London Pride summed up
As I was unable to attend Manchester Pride this year due to Euston Station being closed for the bank holiday. (Travellers take note). I made a point of going to Pride in London 2017 Parade. I was accompanied by my Danish friend who was visiting and had flown in from World Pride in Madrid. He was most impressed with our parade if only because it started during the day. Most things in Spain start as the rest of Europe are thinking of bed!
Rainbow flags were waved in abundance and even the Parliament building had been lit up in rainbow colours. This was to mark 50 years since the decriminalisation of homosexuality in England and Wales, and was the 45th annual Pride parade. Thousands of people lined the 1.4 mile route which began at 1pm from Portland place. The march passed through Oxford Circus and Regent street which was where I stood, ending at Whitehall.
Among the endless run of floats and marchers were staff from the Metropolitan Police, the London Fire Brigade and Ambulance Service. Joined by the armed forces. This was particularly moving in view of the recent tragic events that have affected us all. It was also good to see stars of Coronation Street supporting our cause and clearly having a great time as they passed by. I managed a few words with Dolly-Rose Campbell, who plays Gemma in the soap, as the floats paused.
I felt that some of the “corporate floats” were more interested in publicity rather than supporting the LGBT cause, however needs must where funding is concerned. Flag bearers from around the world, including countries where it is still illegal to be part of the LGBT community also took part. Bravely, we were supported by our Muslim brothers and sisters blending our culture with theirs in a very positive way.
The really surprising thing about London Pride is that it can be completely free to attend. Pack some iced wine or very chilled beer or soft drinks and some snacks, and a very entertaining affordable day can be achieved. The march itself was rather long but alternatively it is a victim of its own success. We have come a long way since the first march took place. I was thrilled to hear that a 15 year old son of a friend went along with his friends and had a great time, enjoying the freebies. He enjoyed the atmosphere on such a lovely summers day, describing the march as “brilliant”. Oh to be 15 again in these enlightened times!
Matthew King for Canal St Online.