It wasn’t banned. The police didn’t intervene. There were no arrests.
The Pride Festival was a joy in this South London neighbourhood governed by the Labour Party.
In the colourful crowd walking from central Croydon to Wandle Park, I saw placards representing council officers, Christians and Conservatives. The person walking in the name of Amnesty International reminded us that ‘love is a human right’. Among the people who made the most of it were the police who wore LGBT colours in their shoulder strap.
On the huge stage set up in the park, the trans presenter introduced the Leader of the Council, a gay councillor from the Conservative Party, and all three MPs of the district, two of them from Labour, in addition to musicians this year. Steve Reed, the first openly gay MP to represent Croydon, stressed that still there is a way to go while remembering the fight against the law brought by the Thatcher government banning discussion of homosexuality in schools and the campaign for same sex marriage.
Coming from Turkey, the Metropolitan Police stand located between the Conservatives and the Green Party was most strange for me. They were taking photographs with colourful LGBT flags worn as capes, making jokes and enjoying their ice cream in the overwhelming heat. The Conservative Party perhaps attempting to compensate for past attitudes were trying to carry out an active campaign with their blue t-shirts with the slogan ‘Conservative+LGBT’.
There were people who was proud of their gender and there were people who were showing their support to be proud of any gender in Croydon.