By Andre Martey
Last Saturday London's LGBTQ+ community and friends came out in force to celebrate Pride across the capital. Of course, SH:24 joined the march again.
Wearing slightly too tight t-shirts and wondering what the heck this year’s #no filter theme would uncover, we teamed up with our Burrell Street colleagues and the rest of the LGBTQ+ gang who could make it from Guys and St Thomas’ trust. GSTT stuffed us with a free breakfast (thanks guys!), pelted us with glitter and rainbow make up, lined us all up by the river for a Pride panoramic mugshot (complete with cape twirling drag artist) and then we were off.
Here are our five top moments:
1. Being cheered on the escalators at Waterloo
So there we were, 80 of us inconspicuously carrying our GSTT helium balloons and form fitting Pride t-shirts down the escalator at Waterloo when suddenly a hundred or so random travellers broke out into spontaneous applause and cheers of “NHS! NHS!”.
Reader, if it was possible to safely curtsey on a moving escalator, I would have done so.
2. The Endurance Steel Orchestra
What's the first thing we hear as soon as we get into our spot on the march? Steel pans playing Dancing Queen, calypso-style. I look up at a bus full of kids from Croydon playing the steel pans like a story line from a cheesy feel good Brit flick. I turn around and one of the Brazillian dancers has grabbed some maracas and is stomping his feathered boots. We. Have. Arrived.
3. The march itself
Nothing quite prepares you for the constant cheering and “NHS! NHS! NHS!” when you do the Health section of the Pride March. By the end your face aches from all the regal smiling as you hand out the condoms, lube and leaflets on services. This year’s surprise response came from the SXT leaflets we gave out (www.sxt.org.uk – a great website that helps you to find your nearest clinic by postcode – check it out). Some guys and girls were shocked by the vagina snapshot on one of the new SXT postcards. As one of the gay women on the march said: #morevaginapride next year please!
There had been a few changes in my fellow marchers since last year. Rose had come out as trans in her office and had been surprised by the acceptance. Meanwhile on the march there seemed to be an epidemic of expression wherever you went.
5. Feathered farewell
Well, what Pride would be complete without the obligatory drag angel motif? As the march ended and the pack of dog boys bounded over Waterloo Bridge, a gaggle of angel drag queens waited elegantly at the end. If only I brushed up as well as some of these lovelies!
We hope you enjoyed Pride as much as we did. If you didn't manage to make it this year, keep an eye on the Pride in London website for more details on next year's celebration.