Last weekend saw the capitals yearly Gay Pride celebrations, with this year being especially prominent as London had the honour of hosting World Pride. Although the celebrations were marred by the fact that many of the planned activities were scaled back (not helped by an absent Boris Johnson, who ironically was very much a figurehead in London’s bid for World Pride), this did not dampen spirits.
Hundreds of Liberal Democrats and many London Liberal Youth members across London took part in celebrations, with many marching including Leader of the Liberal Democrats on the London Assembly, Caroline Pidgeon and also Brian Paddick, our openly gay candidate for the recent London Mayoral elections. A highlight for many was the well received speech given by Simon Hughes MP on the main stage in Trafalgar Square in front of tens of thousands of people. Simon Hughes spoke of the Coalition commitment to Equal Marriage as well as a long standing Liberal Democrat commitment to LGBT and equality issues.
Earlier in the day Nick Clegg also gave a surprise speech to Stonewall activists, echoing many of the sentiments that Simon Hughes raised whilst also going as far to say that Churches should also have the right to hold same-sex marriage ceremonies. Clegg’s speech also coincided with the fact that the LGBT Rainbow Flag was raised above Whitehall for the first time in UK history. This decision was taken at the discretion of the local council and represented a huge step forward in the history of the gay rights movement in the UK.
Overall, the celebrations were a complete success and were another reminder that the Liberal Democrats always were and always will be the party that champions the LGBT movement and is firmly on the side of LGBT people, even in times of very vocal opposition from various Religious and Political opponents.
words by Josh Dixon