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Hundreds join Gay Pride march through York
6:24pm Saturday 21st July 2012 in News
ABOUT 500 people have today joined York's first-ever Gay Pride march through the city.
Members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community and their supporters met outside York Minster at midday and paraded through the city centre to Knavesmire, where a crowd of about 2,000 people gathered.
The York Northern Pride 2012 event was aimed at promoting equal rights for the community in civil society, with a symbol of gay pride - the rainbow flag - being flown from the top of the Mansion House after City of York Council backed the move at a meeting last week and marchers carrying a 100-metre rainbow banner.
The parade was also designed to support Government moves to allow gay marriage, with organisers saying the idea came about after controversial comments on the subject by the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu.
Council leader James Alexander and York Central MP Hugh Bayley gave speeches as part of the event, as did Conservative councillor Paul Doughty and Coun Carol Runciman, leader of the authority's Liberal Democrat group. An afternoon of entertainment was headlined by X Factor finalist Craig Colton and Eurovision entrant Scooch.
York Pride chairman Dan Sidley said: "We are really, really delighted with the way the event has gone and the reaction we have had from the people of York - there was such a buzz and such a good feeling about it.
"It has been 12 months of very hard work, but every bit of it has been worthwhile, and we now hope to make this an annual event and make next year bigger and better."
Hull Road councillor Neil Barnes, who tabled the council motion calling for the rainbow flag to be hoisted above the Mansion House, said: "York Pride is an important part of the events calendar where the city can demonstrate its support of the LGBT community.
"Hate crime against the community is still a reality, and by displaying the rainbow flag atop the Mansion House, the council shows its full support for equality and fairness and the fight against discrimination."
For a full report and pictures from York Northern Pride 2012, see The Press and thepress.co.uk on Monday.