Shame is harmful? One feels shame when one knows that what they’ve done is wrong…committing adultery, premarital sex, drug abuse, stealing,….just many things that should bring shame, if it doesn’t more power to you….if the cap fits

        • PBanks says:

          Sylvia Hayward Harris elsewhere in the thread has explained what shame represents, as distinct from guilt.

    • 2woke says:

      Which god?

  7. Pangaea says:

    B. O. T. is the label we all who claim birth right from Bermuda wear on our arm these days.

    On the records of the Mother Land we are referred to B.O.T.s. BRITISH OVERSEAS TERRITORIAL CITIZEN and not BERMUDIAN often pronounced” BIMUDAN”, if you look a map of the world you will find no such place or destination.

    We also share that same tile with several other invisable British Territories, you could say that we have been displaced ,but not so during WW11 as we were deemed invaluable , all that we cherish here does in the eyes off others over there does not matter.

    Bermuda gave many of her sons and daughters during that WW conflict.

    Are we not entitled a little respect.

    To put it bluntly , if Great Britain or the U.K claim to own Bermuda, simply because they control the Police and the Army with demonstrations of marching exhibitions on Front street along with certain mandated laws, it is normal, if you own something which you consider is priceless ,you are responsible for and then you are charged with maintaining and looking after the well being of your valuable possessions.

    Bermuda is struggling in more ways than one , our unfortunate negative financial position created to

    ” improve the quality and standard of life here”

    appears to go unnoticed, may I ask who is going to come to aid of my mothers sons and daughters ?

    A life lived in misery and struggle is a like half lived!

  8. Jon says:

    I didnt give much thought about Pride in Bermuda, that is until the first utterences of negativity and disproval. It was then that I immediately decided that I would not just show up to support, but that I would march alongside my equals. I hope to see many others marching in support.

  9. Erroneous says:

    Are you certain you want to maintain your stance that ‘shame is always wrong’? Really? In every single circumstance where a person feels shame, it’s wrong for them to feel that feeling? Please defend your position.

    • Syl Hayward-Harris says:

      Guilt says “I did something bad or wrong”. Shane says, “I AM something bad or wrong.” Shame is poisonous and counterproductive. It has free redeeming qualities.

      Great article, Zakiya.

  10. Syl Hayward-Harris says:

    Guilt says “I did something bad or wrong”. Shame says, “I AM something bad or wrong.” Shame is poisonous and counterproductive. It has few redeeming qualities.

    Great article, Zakiya.