600 to parade through the historic Pride Parade
(CNS): The Prime Minister, Governor, Ministers and Members of Parliament will join around 600 members of the public on Saturday when the Cayman LGBTQ Foundation hosts the first Cayman Islands Pride Parade. The foundation’s Noel Cayasso-Smith said he was extremely proud to have been able to host this historic event, and at 53, he didn’t think he would ever see the day when Cayman could embrace such an event, he said. at the CNS. But with strong support from the authorities and the entire private sector, he said he was delighted that this dream was becoming a reality.
But the event is not without controversy as Cayasso-Smith put in place some rules of the road for the parade itself to ensure that the foundation and the community at large will be proud of the first Pride event of Cayman.
Hosting the event during the COVID-19 pandemic means those marching in the parade on Saturday afternoon must be fully immunized and the Pride Party will then be limited to 1,000 people, according to social gathering regulations. Party attendees do not need to be vaccinated. The foundation, however, imposed additional requirements on parade participants.
Cayasso-Smith said the foundation is asking those in the parade not to consume alcohol along the approximately four-kilometer route from Seven Mile Public Beach to Tillies in Palm Heights, where the Pride Party will be held. He is also asking people to wear T-shirts to celebrate LGBTQ equality as part of the parade and to refrain from any display of undue affection. He said rainbow tutus, wings and all outfits would be welcome, but nudity would not be tolerated.
“All eyes will be on us and we fear people will rush to label and we don’t want to be seen as deviants,” he said. “The parade talks about our fight for equality. As this is the first event, we want to take things slowly and look forward to future events where we hope to have visitors from overseas.
Cayasso-Smith explained that the rules were there to ensure that the wider community views the LGBTQ community with respect and understands that this event is about the fight for fairness and equality and does not deliberately cause controversy.
The imposition of restrictions, especially on displays of affection, has raised concerns at Colors Caribbean, the longtime advocacy group that has played a fundamental role in the fight for equality of the LGBT community. The organization said preventing couples from holding hands or kissing undermines the fundamental message of “pride.”
“Pride was born as an event for the LGBTQIA + community in order to increase its visibility; that is, to be a socially separate group to stand up and promote themselves with pride, dignity and equality. Pride is the opposite of shame and social stigma, and equating public display of love with indecency is shameful and only stigmatizes LGBTQIA + love. As always, but more importantly this Saturday, Colors Caribbean fully endorses the public display of affection towards your romantic partner, regardless of your gender identity or respective sexual orientation, ”a spokesperson for the group told CNS.
In a press release yesterday, Colors praised the Cayman LGBTQ Foundation for hosting the event, but expressed concerns that the “rules” for the parade were coming from the government, a point Smith said incorrect.
Confirming plans for the event and asking people to act with dignity to prove opponents wrong and dispel myths about pride, Cayasso-Smith told CNS he was confident the event would bring honor to Cayman’s LGBTQ community.
The event begins at 3 p.m. on Seven Mile Public Beach. Upon their arrival in Tillies ahead of the start of the celebrations, Governor Martyn Roper, Prime Minister Wayne Panton and PPM MP Barbara Conolly (on behalf of the Leader of the Opposition, who is absent) will make brief statements in support of the event.
See more details and Smith’s video explaining the rules here.