Gloucester celebrates first Mardi Gras

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Hundreds turned out in Gloucester last Saturday, 12 August, for its first Gay Pride March, held in memory of Jody Dobrowski, who was murdered last year in London for being gay.

Bristol meanwhile held its Mardi Gras and FRINGE events despite the cancellation of the Bristol Pride March several weeks ago following a problem planning the event between organisers, police and the local council.

It is likely that the issue of closing of city centre roads led to the dispute.

Gloucester’s march though was held without a hitch, according to observers such as local politician Philip Booth, travelling through Gloucester’s busy streets before ending in the Coach and Horses pub.

Marchers of all ages carried placards bearing slogans such as “Out is in”, “Better gay than grumpy” and “Sexuality is not a choice”.

Sean Sullivan, from Gloucester, told the Gloucester Citizen “it is about time this happened. I have been on marches in London. It is great to have it here,”.

The Green Party councillor told “We applaud the County Council for it’s support of this event – the first ever gay pride in Gloucester – we may indeed be the first County to fly the rainbow flag at our Shire Hall. Certainly next year I would love to see all 6 Gloucestershire District Councils flying their flags in support of this day.”

The Stroud councillor told the Gay Pride event that “our government regularly deports gay and lesbian asylum seekers who have fled jail, rape and torture to countries where they face jail or worse just for their sexuality.”

He added that “it is time we saw action by this Government.”

Despite Peter Tatchell cancelling his appearance to make a speech at the Toronto AIDS 2006 conference, the event received good support.

Bristol’s Pride march, originally planned for the city centre, was meant to lead to the fair in the city centre.

The cancelled march did not stop a good day out though, with the other events still carrying on regardless.

The FRINGE faired well, also, with event organiser Jamie Whale claiming a “good turnout to all the events,” adding that “it was well received.”

The FRINGE was begun due to the feeling of over commercialisation in normal gay pride and Mardi Gras events, and is not connected to the main Bristol Mardi Gras event.

“People appreciated the diverse attractions” Whale told Pink News.