Socialist Worker

Thousands join Birmingham Pride

by Tomáš Tengely-Evans
Issue No. 2556

Filling the streets for Pride (Pic: Birmingham Pride)

Filling the streets for Pride (Pic: Birmingham Pride)

Thousands of people joined the LGBT+ Pride march in Birmingham today, Saturday.

Tens of thousands more are expected to join the Birmingham Pride Festival throughout the bank holiday weekend.

Heightened security after the Manchester attack didn't stop people having a good time.

Everyone had to register and stick to their specific blocs, but this began to break down as the march snaked through the city.

People summed up the atmosphere as they joyously danced and sang along to "I've had the time of my life".

Thousands of people lined the streets cheering as the march went past. There was a sense of freedom.

Emily, a school student, told Socialist Worker, "For me Pride is about being openly myself—and not having to be quiet about it."

Her friend Alice, another school student, agreed, "It's a chance to be yourself and make a political statement."

LGBT+ against Islamophobia on the march

LGBT+ against Islamophobia on the march (Pic: Geoff Dexter)

A large contingent of LGBT+ refugees and asylum seekers from Africa were there. Many are forced to free homophobic persecution in their home countries, a legacy of colonialism in the 19th century.

Lucas from Cameroon in central Africa told Socialist Worker, "This is the first Pride march I have been on—I'm just enjoying how amazing it is.

"Where I'm from there's a lot of discrimination against LGBT+ people and we're seen as a 'threat' to the national culture.

"My partner was arrested because he was part of an LGBT+ group."

Chants of "Tories Out" and "Theresa May has got to go" rang out from a lively 100-strong bloc of socialists, trade unionists and students.

It reflected anger at the Tories—and support for Jeremy Corbyn.

A number of trade unions joined the Pride march, including Unison, RMT and NASUWT.

Jenny, a Unison union member, told Socialist Worker, "We're here because Unison supports inclusivity and that's more important than ever now with so much rhetoric that's dividing people."

Many people were boosted by the opinion polls narrowing between the Tories and Labour. Jenny said, "I think there's a real movement taking place.

"When I'm out and about more and more people are telling me they're fed up with what's going on. Whether it's about the NHS, schools budgets or their pensions, people want change now."

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