Neither scattereed showers nor financial problems stopped participants from living it up at World Pride in London this week.Though cars and floats had been nixed at the last minute—and the start time had been unceremoniously moved up—more than 25,000 people still took part in this year’s march on Saturday, with contingents from Brazil, the U.S., Germany, Italy, Poland, Turkey, the Philippines and beyond. Designated as a protest (to shift security costs back onto the city), the parade started at Baker Street and went down Oxford and Regent Streets. Crowds then made a clear path to Trafalgar Square, where organizers passed the metaphorical torch onto Toronto for World Pride 2014.
Human rights activist Peter Tatchell, who had helped organize the first official LGBT celebration in London in 1972, paid tribute to 40 years of Pride and led the crowd in a chant of, “Someday we all will be free.”
At Trafalgar, live performances by acts like the Supreme Fabulettes, Corey Hart, Boy George and headliner Deborah Cox entertained the rainbow-clad crowd, who didn’t let little a midday rain dampen their spirits. Street parties planned in Soho, however, were banned.
But Tatchell, who had been critical of the celebration being curtailed, said it actually helped return Pride to its origins: “In some ways this has been uplifting. People weren’t expecting all the razzmatazz on floats, celebrities or big-name entertainment acts. They attended because they believe it’s important to show LGBT people worldwide.”
Photos: Jeffrey James Keyes