SOUTHSEA has been awash with colour and joy today as Portsmouth’s annual Pride event returned to the city.
Thousands of people attended the Pride march along the seafront earlier this morning, which was followed by a celebration in Southsea Castle that will continue into the evening.
This year’s event, the fourth annual Portsmouth Pride to take place, also saw TV star Alexis Michelle, made famous by RuPaul’s Drag Race, headline at the Bandstand.
Visitors to the Pride event say that the Portsmouth event has improved massively over the years, emphasising the importance of doing something like this to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community living in the city.
Tony Whittingham, 40 from Hastings, travelled down to Portsmouth specifically for Pride.
He said: ‘It’s been very good – I’ve been to the Pride events in Southampton, Hastings and Brighton this summer and this one has certainly been up to the mark.
‘It’s been like a whole Pride season around here recently – it’s been pretty good here.
‘I came to the one here last year and the year before that; it’s just getting better every year with more and more people getting involved.
'It’s important that we do more for the gay scene, like more bars and pubs for them in Portsmouth.’
Kat Scott from Bognor Regis said: ‘This year’s Pride event has been absolutely brilliant – it's lovely to see so many people here.
‘It’s so important that events like this draw in attention because it makes everybody feel included.’
Hannah Stokie, 31 from Portsmouth, was part of the procession in the morning.
She said: ‘I danced in the march and it was absolutely amazing.
‘This has been an amazing event, looking back at everyone joining in with the parade was fantastic.
‘It’s so important that we have these Pride events – you look at how many diverse people we have who have been brought together and it’s just incredible.
‘The message is really simple – we just want everyone to love themselves.’
Jessica Lihou was at the event with the Society of St James.
She said: ‘It has been brilliant, it's been a great atmosphere and it’s been great to see so many people here together.
‘I think this event is great for Portsmouth.’