Column: Pride, Pride Month & Why They Matter

June 22, 2022 | 4 Comments

Taj Donville-Outerbridge Bermuda June 21 2022[Written by Taj Donville-Outerbridge]

‘Pride’ is first and foremost, a protest! ‘Pride’ is a march held annually to protest the oppression, discrimination, and violence faced by the LGBTQ+ community. ‘Pride’ is the physical embodiment of the grassroots fight for equality and equity. ‘Pride’ is held in most jurisdictions across the globe.

The first ‘Pride’, or gay liberation march as it was once called, was held on June 28th, 1970, in three cities across the US. It was held to commemorate the one-year anniversary of what many consider to be the birth of the global ‘Pride’ movement, the Stonewall riots. Prior to the riots in 1969, a large public gathering of LGBTQ+ people was unthinkable everywhere.

To celebrate the birth of this global movement, many other jurisdictions, companies, and organizations begun to hold ‘Pride’ events around this date leading to June being known as the month of ‘Prides’. June has since been adopted as Global Pride Month by most countries, corporations, and many international governing bodies. While most ‘Prides’ are still held within June, some are not. No matter when ‘Pride’ happens, June should still be respected as Pride Month.

Pride Month, similarly to Black History Month or Heritage Month, is a month dedicated to the LGBTQ+ community. Pride Month is about global and national recognition of the community, reflecting on our past, celebrating our triumphs, and charting a course for our future. Both ‘Pride’ and Pride Month are about visibility and building community.

‘Bermuda Pride’

Relatively new on the scene, ‘Bermuda Pride’ was only founded in 2019 with the first march taking place August that same year. While the idea for ‘Pride’ had been floating around the local LGBTQ+ community, the three founders were ignited by a regional conference held in Jamaica in February 2019. At this conference, we learned that Jamaica, Barbados, and Trinidad, had held ‘Prides’ for many years prior. This was a moment of reflection for all four of us, as we considered Bermuda to be miles ahead of these countries in terms of LGBTQ+ related issues. While Bermuda had made many legal advancements, we were far behind in terms of community building and national events. So, in response, the three founders, upon their return to Bermuda, decided to begin planning the first ‘Pride’ and thus ‘Bermuda Pride’ was born.

The founders of ‘Bermuda Pride’ chose the last weekend of August 2019, as it happened to coincide with the 25th anniversary of the Stubbs Bill, which in 1994 ended our sodomy laws, essentially decriminalizing homosexuality. This was and still is a major triumph as many countries within the region still have not followed suit. I think it is safe to assume that given the cultural significance of that last weekend in August for Bermuda, that ‘Pride’ will continue to happen around that time.

A look at the Bermuda Pride event held in 2019

Why Pride Month Matters?

Pride Month symbolizes recognition. When companies, governments, and individuals recognize Pride Month, they are signalling to the LGBTQ+ community that we are welcome, we belong, and we matter. While many may argue that so-called ‘rainbow washing’ is pointless, but when we, as LGBTQ+ people, see a rainbow flag or read words of support, we smile inside. We smile because we are finally being seen. I can guarantee that those rainbow flags and statements of support, have saved lives…and that is powerful! Pride Month offers us a rare chance to bask in an outpour of support, love, and joy…something all people deserve but queer people rarely receive.

Pride Month symbolizes reflecting on our history and celebrating our triumphs. While the world may still not be a completely safe environment us to thrive, we have made huge strides on many fronts. Over 100 countries have dropped most of their anti-LGBTQ+ laws and over 30 jurisdictions have legalized same sex marriage. In addition, there are many LGBTQ+ people who have been fundamental to social justice movements, academia, fashion, and the arts around the world. Pride Month gives us this rare opportunity to unapologetically celebrate our heroes in a mainstream way and we must utilize it.

