Saturday 7th July was the annual Pride parade in London, when LGBT+ from all around the country get together to celebrate our rights and identities with a colourful parade, lots of glitter, and a characteristically wild party afterwards. I was lucky to be chosen to take part in the parade and I was marching with friends as part of the group representing the University of Cambridge, made up of students and staff at the university. It was the first time our university has been represented in the parade so it really was an honour to take part!
I travelled down to London around lunchtime ready to meet with the rest of our parade group in King’s Cross just ahead of the start of the parade. We made our way down to Great Portland Street where the parade started - there are over 3000 people taking part so we had to wait for some time before we could get going! Even though we had to wait, it was a great party atmosphere as we were gathered with so many other people who had travelled especially for the day, and with Pride coinciding with the England-Sweden World Cup match, London was super busy. The whole parade takes about 2 hours start to finish, finishing up at Trafalgar Square, where there is a large stage with musicians and various other acts performing. So many people had lined the streets to come watch us, and I even spotted some friends along the way!
Sadly, the start of the parade was hijacked by a transphobic group, which especially given that the origins of the pride were in a riot started by black trans women, this was particularly sad and angering, but we were determined to not let this spoil the day. Trans people are an integral part of the LGBT+ community and Pride is a place for us to come together and show anyone who thinks otherwise that we are inclusive, and will protect and love each other! When something like this happens it really makes you think about what Pride means to you — there is often a lot of debate about whether Pride should be a party or a protest, but for me, I think it is both. The LGBT+ community has gained a lot of rights already, and that is something that we should celebrate, along with our diversity, but we still have a long way to go in gaining equality across the whole world and Pride should also be a place where we can recognise and protest that. While primarily my day was one of celebration, I’ve since been thinking a lot about what I can do to help further LGBT+ rights and continue to make sure that I can be as inclusive as possible.
After the parade though, my celebrations continued - my friends and I took a little walk across London and had drinks and a picnic in front of the Tate Modern. Later in the evening, we went over to Soho, which is one of the gay areas of London to hit up the clubs. I don’t think I have ever seen London so busy, and I didn’t get home until the early hours of the morning! If you’re going to any of the other Prides taking place across the country over the next few weeks, remember to have fun, and stay safe!