Pride 2008

August 24, 2008 at 9:17 pm | Posted in Gay and Lesbian, General, London, Out and About, Sydney, Tourism, UK | Leave a comment
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One sunny Saturday in July (5th) was London’s gay pride parade.

I was surprised when I arrived at Oxford Street shortly before it began and found a spot along the route only one person back from the road. In Sydney when Mardi Gras rolls around in order to get a decent view you have to know someone with a balcony or mark out a spot early in the day. Perhaps London’s route is longer and so the crowd can spread out more? That or fewer spectators….

Pride 2008

Boris, Mayor of London, leads the parade

In my area the crowd and passer-bys were mostly into it and supportive. Some staff from Carphone Warehouse were outside snickering – but I guess it’s good that they stayed and watched. About 50 metres further on was a Christian fundamentalist preaching that homosexuality equals death. I don’t know whether he was moved on but once the parade started I didn’t hear him anymore.

Free speech and all that…

London’s parade seemed pretty moderate with equal amounts of skin and community groups. Comparing with Mardi Gras again, I find Sydney’s parade a lot sluttier than London. I suspect that this is because Sydney’s is held at night with a lot more alcohol having being consumed. By the same token, London’s parde is longer and set during the middle of the day – out of the shadows, into the light and proud.

Trafalgar Square  and Old Compton Street were even busier – easily bigger than Canada Day. The Square’s main stage had performances with food and community stalls around the edges. I think the latter is one of the major differences (and benefits) compared with Sydney.

In Sydney things quickly shift to clubbing and partying with limited attempts to expand the community (excluding the parade floats). In Sydney (as with London) there are activities on many days but the parade is ultimately the main day, the day most of the public acknowledge.

London starts during the middle of the day and has plenty of energy to go on through the afternoon and late into the night.

On that note London clearly wins out.

I had a lot of problems including photos into this entry so you’ll find them all at Flickr.

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