The organiser of the second annual Pride Parade, has described as outstanding and positive the turnout at this year’s climax of a month-long celebration of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) movement.
PRIDE Barbados coordinator RoAnn Mohammed told Barbados TODAY she was pleased with attendance at this year’s march.
Given that the inaugural launch in 2018 was shrouded by controversy, Mohammed described this year’s parade as “a positive experience”. Pride committee members were initially surprised by the turnout, she added.
Mohammed said: “Last year there was a lot more hostility to the news of a parade happening. If you look at the comments on social media, there has been a huge shift.
“In looking at the coverage surrounding the parade this year, I would say the majority of it has been positive.”
The colourful and lively parade throughout the capital on Sunday travelled from Rihanna Drive on to Mighty Grynner Highway, Fontabelle, Broad Street, Wharf Road and concluded at the Bay Street Esplanade.
The exuberant marchers dazzled Bridgetown onlookers as they waved their rainbow colours and danced the streets in confidence.
The marchers included not only members of the LGBTQI community but also allies like Reverend Ogun Holder, a Barbadian living in Boston who specially flew in for the march. Prior to the parade, he held a church service in the Law Faculty at the University of West Indies at Cave Hill which was open to the public.
Trans advocate DiDi Winston was also honoured as a stalwart in the Barbadian LGBT community by PRIDE Barbados.
Mohammed noted that there has been a shift in the public’s attitude towards the LGBT community. But, she said, homophobia, transphobia and comfortably accessing services continues to be a problem. While advocating for legislative change, she emphasized that societal change was necessary as well.
She told Barbados TODAY: “There is a lot of work that needs to be done still because there is still a lot of systemic issues that the community are facing in society but we see that progress is happening.
“We talk about legislative change a lot but I do think that societal change is equally important and I think it is important to see allies stepping out and holding their counterparts accountable, and showing their support for the community because it a great thing to be an ally in private and in secret but there is no point of you allyship if you cannot come out and stand up with those who the actual vulnerable ones.”
Although June 30 marks the end of PRIDE Month, Mohammed disclosed discussions will continue as the Eastern Caribbean Alliance for Diversity and Equality (ECADE) plans to host a global meeting on the decriminalisation of same-sex intimacy, from July 22 to July 26 in Barbados.