Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Europride 2006 Report

On Saturday I was on my first ever gay parade. It was hectic, busy, crowded and very very hot (weather and otherwise) and I loved every minute.

I got up fairly early (which means I had no porper weekend to recover from the jetlag since getting back from my vacation), took care of the doggies and headed to town to meet Jane. I was a bit late because of many London Underground closed routes and stations. We found the signing up point fairly easily as we just followed anything that looked gay.

All dressed up and nowhere to go (yet)

We signed up, ending up with a really weird Senior Steward who did not instill us with confidence. He sounded a bit crazy and kept leaving his radio with us when he went wandering about. We had to sit around and wait for a while in the park which wasn't too bad considering the lovely weather. I had three delicious chocolate muffins for breakfast and because they were sitting in the sun a little it made all the chocolate chips melty and yummy. But since this post is about Europride and not yummy chocolatey treats I'll leave it at that.

Eventually, after helping carry a box of condoms to a van, we finally started walking toward our spot in Trafalgar Square. The parade already started, but it was quite slow and we had plenty of time to get there. On the way we passed Christian Voice (or as I prefer to call them, Christian Void). We weren't fortunate enough to be working near then and get to see them screaming their heads off at the parade.

Christian Void

I assume since there weren't enough volunteers, our team was spread around very thinly and we could barely see each other. Still, the crowds were fairly well behaved and things moved smoothly. I hope I wasn't the only one annoyed to see Ken Livingstone marching at the head of the parade- You can't pretent to be a supported of the gay community while hosting visits from Mugabe and other hate mongers from around the world. Avoiding his speech was one of the reasons I gave the rally in Trafalgar Square a skip. There were a couple of really long breaks in the parade, leading people to think that it might have been finished and since I didn't have a radio and my Senior Steward was nowhere in sight I couldn't tell either. But it was eventually over.

Ken "Mugabe's Best Friend Forever" Livinstone

There were some clever costumes and floats and lots of average ones. Some clever and some just provocative.

Men (and women) in uniform! Niiice.

More niiice.

We signed up at the end and used the volunteer discount to eat in Balans, one of the best restuarants in Soho, with a 50% discount. Soho was also fun, busy and colorful. It was sunny and many nice bodies (and some not so nice) were exposed to the sun. We were too tired to volunteer for the afternoon events and we just went home, tired and happy.

It was nice to see Israeli representation.

My initial problem with gay parades was the celebration of cliches. That those people marching are giving gay people a bad name and enforcing cliches of gays being sexually obsessed freakshows. While those examples were on this parade, there were also many others: we had policemen and sailors, gay parents, family and friends, Muslim gays, Jewish gays, gay parents and so on. The parade was an interesting portrayal of the diversity within the gay community.

And yes, there were drag queens, S&M fetish lovers, half naked guys and outrageous costumes. So what? What's wrong with any of that? Since when did we become a fashion and moral police, telling consenting adults what to wear and how to have their sex?

It's all about freedom, isn't it?


And now: tons more pictures! Enjoy.

This girl was a complete nutter. Still pictures do her no justice.

Fruitcake anyone?

Gay muslims unvieled. Yay gay muslims!

This gal stopped every second to take pictures and without a doubt one of the main reasons for the gaps!

This is what I'd look like if I wasn't too lazy to work out in the gym. *sigh*

This frog was promoting the Rainforest Cafe restuarant. No idea if he's gay, but he's CUTE.


Anonymous said...

That is so awesome! You are so lucky to live in Europe. Here in the States you'd never see a Gay Pride parade sponsored by major corporations and men and women in uniform (and police!) marching in the parade.
The kid in the blue shirt from Christian Void looks like a very scary Nazi-type person. Just the look on his face is creepy.
"Gay Muslims: Yes we exist!" Hilarious! It's like something you'd see on the Simpsons.

Keep fighting the good fight.

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