September 3, 2019 at 1:38 pm EDT | by Michael K. Lavers
More than 6000 attend first-ever Bermuda Pride parade
More than 6,000 people attended Bermuda’s first Pride parade that took place on Aug. 31, 2019. (Photo courtesy of Linda Bogle-Mienzer)

More than 6,000 people attended Bermuda’s first-ever Pride parade that took place in the British island territory’s capital of Hamilton on Aug. 31.

Activists from Barbados, Jamaica and other English-speaking countries in the Caribbean are among those who traveled to Bermuda for the parade and other Pride-related events. Clarien Bank, which is based in Bermuda, ahead of Pride announced a $10,000 donation to OUTBermuda, a local LGBTI advocacy group.

“It was historically epic,” Linda Bogle-Mienzer, a long-time LGBTI activist in Bermuda, told the Washington Blade on Monday. “It was this incredible feeling of a sense of belonging … it felt like I had been welcomed home by this big wave of rainbow hugs.”

“It was incredible,” added Bogle-Mienzer.

The parade took place roughly 14 months after Bermuda became the first jurisdiction in the world outside the U.S. to rescind marriage rights for same-sex couples.

Supreme Court Justice Charles-Etta Simmons in May 2017 issued a ruling that paved the way for gays and lesbians to legally marry in Bermuda. The Domestic Partnership Act — a law Gov. John Rankin signed that allows same-sex couples to enter into domestic partnerships as opposed to get married — took effect on June 1, 2018.

Bermuda’s top court last November ruled the Domestic Partnership Act is unconstitutional. Same-sex couples are currently able to legally marry in Bermuda, even though the territory’s government has appealed the ruling to the Privy Council in London, which has the final say in legal cases from Bermuda and other British territories.

“Yesterday sent a powerful message to the world that there is a place in Bermuda where, for a couple of hours, everybody just came together,” Bogle-Mienzer told the Blade. “I was happy. That’s really was what it was all about. They just came together, were happy. And there was love and there was peace and there was laughter and there wasn’t any fear. It was just acceptance of whether you were black, white, gay, poor, straight or whatever.”

“There is a lot of places we can move from there,” added Bogle-Mienzer.

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Washington Blade. Follow Michael

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