Protesters fail to mar gay pride in London

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background. Exclusive

Christian groups staged an anti-gay protest against EuroPride last weekend only to be cordoned off by police at the corner of Pall Mall and ridiculed by the 750,000 lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) participants.

A demonstration organised by Christian Voice assembled at the bottom of Regents Street near the end of the parade holding placards and quoting verses of the Bible, claming homosexuality is sinful.

The protesters were greeted by whistling and waving from Gay Pride participants, which included the Metropolitan Community Church and the Unitarians.

Stephen Green, national director of Christian Voice, told “We are protesting about sodomy being openly paraded in the capital, bringing shame and judgement to the UK.

“We are standing up for righteousness and preaching a message of repentance.”

He refused to accept the gay churches on the parade as “brothers and sisters.”

“You don’t have to be gay, there is a way out,” he added.

The group were cordoned off by police as EuroPride participants passed by shouting ironic messages of love and also voicing their disapproval.

London Mayor, Ken Livingstone, had earlier criticised the “intolerance” and “bigotry” of church leaders against the gay community.

Protesters fail to mar gay pride in London

Peter Tatchell with Shadow Trade and Industry Secretary Alan Duncan, the most senior gay Tory MP.

Gay campaigner Peter Tatchell appeared on the march with a picture of The Pope dressed as a drag queen with a sign saying “Pope Betty Benedict XVI, Queen of Homophobia.”

Meanwhile, the Black Lesbians UK (BLUK) group came close to pulling out of the parade after complaining that their float was unfairly put at the back with “the toilets and the piss.”

The campaigners accused organisers of tokenism after they were at the front last year for the theme of Make Poverty History.

Protesters fail to mar gay pride in London

Kai, co-founder of BLUK

Kai, co founder of BLUK, called for “respect and recognition for diversity in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.

She told “Black Lesbians UK will not be treated as charity cases and left sat on the perimeters.

“There is black in the pink, we are not second best, we are proud to be black lesbian women who love women.”

However, controversy was avoided when they were later moved further forward.

The weekend was brought to a close last night when stars of stage, screen and the music industry gathered at the Royal Albert Hall for the finale of EuroPride London.

An audience of LGBT people was treated to performances from community icons such as Elton John, who headlined the evening, Boy George and Heather Small, as well as a surprise appearance by tennis legend Billie Jean King, one of America’s first openly gay sportswomen.

The event was compeered by comedian Stephen Fry, Julian Clary and Sandi Toksvig, and included appearances from camp theatre productions such as Mamma Mia, Chicago and Avenue Q.

Protesters fail to mar gay pride in London

Sir Ian McKellen at Saturday’s EuroPride rally

Award winning actor, Sir Ian McKellen, devised the event, and appeared on stage as Dame Widow Twanky, in a dance ensemble involving Mr Fry, and Coronation Street stars Anthony Cotton (Sean Tully) and Jenny McAlpine (Fiz Brown.)

Sir Elton used his act to criticise The Pope’s condemnation of gay relationships, stating: “How the f**k would he know.”

The singer finished with a surprise for the audience when he was reunited with Kiki Dee for a performance of his first number one, Don’t Go Breaking My Heart.

Next year’s EuroPride will be held in Madrid, Spain.