Here's the story of how My First Pride Parade ended up being halfway across the world in Trafalgar Square.
You know how the Dyke March always happens the day before Pride Sunday and all the dykes get roaring drunk and dance into the wee hours of the morning and the next day I would have to get up and get ready to DJ at the Shadowplay Stage and/or it would always be M's actual birthday, which meant I always missed the parade-part of the day? Well, none of that happened when we were in London.
Hip-hip-parade, as the kiddo used to say, adorably, when she was a tiny little peahead.
Would you please look at all the uniforms! Do we have all these uniforms, guys?! They're amazing. We were standing next to a group of boys who sounded just like Austin Powers, except gay:
"Hoh-hoh-hoh, baby, I'd like to shine those boots!"
"That one, right there. Oooh...that's the one. Right! Right!"
"Oh yeah, baby, let me polish that big, shiny badge, eh? You'd like that, wouldn't you?"
It was pretty hilarious. I've been around some randy queens, but these guys were something else entirely.
Rainbows. Hot pink tulle. Pale pink balloons. The queen. I could stand here all day long!
The parade was neatly separated into little groups, by organization or industry or occupation. Queers Without Borders! LGBT Against the Nazis! Queer Resistance! Student unions, teacher unions! Everyone just happy, happy, happy. I got all misty-eyed when the Gay Scouts marched by, some of them very young yet so strong and brave and enthusiastic in their chanting and smiles. What a beautiful thing.
Derby girls! Queer Quakers! Hate-free zones and leather daddies! All the things you expect to see. We were told that London Pride was much smaller than SF Pride, which I believe is true in numbers, but not in spirit.
These folks lacked neither zest nor zeal, and it was lovely to behold. M has been to several Pride parades across the US - Boston, New York, LA, SF - and agreed that it felt smaller, but was the least commercial and most community-driven, politically powerful one she'd been to. That's saying so much, don't you think?!
After two or so hours, we had to run off to meet a friend so we didn't see the very end of the parade, sadly, but it was magical just to have even been there a short while. I'm so glad we went and got to experience what it's like to be loud and proud in London, not just at the parade, but a few lesbian parties over the weekend as well. What a happy, boozy, dancey blur!
More coming soon...the Borough Market, the Tate, dinner at OXO, walking the Millennium Bridge, as well as the Sunday UpMarket and Old Spitalfields Market!