What a great day today. The sun shining and lots of goodwill - I remember the first Gloucestershire Gay Pride march in 2006 - then the Green party was the only visible political party but today saw two Tory MPs attend the speeches before the march - and Tony Melville the new Chief Constable made a speech at the beginning - along with Peter Bungard, the Chief Exec of Glos County Council who has been supportive of equality issues unlike some Councils.
Chris Marsh, organiser was also there and opened the event with a speech and held a minutes silence for Forces Day - he has done wonders again to pull it all together.
From the steps of Shire Hall we set off up through the shopping centre - many supportive shouts from the crowded shopping centre. I even had one older woman ask what it was all about - when I told her she said 'that is good'.
Photos: Chief Constable, Chris Marsh and Peter Bungard
As we walked there was a chance to talk to other marchers - I even had a talk with the Chief Constable about 20 mph zones and our desire to have one in the village - trying to impress that we need that change of culture. I did also of course welcome his support for this event.
As we came out of the City shopping area we moved towards the docks where there must have been some 30 stalls from various organisations, charities and stalls selling everything from underwear with 'Spank me' on it to some T-shirts with slogans like "I am the Pink Sheep of the family".
We also had a Green party stall with a steady flow of people asking stuff about our policies - I also managed to visit many of the other stalls and hear about various projects locally.
Of course there was also music and I did join those dancing in the heat - some great singers - wish I could credit them but didn't get all their names - see many of the acts here. Ms. Kelly Wilde was the host (see left left) and also got me dancing to her songs. The former Eurovision entrant apparently has her own Management company which she was using to source many of the artists! Laura Harding (see left right) was another that had us dancing.
Photo: Some of the Greens at our stall
I wasn't able to stay on into the late afternoon as wanted to catch a school fair and then tonight it is Midnight Magic in Randwick. Anyway I've just been throwing together some words to send to the press...
GAY PRIDE IN GLOUCESTER
Ebley Mill flies Rainbow flag in support
Philip Booth, a Stroud District Councillor who initiated Stroud District Council being one of the first rural Council's to fly the Rainbow flag at Ebley Mill in support of Gloucestershire Gay Pride, said: "Pride is all about promoting acceptance of our diverse community, celebrating our differences and putting an end to the discrimination like homophobic bullying in our workplaces and schools. Some 60% of lesbian and gay children still experience homophobic bullying. This is unacceptable."
Government shelve Equality Act
Liz Hilary, a Stroud Green party member who joined other Greens on the march said: "It was a great positive atmosphere on the march. However we still have a way to go in terms of equality. We welcome that two Glos Tory MPs were at the speeches before the march, and Camerons recent speech on gay rights holds some hope. However he has made a number of serious gaffs about equality issues and their are new concerns this week as the Government have shelved most of the Equality Act. They will announce which measures are to go but these could include the provisions to make it illegal to discriminate against someone for being gay or disabled."
Well that's the draft....I may think of something more to say...Of course it wasn't so long ago that Tory MEPs - last year in fact - refused to support a motion that condemned Lithuania’s homophobic policies. Infact the Tories don’t have any official lesbian and gay rights policies. The Conservative Party annual conference has never voted for gay rights and gays rights policies do not feature in any Tory policy document!
St Petersburg's first gay pride march which was due to take place at the same time as the Gloucester march, has been banned by city officials. Gloucestershire Pride have sent a letter of support, but as of last week our Government had still not sent a message of support to marchers. InterPride, the International Association of Pride organisers and the IDAHO Committee slammed the ban which they claim goes against the European Convention on Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. I have left a message of support to Petersburg on one of their public websites.
Photo: Smoking smurf and Liz with our Green party banner - really need something a bit more colourful.
It is 41 years since the first Pride march in New York. The first in Gloucestershire was in 2006 which was attended by members from Gloucestershire Green party.
I will have more pics sometime but wanted to get this up today before I'm out tonight - I am sure there will soon be more at: