Why celebrate Pride for just a month when you could keep the party going well into the year?
WorldPride might have ended in June, but for five days this fall, a fete for LGBTQIA rights is touching down in the Caribbean. Kicking off on 25 September with happy hour at Henry's Ultimate Gin Bar and continuing with a parade, a concert, and parties galore, Curaçao Pride features entertainment from home and abroad, with the demographics to match.
“It is a very nice mix between local and international visitors,” says Curaçao Pride president Frank Holtslag. “Curaçao Pride is becoming increasingly famous internationally, [so] the number of international visitors is also increasing every year…. We now have a relatively large pride for a small Caribbean island.”
When it first debuted in 2013, the event initially met with disapproval from the community, but local attitudes have been changing over the years—albeit slowly. “During the first edition we had a lot of resistance from the police and also from the church movements,” Holtslag says. “This resistance is gradually decreasing.”
On September 26, a free parade will take over the streets of Willemstad, starting from Rif Fort, in the Unesco World Heritage–designated historic area, and wending its way through the city to Wilhelmina Park, where a concert from DJ RO-1, JJ Randy Ray, DJ Maarten Schakel, and Paul Morris is scheduled to cap things off. The Rainbow Lounge XL happy hour is the following evening, and on Saturday, one of the most popular events takes place: the White Party, held poolside at the Floris Suite Hotel. The weekend wraps with the Navigaytion Sea Parade, a DJ’d catamaran ride from downtown Willemstad along the coast to Fuik Beach, and a Sip & Sing karaoke night.
“We notice that we are making progress in the acceptance locally, with baby steps and a little more every year,” Holtslag says. “We are not there yet, but are already further than we dared to dream.”