Portsmouth celebrates its diversity for Pride
HUNDREDS united in the name of equality.
Festivities began in the morning at South Parade Pier in Southsea, where dancers and musicians serenaded partygoers into the day of fun ahead.
A flood of colour then swept along Clarence Esplanade – as a parade took the party to Southsea Bandstand for music, speeches and live entertainment.
Tally Aslam, 32, the organisational chair for Portsmouth Pride, said: ‘The event went really well – much better than we anticipated. In organising this year’s Pride we wanted to really promote diversity – not just in the LGBTQ community, but among everyone.
‘We wanted to come together and celebrate our differences – for they are what make us great as a society.’
Among those supporting the event was retired Anglican priest Peter Cotton, of Christians at Pride.
Mr Cotton, 73, said: ‘The church doesn’t have a very good reputation for its attitude towards homosexuality, so it’s really important that those of us Christians who affirm it can show our support.’
Student partygoer and LGBT Society president at the University of Portsmouth, 20-year-old C Pearce, added: ‘I love Pride – it’s great fun. It’s great to see so many people here.’
MPs for Portsmouth North, Penny Mordaunt, and Portsmouth South’s Stephen Morgan, both addressed crowds as part of the event. Mrs Mordaunt read out a letter penned to president of the United States, Donald Trump, urging him to change the country’s policy which currently means transgender people are not allowed to serve in the military.
An extract from the Conservative MP’s message read: ‘I want to urge you to reconsider your decision to ban transgender people from serving in US armed forces.
‘Any person who is prepared to lay down their life to protect their fellow citizens and their nation deserves our respect.’
Labour MP Stephen Morgan also spoke positively of the fixture, praising the city’s efforts to promote inclusion.
He said: ‘It was fantastic attend and speak at Portsmouth Pride today.
‘Pride is an opportunity to celebrate our great city, and those British values of tolerance, respect for one another and community.
‘Great strides have been taken over the years to ensure equality for all, but there is still more to do.
‘Today has showcased our city’s diversity and commitment to fairness. My thanks to the team of volunteers who made the day a great success.’