Leicester Pride, 2003

Leicester Pride once again took to the streets on the hot weekend of 21st June and showed the attractions of the city well.

BCN cover imageWe were running on queer time as ever and while waiting for the parade to start some local Christians serenaded us. Apparently this was meant to oppose us or convert us or something but I couldn’t understand the lyrics and it was nice to have a tune. Some of the police were clearly gay and greeted warmly by their friends. A man selling rainbow parasols explained that he’d bought them on a whim in India and had nearly bankrupted himself in the process.

We wound our way cheerfully through the city and up to Victoria Park. Faces on the route were friendly if a little amused or bemused in some cases. The parents of gay kids group were particularly prominent, dressed up in high style for this year’s “Hollywood to Bollywood” theme and boasting their own float.

Leicester has a number of festivals and street parades each year for ethnic groups and religious celebrations and many people see Pride as just another spectacle to see and enjoy. In this respect the city reminds me of Brighton, where Pride is an excuse for people living on the route to party and for shops to try to raise a smile and perhaps a sale.

The park was free and open to all and it was time for a welcome drink before looking around. There were the usual rainbow kit stalls and a community tent with various local voluntary groups, unions, cops, health promotions and (yay!) Jennifer Moore selling badges under her Assume Nothing banner.

The main stage reflected the ethnic mix that makes Leicester what it is today, even if the crowd was still mostly white. I was pleased to hear pop, rap, folk and rock music during the day. One of the bands, “Pussy Galore”, brought some of the local kinky crowd to support them and the day in general. Acts ranged from Asian dance to drag queens trying to keep everyone entertained while waiting for theĀ  football competition winners to claim their prizes.

After an enjoyable day out I’m looking forward to our next local event in the midlands: Nottingham Pride on 30th August, the weekend after BiCon. Perhaps we’ll see some of you there.

Grant Denkinson