Downtown London turned into rainbow as Pride Parade celebrates 25th birthday

Dimple (right) and Fariah (left) showcase their homemade DIY flag at the 25th Pride Parade.
Dimple (right) and Fariah (left) showcase their homemade DIY flag at the 25th Pride Parade. Kelly Wang / 980 CFPL

The colours of the rainbow flooded Victoria Park as thousands gathered to celebrate love, equality and acceptance on Sunday.

The London Pride Parade celebrated its 25th anniversary downtown with big bright floats and cheering supporters.

The parade marks the last day of the annual Pride London Festival.

Festival president Andrew Rosser says this year’s event was “the biggest and best and most colourful Pride festival we’ve ever had.”

“Support grows every year, which is amazing,” Rosser said.

Among the thousands of radiant supporters was drag queen Chastity Cage, who attended with their husband and two mothers.

Cage says the impact that Pride has had on their life is tremendous, and they tell 980 CFPL they just tied the knot with an amazing man last year.

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“Quite frankly, without Pride, I would’ve never had the courage to [get married],” Cage said.

Cage hopes to spread the message that “we’re free to be who we are, we’re free to love who we want to love.”

Chastity Cage (left), Cage’s husband (middle), and one of Cage’s mothers (right)
Chastity Cage (left), Cage’s husband (middle), and one of Cage’s mothers (right). Kelly Wang / 980 CFPL

Standing by Cage’s side was their mother, who couldn’t be more proud of Cage’s accomplishments.

“He’s beautiful. She’s beautiful… she is gorgeous.”

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The Pride Parade was a family affair for more than just Cage and their mother. The West family was also attending with their two youngsters, aged eight and five.

Mom Theresa Recchia-West tells 980 CFPL that the family attended the parade for one reason: to teach the children that “everybody should be able to love whoever they want to love, and I want them to love who they want.”

“We just want them to have happy lives no matter what,” Recchia-West said.

READ MORE: London police raise Pride Flag to mark the start of Pride week

Rosser is not surprised by the number of families who showed up. He says London has a reputation for family-friendly festivals.

“Traditionally, London is a bit of a conservative city, and although we’ve come a long way, I think we’re still a very family-focused city,” Rosser said. “Vic Park is a great space to bring your family.”

During closing speeches, Rosser acknowledged the traditional lands of Indigenous people and added that London still has a lot of work to do as a community “to make sure Pride is inclusive for everyone,” including people of colour, Indigenous people, and other marginalized people.

“It’s a long road, but we’re taking important steps to make that happen.”

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For Cage, that “important step” means moving forward by having pride and teaching love.

For the Wests, that means providing their children with the freedom to love, and doing what makes them happy.

The Pride London Festival is wrapping up with a closing party at Lavish after 11 days of events and celebrations.

WATCH: 2019 Pride Parade Highlights