At around 6:15pm on Sunday, 27 June, the rainbow-coloured Pride flag was raised on the beach by the Palm Heights hotel on West Bay Road in support of the Cayman Islands LGBTQ+ community.
“This is the first time that the Pride flag has officially been raised in Cayman,” said Noel Cayasso-Smith, founder and president of Cayman LGBTQ Foundation which organised the event.
“We had about 75 people in attendance and it was an evening of great positivity, and it represents a step forward for the LGBTQ community in Cayman,” he told the Compass.
Cayasso-Smith said the flag-raising ceremony was not met with any opposition, but the Cayman Ministers Association has since expressed dismay the event was allowed to happen.
“This was very insensitive of them to have raised the flag,” said Pastor Bob Thompson, CMA president.
“Our desire is not to spread discord or to stir trouble however, we do believe that by raising the flag they have shown complete disregard for the thinking and ideals of the people of this country,” he told the Compass.
Cayasso-Smith disagreed, saying the flag-raising ceremony was done in a “tasteful manner so as not to offend the larger community”.
Each year, many countries recognise June as Pride month, in which parades and celebrations are held in support of LGBTQ+ rights. Cayasso-Smith said in years gone by members of Cayman’s LGBTQ+ community would have had to leave the country if they wanted to participate in such celebrations.
“It’s a great feeling to know that we can now celebrate as not just the LGBTQ community but as a country, when Pride month returns,” he said. “Now our people don’t have to leave Cayman to celebrate, we can celebrate on island in a way that is respectful to all.”
The Pride parade, originally set for June, has been rescheduled for 31 July, Cayasso-Smith said, due to COVID-19 protocols.