A small group of us ventured out into the blazing sunshine on Saturday to celebrate at London’s Pride parade. I just wanted to talk about how proud I am of Pride, and of London.
To watch the crowds cheer as wave after wave of people walked by made me so thrilled to be a part of a group that only wanted to bloster confidence in other humans. The #lovehappenshere and #loveislove echoed the sentiments throughout the day. The biggest cheers from the crowd came when the #gayasians, gay Muslim men, and an elderly transgender woman walked by, showing support not only for the LGBT community but also for the Muslim community in a move that I found to be heart-warming and so in sync with the impression that I get from London on a daily basis.
To me humanity has always been something to be cherished. I find that I feel most strongly about the rights of other humans. No one person can say that they are better than another just because of their beliefs, skin colour or any other factors that sometimes threaten to tear communities apart. I have been bought up to have liberal views and I am proud of that. To have a day dedicated to people that have suffered through history just for loving someone that ‘society’ deemed wrong is an indication of how far we have come and where we are heading and I couldn’t be happier that we are. No person should be judged on their own personal preference. Who is anyone else to say what you should do with your own life?
I think one of the reasons I have stayed in London so long is that I am proud to be a part of a city that embraces so many different cultures and promotes diversity and inclusiveness. With all of the atrocities in the last few months it was, quite frankly, brilliant to see so many people out in the streets celebrating and not staying inside cowering. I’m not sure that London will ever be cowed. Just like the LGBT community, people are willing to fight for the right to live a life of their own choosing without fear of oppression.
The whole day was just filled with fun, bubbles, glitter, colour and joy. At one point the whole crowd was singing Britney Spears, hitting a rainbow coloured beach ball around whilst police looked on smiling. Speaking of, I have to commend the police who were out in force. For the majority of the year these men and women are often avoided in the street but at any major event are celebrated. We sat by two policeman who had a queue of people wanting photos with them. The boundaries were down and they were as covered in glitter as anyone else. It reminds me of a scene I saw at Notting Hill Carnival a couple of years ago, two policeman took down a man who had been trying to steal from a house and the crowd gave such an almighty cheer for the policeman whilst pantomime booing the thief. The NHS also drove by to rapturous applause and chants of ‘NHS,NHS,NHS!’ whilst the Labour Party also walked to the now familiar chant of ‘Oh, Jeremy Corybn.’ The only boos of the day came as the Conservative Party walked past, followed by even bigger chants of ‘Oh, Jeremy Corbyn.’
To watch the hundreds of people line the street as the parade went past is an indication of changing times. In 1972, only 45 years ago, there were only 2,000 participants, and now the numbers have swelled to a million revellers and around 260,000 participants with massive support from corporations and the public. The only thing that makes me sad is that there is a need for a day that acknowledges this. It should be common. It shouldn’t need any attention bought to it, because it is a ‘normal’ thing. Not one person is born with any preconceived notions of how the world should be and it is only passed on to us. We just have to hope that we are taught by the right people and that one day there will be no need to be taught at all.
I am proud of my fellow Londoners for supporting all, proud of the LGBT community for always being themselves, proud of the Muslim community for staying strong even when a few are trying to tarnish their religion, proud to have friends that share my views and proud of the direction we are heading. That hopefully in another 45 years or sooner the whole world will be of the same mind and will believe that #lovehappenshere.