‘For once I can be myself,’ this was the slogan from the Samaritans, held up by thousands of spectators at this year’s London Pride event. This is one of the few moments where people from across the country dress up in wacky, brightly coloured clothing, to support those of every gender and sexuality, in a bid to make everyone feel accepted and proud of who they are.
“I think it’s such a good day, says Conner Skelsy, a regular spectator at the annual Pride march. “Everyone comes together to support one another and celebrate the fact we live in a country where we are free to do things like this.”
Every group you can think of took part in the parade, from large businesses like Nandos to public health services like the NHS to glamorous Drag Queens, draped in giant martini glasses. One policeman even made the national press when he broke ranks to propose to his boyfriend, in front of thousands of onlookers.
“Pride means inclusivity,” says Kate Stamp a proud supporter of the LGBT+ community. “There’s such a good vibe and togetherness. People are very kind, it’s a time when you can bring who you are on the inside out and be proud of that”
The parade started, that morning, in Marylebone and travelled along Regent Street, through Piccadilly Circus, into Trafalgar Square until it reached the final stop at White Hall Place. But, there’s more to this parade than just brightly coloured costumes and cheering crowds. Many people use this as an opportunity to shed light on charitable causes.
“Pride means being able to express who you are without having to worry,” says Jimmy Isaacs, HIV advocate. “For me it’s also a chance to educate people about HIV. So to me it means outreach, freedom and education.”
The recent Brexit vote looms over the residents of the UK, but this had no affect on the parade. In fact if you hadn’t watched the news, then you’d have no idea we are heading to an economic struggle.
“Regardless of what is happening with the EU something like this will never change,” says Pride spectator Bex Walton. “It’s all about our freedom to be ourselves.”
But it’s not just the UK that has descended into chaos, this year marked a tragic occasion in the LGBT+ community, as the club ‘Pulse’ in Orlando Florida was attacked by a mad man wielding a gun, leading to the death of 49 people and injuring 50. “Pride means freedom,” says concerned LGBT+ supporter, Cynthia Franklin. “We’re a small community that are more like family. When the Orlando shootings happened everyone in the LGBT+ community felt distraught, even if they didn’t know the victims. Everyone should be safe to be themselves.”