HUNDREDS have united to celebrate diversity.
Residents, families, activists and supporters of the LGBTQ community have come together for Portsmouth Pride.
The annual event kicked off this morning from South Parade Pier in Southsea, where dancers and musicians serenaded partygoers into a day of inclusive fun.
In a flash-flood of colour and smiling faces, scores of supporters marched from the landmark to Southsea Bandstand – where they will enjoy live music and entertainment.
Among those enjoying the festivities was 20-year-old Delali Kodjokuma – a student at the University of Portsmouth.
He said: ‘I’m part of the LGBTQ society committee at the university, so I wanted to come down and show my support.
‘This is my first pride event so I didn’t know what to expect, but so far it’s been great fun – I’m very excited for the rest of the day.’
Lisa Ryland, 46 from Southsea, went along with her friend Louise Marshall.
Ms Ryland said: ‘We wanted to show our support for this inclusive event in Portsmouth – it’s great to come along.’
Ms Marshall, 47, added: ‘It’s amazing to see so many people come together and show their support.
‘I went to Brighton Pride earlier this year and, while it may take a while, it would be great if we could continue to grow and go in that direction.’
Tally Aslam, 32, is the organisational chair of Portsmouth Pride.
Speaking as festivities got underway, she said: ‘I’m extremely excited. The event has turned out much better than we anticipated.
‘There have been blood, sweat and tears from our volunteer committee of six people to bring this together.
‘In organising this year’s Pride we wanted to really promote diversity, not just in the LGBTQ community, but among everyone. ‘We should all come out and celebrate our differences – for they are what makes us great as a society.
‘This is an amazing opportunity for us which wouldn’t be possible without Portsmouth City Council and the events team.’
Live entertainment at Southsea Bandstand will continue until 5pm.
Armed police have been spotted in Southsea for the event after an explosion on the London Underground yesterday.
The increased security comes after the UK terror threat level was raised to ‘critical’ – the highest possible.