Birmingham hosted an estimated 70,000 people at its two day Pride event that takes place in the gay quarter around Hurst Street each year. The parade kicked off at midday from the civic quarter with thousands of people lining the streets to watch businesses, charities, and social clubs marching through the city, or dancing on flamboyant floats. See parade pictures here.
The main sponsor this year was HSBC, and it was great to see so much support for Pride from businesses national and local – with representatives marching from PwC, KPMG, Deloitt, Gowlings WLG, Pinsent Masons, NHS, Fire Service, Barclays, JLR, National Grid, and so many more.
It was sad but unsurprising to see on social media some negative response to this outpouring of joy in the city. Such homophobia should remind us of the roots of Pride parades; they were not born of a need to celebrate being gay, but for the right of LGBT people to exist without persecution.
Literally hundreds of artists filled the three stages inside the ticketed site. Dozens of drag artists and vocalists filed through the hot-pink carpeted Cabaret Stage compered by the very rude Sandra. The Hippodrome’s Kinky Boots cast did a couple of brilliant routines from the show which is coming to town next spring. The dance stage had sets by renowned DJs such as DJ Zinc. Top highlights from the main stage for me were 80s legend Howard Jones, SuRie (our diva from Eurovision), and Jake Shears (Scissor Sisters) who brought his unashamedly flamboyant Freddie-esque act to Pride as he starts to promote his new single. He was simply outstanding.
It’s not all about the partying, of course. Over the last five years Birmingham Pride have raised over a whopping £300,000 for good causes around the city. This year it has a focus on homelessness and is supporting SIFA Fireside, St. Basils, and Birmingham LGBT. Apposite choices given a disproportionate 24% of homeless young people identify as LGBT, and of those 77% say that coming out to their parents was a major factor in them ending up homeless [source: The Albert Kennedy Trust].
A brilliant weekend with friends, thanks all who made it so brilliant!
And now, the photos…