Tens of thousands of revellers took to the streets of Copenhagen last Saturday in the largest Pride marches since the beginning of the Pandemic last year. 

This marks 25 years since the first Copenhagen Pride took place. 

The march was a part of WorldPride, an event which celebrates the LGBTQ+ community whilst promoting visibility and awareness of LGBTQ+ issues on an international level.

WorldPride, which began in Rome in 2000, is held in a different city every two years and was last held in New York in 2019 with an attendance of 5 million.  

Although with significantly lesser crowds in Denmark, this year’s festivities marked the beginning of the return of pride events on a larger scale following COVID-19. 

In the past year over 200 Pride Marches were cancelled due to the pandemic and a large portion of those have also been postponed this year, including The London Pride– the UK’s biggest LGBTQ+ event- which was due to take place in September. 

To decrease the chances of spreading coronavirus during this year’s WorldPride, the parade was broken into six marches that set off from separate points across Copenhagen to come together in the city’s largest park and watch the closing ceremony of the festival. 

This year also marked the first that the festival was held across two separate cities- Denmark’s Copenhagen and Sweden’s Malmo- that are some 40km apart and joined together by Europe’s longest road and rail link, the Oresund Bridge. 

This was to highlight the possibilities of transnational cooperation or fusion on socio-cultural issues. 

Although many marchers were there in celebration and support of the festival following almost two years of strict Coronavirus restrictions and lockdowns, many more expressed solidarity for those living in anti-LGBTQ+ countries. 

Several main stage performers voiced their sympathy for the gay men in Afghanistan who have had to go into hiding following the Taliban’s recent come to power. 

Although the group has stated that Afghan’s had nothing to fear, the Taliban’s military takeover has raised global fears of a return of the brutality against LGBTQ+ Afghans that came with their 1996-2001 regime.

Gay and lesbian sex is illegal under Afghanistan’s 2017 penal code, and technically the death penalty is allowed under sharia law by the constitution, although this hasn’t been enforced since 2001. 

However, before 2001 during Taliban rule there were reports of the group stoning gay men to death as a form of capital punishment. 

“You are not alone and we will continue to fight for you- and please be yourself.” Francesco Segala, who was at the March on Saturday, told Reuters.

 Poet Sylvia Thomas, who performed at the closing ceremony on Saturday, stated that Pride shouldn’t just be seen as a celebration but also a protest against those still living in oppression. 

Others have echoed their agreement, saying WorldPride should be used as a platform to speak on challenges affecting the LGBTQ+ community around the world.

photo via mamba

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