London Pride 2009 in Central London was a blast!

London Pride
(photo by M. Bayaua)

Tired and sleepy. Went out yesterday to check out London Pride Parade at Oxford Street. Temperature: 40 bloody degrees Celsius! English sun: out the whole day! Parade: one hell of a fun one! ^^

Parade started at 1pm, but I had to come from Gloucester Road and so I had to take the Picadilly, get the Northern Line (?), get off at Oxford Street and find a nice spot near some Filipino gay men (yay!) where I can view the parade. The Filipinos, as part of our culture, asks me what visa I had, when I got here, when I was leaving (and if so, why? And if not, how did I do it?) and where I was living and how long I was here for.

Anyway, parade started off and I was immediately overwhelmed. Droves of gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transsexuals! About half a million strong! Wow! Back home,in Baguio, there would be about a hundred or so only. ^^ Here, it was one massive parade slash party with each sector having its contingent: LGBT people from the military (the Royal Navy, Army, Air Force), The Met, the post office, London Transport, Labour Party, Liberal Democrats, the NHS (ah, gay and lesbian doctors and dentists, yay!), the Civil Service, British Airways, Amnesty, the Catholic church, Christian Churches, Buddhist groups, Asia, Lithuania, various night clubs (the queen in one of the floats was especially hilarious and for the man-loving people, a great treat with the man in briefs with a permanent hard-on, beside him), sex workers groups, old people, young people and always the never-ending parade of really awesome drag queens, in full feather regalia, gowns, sequins, lace, leather, and always, the hair. ^^

(photo by M. Bayaua)
(photo by M. Bayaua)

The best part was seeing Boy George in one of the floats. A bit starstruck now. ^^

Anyway, after the parade, I maneuvered my way to the tube, hopped on the next one that will take me to Leicester Square, made my way to Trafalgar Square, where that half a million strong of LGBT people were gathered in a concert that featured political and not-so political speeches from prominent figures, and music from Eurovision winners, A1, and so on. I just went around the Square, checking out the booths, bought a bottle of Carlsberg, then just hung out at the Square, listening to the music, with my beer and the heat of the sun on my face. ^^

After that, I bought a shirt and a rainbow flag as souvenirs and reluctantly went back home because I had to meet my Nigerian friend and her friends. We had spicy spaghetti, while listening to music on TV. We had a Michael Jackson moment, then just had fun listening to Justin Timberlake (“Sexyback”)Lady Gaga (“Po-po-po-pokerface”), Kings of Leon (“Sex on Fire” – what does that even mean? Could make a great pick-up line though or a great prank you can do to emergency services: “Pardon me, miss, but your sex is on fire!” or “Hello?! This is an emergency! My sex is on fire!). My friend and I watched “Drag me to Hell” after, at the Vue. The movie was parts ridiculous, preposterous, outrageous, disgusting, depressing, sad, fun, funny, all at the same time. I can see why it was a hit. I don’t know which is better  – this one or Transformers 2. But for sheer consistency in its original purpose to entertain, I think “Drag me to Hell” wins hands down, since Transformers 2 just ends up being consternating.

I got home around 2am with a nice sunburned face and nice memories of my last few days in London.

Watching The Pride March reminds me how much has changed I left the Philippines  last year. Pride marches back home are nowhere near as massive and diverse and festive as this one in London is. But it has made me realize how important it is to share how much I’ve seen and learned, to be part of the change that can make a difference in people’s perceptions of the world.

Next up, Pride March in Manila. Yay!

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