A sonic cloud of disco and house music followed the crowd of beaming faces at Bermuda’s first-ever Pride celebration in late August. There were chants of solidarity and posters signaling a growing, yet mighty LGBTQ+ community primed to transform the sun-soaked, turquoise watered British Overseas territory. Found within the more than 6,000 attendees in the streets of Hamilton, the country’s capital, was a complicated, generations-long narrative of resilience and a sizable ecosystem of identities and experiences that helped lay fertile ground for this tremendous display of collective power.
“I’m from an era where it was taboo to even talk about the subject of being gay and most people didn’t even know what being gay meant,” says Mark Anderson, 52, who revealed that he had been arrested while in drag once during his younger years. “I was never convicted of a crime, but the law at that time, which is pretty much still on the books, is that you had to have on three pieces of clothing.”