Sunday, June 28, 2009
Paris Gay Pride Parade
The 2009 Paris Gay Pride Parade drew an estimated 700,000 people out on a warm summers day to celebrate and recognise the rights of all gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people. France’s first gay pride march was held in 1981, and had an immediate impact as homosexuality was decriminalised the following year.
The theme of this year’s event was the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall riots in New York and included a very special guest in Liza Minelli.
Not only is Liza Minelli an obviously well loved icon of the gay community but she was a particularly relevant choice because it is generally considered that Liza Minelli's mother Judy Garland was an inspiration for the gay community and the Stonewall riots, which occured on the day of the Judy Garland's funeral.
Either way, Liza Minelli was a good choice for helping to start the parade, which slithered its way from Montparnasse (where we gathered to watch the start of the parade) along Boulevard St Germaine and Boulevard St Michel and ending up at the Bastille. It was basically the same route as for the May Day parade.
We've also attended the Mardi Gras in Sydney and the parade in Paris is much more overtly political, with most of the floats having a political message or perspective.
The Sydney parade is much more about the participants dressing up in extravagent costumes, checking each other out and just having a good time and in the time honoured aussie tradition, any political message will be dripping in satire.
That's not to say that the floats in Paris and the particpants were all staid and only considering their political position ... there were a lot of people dressed extravagantly and most of the floats were overflowing with people dancing and celebrating and I'm sure looking forward to a long day and a longer, harder night.
The floats seemed to go on forever, with their booming music and gyrating bodies ... and messages regarding the rights of gay people in the workplace, safe sex, the discrimination of gay people in France and overseas, the rights of same sex parents, the ever present AIDS concerns ...
Like the Mardi Gras in Sydney there were people lining the streets for the length of the parade, cheering and supporting the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community of Paris.
And I'm sure they partied long into the night ... there were certainly many people from the parade celebrating in the Marais throughout the night as well.
And if you want to see many, many more interesting photographs from the Paris Gay Pride Parade, check out my friend Jean-Pierre's Paris Gay Pride Parade photograph page