Following on from our successful presence at the Birmingham Pride parade I joined the Amnesty contingent at the Pride London parade on Saturday. Well if you thought the Birmingham Pride was fantastic then this was something else altogether. The number of floats, groups, placards, banners and people taking part was amazing. The Amnesty presence in London wasn’t as creative as the local parade so no fabulous outfits. However, there was around 25-30 committed activists plus unconnected people who joined us, crowds asking for our stickers, placards waving, leaflets being handed out and the fantastic float. The float had a huge inflated rainbow in yellow, green and pink (see above), placards all over, flags on the rear and a stereo playing around ten songs with love in the title. The people taking part had great enthusiasm and energy. They came from London, Brighton and Bournmouth and no doubt elsewhere too.
One interesting difference to the Birmingham Pride event is that because it was an LGBT network organised group those taking part were mainly from the LGBT community but not exclusively. For me the low point was a dignified counter-demo organised by a group of Christians. They held placards suggesting the marchers were lets say misguided but the fact they are able to have their freedom of speech is to be applauded and they were outnumbered by the gay Christians in the parade. In some ways this all reinforced that human rights are for all of us whatever our religion or sexual orientation.
I would like to thank Kim Manning-Cooper and the activists from the LGBT Network who organised the Amnesty presence in the parade for their hard work planning what was a fantastic and enjoyable time at Pride London. To find out more about Amnesty International UK’s work on LGBT rights see www.amnesty.org.uk/lgbt
For the report on our presence at Birmingham Pride see the Central Birmingham AI blog at http://amnestybrum.wordpress.com/2010/05/31/proud-about-pride-2010/