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AFP - Miguel Medina
Culture

Pride : celebrations in London, anger in Paris

By Etienne Bennequin
01/07/2014

Millions of people took part in the pride parades held in many cities across the world last Saturday. Those pride marches animated San Francisco, New York, Singapore, Tel-Aviv and tens of other cities, including London and Paris.

Hundreds of thousands were in the line in the British capital city promoting #FreedomTo, a hashtag that generated more than 11 000 tweets on the famous social network. Dispite the shower, crowds did move in order to watch the celebrations between Baker Street and Whitehall joined by Conchita Wurst, who became the new LGBT symbol since his victory at the last Eurovision contest. The simple message of freedom and the festive atmosphère contribute to make London into “one of the most LGBT-friendly cities“ according to London Mayor Boris Johnson.

The atmosphere was different at the Parisian Pride Parade: less than  100 000 peoples joined the celebrations, of course because of the bad weather famous in France as well as England, but also because the pride events in Paris were more political than those in London. The context is indeed different in France : not only has homophobia blossomed since the debates on gay marriage, but Holland’s government has disappointed the French gay community many times in the last thirteen months. Since the opening of marriage and adoption for same-sex couples, the governement abandoned many reforms on family under pressure from the conservative opposition, including laws that were supposed to redefine the status of parents-in-law or allowing Medically Assisted Procreation for lesbian couples. Even more serious to the demonstrators was that the governement dropped the “Equality ABCD“ which was supposed to be taught at school in order to fight the gender stereotypes, and was severely criticized by the far right and fundamentalist religious groups. That is why the pride marches in Paris were anger marches. The participants said they had been flouted by the government who would have “botched equality“.

Despite a mixed picture depending on the cities, the pride parades 2014 had a record number of participants and had a great impact on social networks, and London were an important part of it, since many thought its parade had never been such a success.

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