This Saturday I was at London Pride 2016. It was my first Pride and I was a little nervous leading up to it, not knowing what to expect. What I got was an incredible day of music, community and joy. My highlights are below, but the whole day was amazing, except for some of the weather.
1. Proliferation of flags
As a country, Britain tends to only be inundated with flags when football is on and then there are English and British flags everywhere. But flags are a symbol of pride in something, of a sense of belonging, and the amount of rainbow flags at Pride was a wonder to behold.
We were well and truly rainbowed.
2. Sadiq Khan
London Pride is sponsored by the Mayor of London, so Sadiq Khan walked in the parade and then addressed thousands of people in Trafalgar Square. I was lucky enough to be one of them and hear him talk about how he would fight homophobia and transphobia during his tenure as mayor.
So many people. Even for London. So many people in one place.
Good grief, it was crackling. I don’t think I’ve ever been anywhere that felt quite like it. The energy, the community, the sheer loveliness of everyone we talked to was incredible. And with various stages, family activities and a huge space to fill, it’s no wonder that it was so popular.
4. Danny Beard
We ended up at the Cabaret stage, watching singers and comedians. We were about to leave in search of drinks and food and maybe some chairs, when Danny Beard came on as the next host. They were incredible at reading the crowd, getting everyone involved and had a hell of a voice. Seriously, I would go and see them again.
Dat skirt though. So great.
The main stage had a BSL interpreter for the duration of Pride, signing the speeches, songs and introductions. The screens set up were split into three, with one section on main stage, one of the sign interpreter and one section for subtitles. In the special access section there were at least another two sign interpreters. The thought given to making Pride accessible was so great.
So the 1st section doesn’t have the sign interpreter in it in this photo, but that’s because he’s in the main section, signing & dancing with Alisha Dixon.
Pride was such a great experience, and I don’t think I’ve quite washed the glitter out of my hair yet. Roll on next year.