Colours Caribbean is calling for legal justification as to why participants of Cayman’s inaugural gay pride parade have been restricted from engaging in public displays of affection during the event.
The street procession, which is planned for Saturday 31 July, has been limited to 600 people. It was organised by the Cayman LGBTQ Foundation, who issued a list comprising of eight main rules.
The section which is now being challenged by Colours Caribbean is rule 5 which states, “Parade participants are required to refrain from improper conduct and public indecency including public displays of affection, whining or gyrating, exposing of private parts, public urination/defecation, etc.”
A statement released by Colours Caribbean on Wednesday 28 July said they received many concerns and questions surrounding the parade’s rules and guidelines. Those concerns are said to have prompted Colours Caribbean to review the government-issued guidelines, which they said conflict with those issued by Cayman LGBTQ Foundation.
The statement reads in part, “We … were only able to corroborate restrictions relating to social distancing with respect to participants and members of the public.”
According to Colours Cayman, they reached out to the Cayman Islands Government for clarity and were told that the stance against public displays of affection was “not derived from any relevant regulations or a Cabinet directive”.
Taking to social media, Noel Cayasso-Smith, the founder and president of the Cayman LGBTQ Foundation, posted a video in which he stated the rules and regulations of the parade were issued by the foundation.
“I would like to make it absolutely clear that the rules and regulations that have been imposed… by the foundation itself and [has] nothing to do with the Ministry of Health or the Ministry of Tourism”, said Cayasso-Smith.
In the 13-minute video, he explained that behaviours including such as drinking, nudity and anything that could be viewed as inappropriate were strictly prohibited.
“Our foundation is not going to condone that sort of behaviour, because that is not what we are about,” said Cayasso-Smith.
“This is our first pride parade, and we are very pleased that we have government dignitaries as well as H.E. the Governor Martyn Roper who will be marching with us.”
Section three of the LGBTQ-Foundation-issued guidelines warns that participants who fail to maintain social distancing or interact with members of the public by giving or receiving items could be fine up to $10,000 and/or two years imprisonment.
Section six of the same guidelines also states that the RCIPS is the final authority when deciding who to arrest or prosecute for violations of section three, pertaining to the mixing of participants and spectators.