Rakshita (Raks) Patel (rakspatel) wrote in mycroft_brolly,
Rakshita (Raks) Patel

London Pride Hosts World Pride 2012: Decriminalise Homosexuality Worldwide

Photo credit: http://www.polarimagazine.com/gallery/world-pride-london-2012/

I attended London Pride on Saturday 7 July and this is my story. It is divided into three sections:

1) GLEE @ PwC - Which group was I walking with and why?
2) Pride London - My story
3) Peter Tatchell's Speech - What is Pride about?

The official Pride London website is here:

1) GLEE @ PwC - Which group was I walking with and why?

Photo credit: Andy Woodfield

This year I was very proud to be part of the GLEE @ PwC walking group. The choice was a no-brainer for me (although the Terrence Higgins Trust, celebrating their 30th anniversary, came a very close second!). I am passionate about GLEE and its vision about celebrating difference and diversity, bringing the whole you (the real you to work), and about empowering people to be the best that they can be.

Photo credit: Andy Woodfield
And no I am not in the photo - I was too busy meeting someone very special (all will be revealed later!)

Information on GLEE @ PwC can be found here:

Just before Pride, we heard that the London Borough of Tower Hamlets was the latest to adopt the GLEE approach, so the GLEE family is growing and expanding fast. Today Tower Hamlets, tomorrow the World!

2) Pride London - My story

This is a quick recap of Pride London - my story.

Firstly, it was great to be walking as part of a group, instead of on my own as per usual. I really enjoyed meeting more members of the GLEE family.

I liked all of my PwC branded goodies - my T shirt, my cute red rucksack, my badge, and my business cards. Thank you for all my freebies PwC, Andy and Mario! I turned down the offer of the PwC umbrellas because they were so heavy!

The weather was "interesting"! We had torrential rain, drizzle, but also glorious sunshine. I invested in a brand new Rainbow Flag and a Rainbow Whistle and I wore my Deerstalker for the whole March. The March started at Baker Street and so, as Andy commented, the Deerstalker was a fitting tribute. Luckily, we were close to a samba band so we had great musical accompaniment along the entire route.

One highlight for me was going past my Church, All Souls, Langham Place, during the walk. People have a range of views on All Souls, from very positive to very negative. What I will say about All Souls is that it has transformed my life and, in all honesty, I am not even sure that I would be around today if it weren't for All Souls and my Church Family.

However, my personal highlight of the 2012 London Pride occurred right at the end. I always keep a special eye out for handmade signs because I like the personal touch, and homemade handmade signs are often the most heartfelt, the most powerful, and often the funniest. Right at the end of the March I saw a handmade sign on brown cardboard which said quite simply "Decriminalise Homosexuality Worldwide" and my immediate thought was - Yes - That is 100% right - That sign has the best slogan and is bang on the money! It was only literally as I was walking directly past the sign that I very belatedly realised that the person holding the sign was Peter Tatchell!

I was profoundly moved by Peter standing right at the end of the March, with a homemade sign, handing out leaflets, trying to remind everyone what the March was about ie about Decriminalising Homosexuality Worldwide. For me, I think he was also trying to reclaim Pride for the LGBT community and the activists. It reminded me that Pride was not about the cars and the floats (although not having these stopped access for older and disabled LGBT community members), or the big corporate sponsors, or the money, or the celebrities, or the music, or the parties, it was about the MESSAGE. I stopped to say hello - it was at that point that I lost the GLEE @ PwC group - I never found them again - and that is why I am missing from the group photo at the end!

Anyway, it meant a lot to me to finally meet Peter, someone who has been campaigning for LGBT rights, and across a whole range of social justice issues, for the best part of 40 years ie ever since I was born. Peter was at the first Gay Pride in 1972 (I wasn't - I was only 2 years old at the time!). This year Pride was actually 40 years old. I personally felt more should have been done to recognise and celebrate this fact and the 1972 veterans. That was more important to me than the floats, the corporates, the music, the parties etc. Way more important, meaningful and significant. But then I am not in charge of organising Pride!

3) Peter Tatchell - What is Pride about?

I went to Trafalgar Square and stayed for Peter Tatchell's speech. To be honest, I was not in the least bit interested in the rest of the entertainment on the main stage, including Gok Wan, I just wanted to hear what Peter had to say. This is a snapshot of his speech:

- This is the 40th anniversary of Pride in the UK. The first Pride was in 1972. The slogan in 1972 was "Gay is Good", a slogan that was massively counter-cultural at the time.
- Over that 40 years this country has changed fundamentally. There are no anti-gay laws now.
- However, there is unfinished business. The ban on same-sex marriages must go. We want marriage equality.
- LGBT people are still persecuted in many other countries, and they face imprisonment (including life imprisonment) and even execution.
- But the movement for LGBT equality and freedom is unstoppable.
- "Dream of what the world could be and then make it happen".
Peter's call to action was excellent - inspirational and empowering and positive.

Finally, a great feature article on the history of Pride (including details of the first Pride back in 1972) and the fight for LGBT rights can be found here, authored by Peter Tatchell:

I hope you enjoyed my write-up!
Tags: big society, lgbt, peter tatchell, politics
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