By Amara Iqbal
Rainbows and glitter flooded the streets on Saturday at London’s Pride 2019, with an estimated 1.5 million people turning up to the event. This was praised as Britain’s greatest and most diverse Pride parade yet.
The parade began when Mayor of London Sadiq Khan cut the banner to open the march. Before the march had started he stated the importance of Pride, mentioning the ‘heart-breaking’ pictures of the lesbian couple that were attacked on a night bus.
MPs including Angela Rayner, the shadow education minister, and defence secretary Penny Mordaunt, were also part of the march.
Even No. 10 Downing Street was given a makeover by the London Flower school, as a floral arch went over the door flanked by two signs reading ‘Love is Love’.
Other pride attendees were actor Ian Mckellen, famous for his role as Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings, who walked through Piccadilly Circus.
Celebrities including Grammy and Tony Award winner Billy Porter who had appeared on stage.
Pop star Sam Smith attended his first pride march with Queer Britain, the organisation that is trying to arrange London’s first LGBTQ museum.
The LGBTQI Muslims walked the march holding signs saying, ‘love is not haram’. They felt it was really important for LGBT Muslims to be visible, because many members from the LGBT community that are Muslims are afraid to be seen by their families.
The group Lesbians for Trans Rights marched as part of the Queer Liberation contingent, showing that Lesbians are not threatened by trans rights, as last year anti-trans protestors who had interrupted the parade and forced their way at the front, carried signs saying “Transactivists erase lesbians”.
Fortunately, this year there was no repeat of such incidents, but activists prepared and printed thousands of flyers to advise people how to respond. More than 80 police officers joined alongside the march, and said there were no arrests made and that the parade had continued ‘peaceful and happy’.
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