Thousands march in Portsmouth Pride parade along Southsea seafront in huge LGBTQ+ celebration

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Flags were flown and music played as thousands gathered along the seafront for this year’s Portsmouth Pride parade.

Members and supporters of the LBTQ+ community marched from Southsea Beach at midday towards Southsea Common in a multi-coloured procession lead by a fire engine, a drag queen in a sports car, and a drumming group. Some attendees said this year’s Portsmouth Pride felt like the biggest yet.

Temperatures soared at the event, which saw stalls set up on the common alongside live entertainment on two stages. Portsmouth MPs Stephen Morgan and Penny Mordaunt also appeared, giving speeches to reflect their support of the occassion.

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Susan Nottage and Alan Jarvis, who marched together in the parade.Susan Nottage and Alan Jarvis, who marched together in the parade.
Susan Nottage and Alan Jarvis, who marched together in the parade.

Madaleine Soleil, a member of the Portsmouth Pride Comittee who participated in the paarade with her felllow burlesque showgirls from Rock Foxes, said: ‘I’m part of the pride committee, working with community outreach. A young child asked me the other day, “what is pride?” My description of it to them was: “It’s a big colourful party where everybody can be whoever they want to be” – and I’m all for that. We walked in the parade, which was amazing, and we’re getting lots of attention which I love. It’s bigger than ever and it just looks fantastic and colourful with so many stalls – we’re growing every year.’

Also celebrating was Lana Chapman, who recently came out as transgender. Lana said: ‘I think it’s important to show our faces and make the world aware we’re here. It’s fantastic to see so many people out.’ Kez McIndoe and Chris Reilly attended Pride together.

Chris said: ‘I’ve lived in Portsmouth for years and we really like the fact that it’s a small Pride. We’d much rather come here than go to another bigger event because it feels more like a family event. It feels like everyone can get involved with it and everyone is here for the right reasons – it’s really inclusive.

Kez added: ‘I’ve not been to any Pride before – this is my first one – so it feels a bit overwhelming but in a good way. There’s a lot of smiles, a lot of laughs and that’s kind of what it’s all about I suppose.’

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Left to right: Chris Reilly and Kez McIndoe.Left to right: Chris Reilly and Kez McIndoe.
Left to right: Chris Reilly and Kez McIndoe.

Alan Jarvis, who took part in the parade wearing rainbow colours, said: ‘We all come together as a group – basically one big family. I’m having a fantastic time, a lot of my friends are here Susan Nottage marched in memory of her son Calvin, who died by suicide. She added: ‘It’s very emotional but it has lifted me up because I’m with his friends.’

One of the groups reprented in the procession was LGBTQ+ Christian group Open Table Fareham.

Group co-ordinator Wendy May Jacobs said: ‘It’s based around holy communion service and it’s called Open Table because God’s table is open to everyone. The parade is always lovely and the sun always shines.’

Lana Chapman, attending Portsmouth Pride on Southsea Common.Lana Chapman, attending Portsmouth Pride on Southsea Common.
Lana Chapman, attending Portsmouth Pride on Southsea Common.

Portsmouth Scouts scout leader Kate Pickles said: ‘We have a lot of explorers, 14 to 18-year-olds, we listen to what they want to do and they wanted to be part of this. They are very proud to be who they are and they are looking out for support from other adults. I’m very happy to be supportive. They message we have on our banner is “love is love” and we believe that everybody is welcome here.’