It is estimated that more than 9,000 people took part in Glasgow Pride Parade 2019.
Only last year I had a pleasure to document DG Pride events in Dumfries, including a stage packed with outstanding local and UK performers, lots of stalls from various government and volunteer-led LGBTQ organisations ready to help and, of course, the hilarious Pride Pooch competition, all free to attend.
Glasgow Pride parade was every bit as joyful and warmly received by many onlookers lining the city centre streets. There were rainbow coloured banners everywhere. Many participants wore carnival or fancy dress outfits and face paint.
The march celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising, a violent LGBTQ civil rights protest in New York City in response to the police raid that didn’t go as planned.
Workers from Pizza Express, BT, Scottish Rail, Coop and Sainsbury’s, Glasgow Taxis, members of the Labour Party and Skills Development Scotland, Housing Association and Scottish Adoption, volunteers from Marie Curie charity and many others joined the parade in solidarity and support of their LGBT+ family members, teammates and colleagues, recognising their positive contributions in virtually every sphere of culture and economy. I am sure that while preparing for the parade these organisations became more aware of potential LGBT+ issues and sensitivities.
A picturesque percussion band marched at the beginning of the procession, beating the rhythm. Coop’s team had some musicians playing trombones. Some people danced on their float to YMCA. A brass band entertained the onlookers at the rear part of the procession.
All this contributed to the cheery atmosphere of revelry, of social bonding, of festive exuberance as different communities came together to celebrate civil equality and human dignity for all, regardless of sexual orientation.
I caught the marchers emerging from under Hielanman’s Umbrella and along Argyle Street and focused on people and their expressions, not so much on the environment. Then I waited a little bit and photographed the procession again as it approached the junction along Union Street, this time contextualising the event in its local urban architectural environment.
It was a great urban parade from a photographic point of view, very inclusive and rich in gesture and emotion.
However, when the first ever gay Pride march was organised in 1970 it was to mark the riots’ first anniversary and to fight for fundamental human rights, against prejudice and discrimination.
Could those fierce people at the roots of the Pride movement who fought for gay liberation have imagined that one day tickets to participate in the march cost Glaswegians £120 for walking groups, £420 for commercial organisations and £600 for floats?
Since when has it become acceptable to collect payment for taking part in a human rights demonstration?
Or did the Glasgow Pride parade position itself more as a feel good carnival rather than a bona fide political event? Then charges were justifiable…