‘I just can’t believe how everyone is so happy! It’s so infectious!’
I grinned alongside the smiles surrounding me from perky and colourfully enthusiastic people bopping to the music blaring from the speaker upon a trolly that pushed behind me.
We were marching in the Pride Parade throughout the streets of York in England all for York Pride and the heavy rain that enveloped us in wetness didn’t chase away those smiles.
All around us, a sea of rainbows thronged the capital of North England, ad I was amazed to see such a huge variety of supporters across the LGBTQA+ spectrum. I talked to a few people while I waited for the parade to start and heard their stories.
Suddenly a cheer arose and I turned round to see a two men celebrating their marriage. They just got hitched that day!
It’s true. Love, acceptance, tolerance and even more love was on display here. And I was proud to do this with my friends from my rugby team, who I was marching with to set up a new inclusive and gay rugby team in York to join our Yorkshire brothers in Hull, Sheffield and Leeds.
Walking through the parade, we were cheered and supported by the crowds who turned out on mass on the shopping streets, outside their homes and more, waving rainbow flags and matching our smiles. It was truly a fantastic experience. Not even the rain and dark clouds above us could put us off!
I was rather surprised how massive the parade was! I wasn’t expecting York to have a huge LGBT community but I was proved utterly wrong. Whistles blew, people shook their booty and threw arms around each other singing the campest songs ever – Spice Girls, anyone?
Before we knew it, we had arrived at the festival at the York Racecourse, with a funfair, stalls serving burgers and hot dogs, bars and more. Not forgetting the main stage showcasing local talent and their headliner – Gareth Gates!
Yes, Gareth Gates. Ah, my first crush when I saw him on Pop Idol!
Unfortunately, I couldn’t stay long at the festival due to prior commitments but I was so proud to be part of York Pride for as long as I could be there. But for sure, next year, I will be there for the whole thing!
Thanks York Pride for kicking off Pride Month!