Pride Month symbolizes charting a course for our future. We still have a long way to go. Thanks to a recent wave of conservativism among governments, the LGBTQ+ community is under legislative attack both in Bermuda and across the globe. Pride Month offers us an opportunity to unite, garner support for our cause, and strategize how we can co-create a society that truly welcomes us.

Pride Month still matters when ‘Pride’ is not in June. In places where ‘Pride’ is not held in June, like Bermuda, it is paramount that local LGBTQ+ organizations still maintain or even increase their visibility during Global Pride Month. In addition to the reasons listed above, recognizing it will help strengthen our sense of unity and fellowship with the global LGBTQ+ community and open the door for more nation-to-nation collaboration. In Bermuda’s case, given the large number of international companies and ex-pat workers, recognizing it will prove essential for effective community building. Bermudian LGBTQ+ people and allies in the advocacy space should seize every opportunity to increase positive visibility and awareness – this is one such opportunity.

So, to echo the sentiments of my dear friend, Linda Bogle-Mienzer, it is very unfortunate and disheartening that neither the government nor any local organization has bothered to publish a statement of support in the media during Pride Month. It is my hope that in the coming years, I will not be the only one who takes the initiatives and has the forethought to celebrate and recognize Pride Month on this scale. This is a call to action to the government, to local and international businesses, to charities [especially Bermuda’s only LGBTQ+ charity], and to individuals. This is the time to go the extra mile to not only show your support – through actions and words – but to make your support known to the public. Visibility saves lives!

In light of our recent National Heroes Day holiday and in the spirit of Pride Month, I would like to end this piece by recognizing and celebrating some of my local heroes. Everyone on this exclusive list has had a positive impact on my life and they will undoubtedly, continue to have a positive impact on the lives of countless others. Whether it’s through bold activism, fearless living, continued allyship or just showing up, everyone on this list embodies the definition of a hero and are thus, certainly worth celebrating. Many of them identify as LGBTQ+, while some of them are allies but what they all have in common is that they are alive – flowers are for the living after all. In addition to showcasing my heroes, I will also be highlighting the key quality that I have learned from each of them.

  • Leadership – The Hon. Renee Webb, J.P.
  • True & Unwavering Allyship – Kennita Perry & Tawana Tannock
  • Dedication – Ashun Wolffe, Chen Foley, Elizabeth Christopher, David Northcott, & Zakiya Johnson Lord
  • Unapologetic Visibility – Linda & ChrisLin Bogle-Mienzer, Mark “Sybil” Anderson, & Chrissy Dior
  • Unconditional Love – Dr. Tracy Harney, Josie Outerbridge, & Selena “VaVa” Fields
  • Resilience – Onuri Smith & Shadaunte Tucker
  • Creativity – Nkosi “Da’Khari Love” Hollis & Diamond Outerbridge

- Taj Donville-Outerbridge is a Bermudian activist and student studying at Kings College London. Most importantly, however, he is human. He can be reached via Instagram @_king.taj_ or via email @ tdonvilleouterbridge@yahoo.com.

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Comments (4)

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  1. Joe Bloggs says:

    “‘Pride’ is first and foremost, a protest! ‘Pride’ is a march held annually to protest the oppression, discrimination, and violence faced by the LGBTQ+ community.”

    Yes. And in Bermuda it is a protest against the discriminatory policies of our “Progressive” Government! Shameful!

    • Answer says:

      No government in charge ever wanted it and one them won 30/6 base on what they told the voters they had planned before getting voted in. Any government that pushes SSM on the table will never win. Ask the OBA to push this to front of their next election promise and see how they smile in your face without telling you the truth. The FDM party said they would support SSM and where are they today? ghost!!!

      • saud says:

        The reason for this is that the majority of Bermudians are bigots. Small minded, nosey, bigots.

  2. saud says:

    Remember when a cruise ship full of of overspending gays wanted to visit Bermuda?
    The church said No way…the church decided that Bermudas’ economy didn’t need any gay money. Aren’t you glad you live in a theocracy?

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