Cutbacks can't strip London Pride of its fun

Thousands defy organisational glitches and weather to join a scaled-down parade

London's Pride appeared somewhat diminished yesterday. But even the scaling down of the capital's annual gay celebration to a walking procession, with no cars, buses or floats – due to financial and organisational problems – couldn't dampen the spirits of thousands who joined the parade.

The number of spectators was also noticeably down and the march was restricted to one side of the road. Chris Bryant MP said the event was an "embarrassment" to London, and London's Mayor, Boris Johnson, was criticised for not stepping in to bolster the event.

Marking the 40th anniversary of the first gay pride march in the city, what Pride London lacked in floats and special effects it made up for in personality. A slim tanned angel wearing only silver underwear twirled on high heels, fluttered his eyelids and spread his wings. The crowd whistled its appreciation. Elsewhere, a man in a top hat danced with a stuffed pink flamingo while the London Symphonic Band played Lady Gaga. Six women wearing exotic fluorescent wigs walked arm in arm, and campaign groups such as Calm Words and Christians Together At Pride marched alongside men and women dressed as judges and royalty, complete with wigs and robes.

The streets around Trafalgar Square filled with men and women singing: "If you are queer and you know it, clap your hands" and the gay anthem "YMCA".

A group of men in speedos mimed a swimming race, complete with inflatable sharks. Passers-by were entertained by a group of cheerleaders doing a choreographed dance routine directed by a six-foot tall brunette transvestite in a long slinky dress.

Not that every outfit was outrageous. A blonde twentysomething man wore a simple white T-shirt with the words "I like boys".

The man with the flamingo, Chris Philpott, 27, from Tasmania, celebrating his first Pride Day, said: "I feel like I can be happy here. I can be out. You walk down the street and no one even looks sideways, regardless of what you are wearing or whose hand you are holding."

Peta Evans, 34, from Brighton, said: "As long as I can remember, all the kids treated me as not being one gender or another. There were boys, there were girls, and then there was me. My parents are coming around to it slowly. They struggle but they are lovely people, they want to be supportive, and they are doing their best."

After two and a half hours the parade petered out as people got ready to party in Soho. Simon Stratford, a 48-year-old granddad, sat on the kerb smoking a cigarette. Wearing a blonde wig that would put Dolly Parton to shame, he sported a sheer negligee with pink bra and a white thong. His pink high-heel boots were to one side, his bored fiancé on the other.

"I feel accepted," he said. "Everything's changed. It's just great. Males are very anti-gay because it's a macho thing, but when you get them one-to-one they accept you."

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Life and Style
A monstrous idea? Body transplants might no longer be science fiction
Science An Italian neurosurgeon believes so - and it's not quite as implausible as it sounds, says Steve Connor
Demba Ba (right) celebrates after Besiktas win on penalties
footballThere was no happy return to the Ataturk Stadium, where the Reds famously won Champions League
Arts and Entertainment
Natural beauty: Aidan Turner stars in the new series of Poldark
arts + ents
Mia Freedman, editorial director of the Mamamia website, reads out a tweet she was sent.
arts + ents
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Arts and Entertainment
The write stuff: masters of story-telling James Joyce, left, and Thomas Hardy
arts + ents...begging to differ, John Walsh can't even begin to number the ways
Jose Mourinho on Sky Sports
footballEXCLUSIVE COLUMN Paul Scholes: It was not a leg-breaking tackle, as the Chelsea manager had claimed
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Bookkeeper

£23000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This small, friendly, proactive...

Recruitment Genius: Photographic Event Crew

£14500 - £22800 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developers - .NET / ASP.NET / WebAPI / JavaScript

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Software Developer is required to join a lea...

Austen Lloyd: Corporate Tax Solicitor - City

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: A first rate opportunity to join a top ranking...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower