Norwich Pride has come of age with a huge rainbow flourish as sparkling as the weather. A marcher held up a placard that read ‘The First Pride was a Riot’ – a nod to the 1969 Stonewall riots in New York. This year’s march was led by the Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service, the pride organisers, coppers sporting rainbow epaulettes and the Lord Mayor waving a rainbow flag. We’ve come a long way.
A lone dissenter held up a large cross and urged the crowd to repent. Onward Christian soldiers smiled at him benignly as they passed by.
Young and old marched together. An older guy caught my eye. He was riding a mobility scooter emblazoned with pride motifs and sipping a glass of white wine. Now that’s the way to travel. The loud and proud procession took about an hour to pass and was brought up the rear by an enormous rainbow ‘river’ held aloft by revellers.
Pride in the park was packed with a rainbow of people of every gender, size, age, persuasion, ability and garb. We roamed about soaking up the merriment and watched a few of the acts doing their thing on the main stage. When the youthful crowd started singing along to a cover version of S Club 7’s ‘Reach’, my heart melted. A young lady emerged from the audience and asked us if we were gay. She couldn’t have been more than 16. “Yes”, we replied. “I’m so proud of you,” she said. “I’ve just come out”. We hugged and wished her well.
It made me cry with pride.
That was Norwich Pride…
A celebration of the LGBT community for everyone.
Cardinal Keith O’Brien, leader of the Catholic Church in Scotland, has been named as Stonewall’s Bigot of the Year 2012. He gets my vote. His ‘Eminence’ (these people do so love their titles and do so hate to be questioned) has declared ‘war’ on the Scottish Government’s plans to introduce marriage equality and likens gay marriage to slavery and child abuse. He should know. The Catholic Church is well-acquainted with war, slavery and child abuse.
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I’m back on my soap box again. Think of me as resident ranter at Speaker’s Corner on a Sunday afternoon. I’m rapidly becoming a single issue bar-room bore. The mast I’ve nailed my colours to is homophobic bullying in schools. It’s not clever, it’s not on, it must stop. I’ve banged on about this tishoo ishoo a couple of times now – the tragic death of Jamey Roddemeyer and the inspirational Stand Up and be Counted video. Now I give you It Does Get Better by the L Project. The It Gets Better campaign began across the pond and has now invaded Blighty’s shores. The L Project (that’s L for Lesbian by the way) is a group of lovely lasses who’ve come together (forgive the pun) to highlight the plight of the young through the medium of music. They’re fabulous and so is their song. It’s become a hit. There aren’t many countries in the world where a track with such an overt message would catch the popular imagination. Watch it here and watch it right ‘til the end. You might even cry. And If you like it why not buy it?
Gay marriage is a hot topic across the pond, particularly since the State of New York legalised it in July. The noisy vitriol from the opponents is depressingly predictable. In the end, I hope reason will triumph over ignorance. Meanwhile, over in Blighty, Stonewall recently awarded Melanie Phillips the Bigot of the Year Award. It’s much deserved. Ms Phillips is a columnist for the Daily Mail (no surprises there) and has written extensively on LGBT rights (they shouldn’t have any), Civil Unions (What next, getting hitched to your budgie?) Gay Marriage (God says no). Perhaps her most ludicrous assertion is:
“Mad as this may seem [you said it!], school children are to be bombarded with homosexual references… In science, they will be directed to animal species such as emperor penguins and sea horses, where the male takes a lead role in raising its young.”
So, let me get this right. All fathers who bring up their children are gay? Does Ms Phillips drink?
In the final analysis, nothing I can say will make much of a difference but this video just might:
Thanks to What’s for Tea Tonight, Dear for the video
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