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My First Gay Pride Parade: London Came Out in Brilliant Solidarity

A part of me ached at the thought that, back home, the Indian Penal Code still criminalises ‘acts of homosexuality’.

Published
LGBT
3 min read
The Gay Pride Parade 2017 in London was the first pride parade I ever witnessed.
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The Gay Pride Parade 2017 in London was the first pride parade I ever witnessed.

I made up my way from Oxford Circus to Regent Street, crossing the many shops displaying rainbow colours in support of the event. I managed to get right up front, amongst a line of thousands of spectators cheering for the thousands in the passing parade.

It was nothing short of a spectacle. The participants danced, played music, dressed as their favourite superheroes (one even the queen) and displayed an infectious energy. It was nothing like I had seen before – a celebration of the LGBT community on this scale.

A part of me ached at the thought that, back home, the Indian Penal Code still criminalises ‘acts of homosexuality’.

A part of me ached at the thought that, back home, the Indian Penal Code still criminalises ‘acts of homosexuality’.
A part of me ached at the thought that, back home, the Indian Penal Code still criminalises ‘acts of homosexuality’.
(Photo Courtesy: Vasudha Sahgal)

I thought I would walk along in a little bit, leaving them behind, but the glee was contagious.

There were close to 300 groups that walked – including various prestigious colleges, teachers’s associations, ethnic groups and specific countries like Taiwan, raising their rainbow flags and taking ‘pride’ in their choice and their sexuality.

How does an event like this, associated with the rights of a section which has been marginalised for decades in society, become a success, I wondered? Surely it had to do with the unified solidarity that London displayed for the Pride Parade that weekend. Ahead of the parade, Mayor Sadiq Khan hosted a Pride Reception for the members of the LGBTQI – the first of its kind in seven years. He acknowledged that these were “tough times for the LGBT+ community” and that “We've got to make sure we're vigilant against anybody who incites hatred.”

There were close to 300 groups that walked – including various prestigious colleges, teachers’s associations, ethnic groups and specific countries like Taiwan.
There were close to 300 groups that walked – including various prestigious colleges, teachers’s associations, ethnic groups and specific countries like Taiwan.
(Photo Courtesy: Vasudha Sahgal)

The Prime Minister, Theresa May was as vociferous in her support stating (in a video message during the parade) that,

The UK will challenge governments that criminalise homosexuality or practise violence and discrimination against LGBT people.
Security forces in full swing protected their LGBT+ citizens and made sure the event continued uninterrupted.
Security forces in full swing protected their LGBT+ citizens and made sure the event continued uninterrupted.
(Photo Courtesy: Vasudha Sahgal)

What I saw was, several pillars of society participating in the parade in tandem.

Security forces in full swing protected their LGBT+ citizens and made sure the event continued uninterrupted. For a few minutes, a handful of protestors (protesting against the march) made their way to the fold, but since security was tight, they quickly scuffled away and their voices were drowned by the thousands and thousands of voices full of love and positivity.

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What I experienced was a city, a country so welcoming to – and so inclusive of – all its citizens, no matter their sexual orientations, that it warmed my heart. Business giants such as Disney too marched alongside other groups in the 2 km parade walk.

“Love Happens Here” – was the theme of Pride in London this year and rack my brains as I might, I couldn’t think of a better moniker.

What I experienced was a city, a country so welcoming to – and so inclusive of – all its citizens, no matter their sexual orientations, that it warmed my heart.
What I experienced was a city, a country so welcoming to – and so inclusive of – all its citizens, no matter their sexual orientations, that it warmed my heart.
(Photo Courtesy: Vasudha Sahgal)
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(Vasudha Sahgal is passionate about travel, food and words. She has contributed to various publications like The Tribune and Huffington Post. She had a stint in advertising as a trainee copywriter with Ogilvy and Mather. She’s working on some stories, one of which is available on kindle as“Life of Three”. Find her rambling at @vasudha1)

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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