For the second year, the British Embassy in Washington will participate in the Capital Pride Parade, a celebration of the local and national Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community and those that support it. Capital Pride, in its 39th year, is the third largest Pride event in the US, made up of 27 events over 10 days, and attracts more than 150,000 spectators each year, including floats, vehicles, walkers and entertainment consisting of local businesses, politicians and community groups. The embassy’s Pride contingent will consist of a “Love is GREAT” themed trolley, and a post parade celebration hosted by Rosalind Campion, Counsellor for Global Issues at the embassy, and her partner Layla McCay.
Several British consulates general in the US, including New York, Houston and Atlanta will also be participating in ‘Love is GREAT’ themed Pride Parades this year. The British Consulate General New York and UK Mission to the UN plan to lead a float through the famed NYC Pride, and will also host a Pride-themed pub night. The consulate and staff in Houston will join the city’s annual Pride parade for the first time, which is led by Mayor Annise Parker, the first openly gay mayor of a major US city. In Atlanta Consul General Jeremy Pilmore-Bedford will drive a British vehicle through the city’s parade in October.
The UK government’s participation in Pride events across the US is especially significant this year. The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act was passed in July 2013 and the first same-sex weddings in England and Wales were held on March 29, 2014. The embassy held an event to celebrate these weddings and marriage equality in March. The new Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act:
- enables same sex couples to marry in civil ceremonies
- enables civil partners to convert their partnerships into a marriage
- allows religious organizations to opt in to conduct religious same-sex marriage ceremonies
- allows individuals to change their legal gender without having to end their marriage
The UK government supports that human rights are universal and should be equal for all and works toward promoting and protecting LGBT rights in the UK and internationally. This year the International Lesbian and Gay’s Association’s (ILGA) annual Rainbow Map ranked the UK as first in LGBT rights in Europe.
In 2013, the embassy was the first foreign presence to participate in Capital Pride and won the Harvey Milk Award for the best public sector group.
Visit the VisitBritain LoveWall to learn more about the Love is GREAT Campaign.