Thousands flocked to the streets of downtown London on Sunday to see the culmination of Pride London’s 2023 pride week.
The 2023 London Pride Parade saw a strong turnout, bolstered by enthusiastic support from members of the community, including local institutions and businesses.
“I’m really glad that there is great energy today,” said Niamh Cashell, a Londoner who came to join the festivities. “It’s really, really good to see this support in London that we want to have a community of safety and acceptance.”
Large floats decked out in bright colours and flying pride flags stretched several blocks and were complemented by hundreds of people from various organizations and backgrounds marching in unison as the parade made its way from its starting point on Queens Avenue between Quebec and Adelaide streets, all the way to the very centre of the city in Victoria Park.
There have been all kinds of events all week for London’s pride week, with the parade marking the end of the festivities.
Since protests at June’s Wortley Pride celebrations and Saturday’s pride festival in Victoria Park, those attending the parade reacted positively to the lack of resistance on Sunday.
“I’m feeling great, I’m feeling energized, positive vibes all around,” said Deputy Mayor Shawn Lewis, the city’s first openly gay elected official. “After the negativity of some of the anti-LGBTQ+ hate that we’ve seen in the region in the last couple of months, this was a really affirming afternoon.”
While the parade was a celebration of life and culture, it was also a message, according to Lewis.
“I think more than ever it’s important for allies to join the community and speak out and say [anti-LGBTQ hate is] not okay,” he said. “So this is a celebration, but it’s also a show to the negativity out there. We’re not going to take it,” he said.
Several drag queens in full costume were featured at the celebrations. They could be seen atop floats, or standing on slow-moving trucks while police escorted the parade forward.
To Miss Shaneen, a 19-year-old performer who claims to be London’s youngest drag queen, the lack of protesters at Sunday’s parade was surprising, but welcome.
“I’m really excited just to see all these new faces and see all the new kids coming out just to celebrate who they are,” said Miss Shaneen, who started drag at age 13.
“The energy here is amazing.”
With Sunday’s parade, London’s pride week has come to a close.
Here are some more sights from the festivities: