For many in Cayman, this Saturday, 31 July, marks the date of a very auspicious occasion – one that has been a long time in the making.
The island’s first-ever Gay Pride Parade is scheduled to start at Seven Mile Public Beach at 3pm, heading south on West Bay Road to Palm Heights hotel where the parade ends and the party begins. Palm Heights was also the site for the raising of the Pride flag on 27 June; again, a first for Cayman.
The Health Services Authority will be providing wristband tagging from 8:30am-2:30pm at Public Beach (only those who have been vaccinated against COVID may participate in the parade), then everyone will line up, ready for kick-off, no doubt with great enthusiasm.
Noel Cayasso-Smith, founder and president of the Cayman LGBTQ Foundation, said there were about 75 people in attendance at the flag-raising ceremony on 27 June. If the positive response ahead of the parade is anything to go by, that will be a fraction of the turnout expected on Saturday. Registration has reached the maximum of 600 people allowed to join the march and Governor Martyn Roper, Premier Wayne Panton and MP Barbara Conolly have announced that they will be walking in the parade, then speaking afterwards at the Palm Heights event. They met with Cayasso-Smith earlier in the week to show their support.
Members of the public have been promoting the event on social media, while Butterfield Bank posted a photo of its main branch on Albert Panton Street swathed in multi-coloured lights, under the message: “In support of Cayman’s first Pride March on Saturday, 31 July 2021, our Butterfield Place Banking Centre will be illuminated in rainbow colours, a symbol of equality and LGBTQ+ rights.”
Cayasso-Smith enthused about how members of the community had rallied behind the upcoming historic event.
“I feel happy and proud that this could take place in the Cayman Islands,” he said. “I also feel proud to see the support we are receiving and to have other companies celebrate Pride in the Cayman Islands for the first time.
“We have received a very positive response and support from the community and we have also received a great response with the registering of people for the parade.”
Music, dancing and celebration
The parade is expected to reach Palm Heights hotel by 4:45pm, when Cayasso-Smith will welcome attendees, followed by speeches from dignitaries.
From there, the party will officially get going with DJ Glen spinning the tunes from around 6pm, as well as providing music for the Philippine Dance Troupe due to take to the stage soon after.
There are also LED dance performances on the schedule and a drag act from none other than Miss Delicious, with DJ Chuck and DJ Alic stepping up to the deck at different times in the evening.
“All can expect a great time and good entertainment,” Cayasso-Smith said, adding that he hoped everyone would come out and be swept up in the feeling of goodwill. He also reminded people that although they must be vaccinated to be part of the parade, it is not a requirement for the party at Palm Heights.
If people really want to get into the spirit of Pride early, they can head to Bevvy bar (in the former Margaritaville Resort) at 7pm on Friday, 30 July, for the pre-party, where DJ Chuck will be playing music until late. Food and drink will be on sale.
| For more information about the Cayman LGBTQ Foundation, visit https://www.facebook.com/caymanlgbtqf.