Birmingham Pride attendees took to Twitter on 24 May to gush about the event’s ‘incredible atmosphere’ and ‘stunning’ displays of solidarity despite the continued LGBT lesson protests that have been taking place in the city.
Kicking off from Victoria Square at 12pm, the parade was led by gay schoolteacher Andrew Moffat, Supporting Education of Equality and Diversity in Schools campaigner Saima Razzaq and Birmingham South Asians LGBT founder Khakan Qureshi.
As they started marching, the trio were seen holding banners for ‘No Outsiders‘, a programme created by Moffat to promote tolerance and acceptance.
“I’m overjoyed that Birmingham Pride have asked me. My role is to stand up here and say that ‘No Outsiders’ needs to be taught in schools because this is how you help end homophobia – by teaching children about different people from an early age.”
— Andrew Moffat (@moffat_andrew) May 25, 2019
Moffat, Razzaq and Qureshi were flanked by several other minority groups, including he UK’s leading LGBTQ Muslim charity Imaan, as they walked from Bennetts Hill towards the Gay Village. The official theme of this year’s procession is Love Out Loud, a positive message that hopes to encourage those from any walk of life to have the courage to live their lives freely and openly.
The parade featured a number of Muslim community groups including Imaan LGBTQI (Twitter)Many of the attendee’s placards addressed the demonstrations being held to protest inclusive education (Twitter)Unmuted, a Birmingham-based social and peer support network for people of colour who identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer or Intersex (LGBTQI) marched along with the parade (Rasheed Rahman/Twitter)
Moffat is currently working as an assistant headteacher at Parkfield Community School in Saltley, which was the first institution to be targeted by those angered by the teaching of LGBT equality being a part of the national Equality Act. Since then, it is believed that conservative Muslims, Christians and Jewish people have “hijacked” the cause and have been conducting their own disapproving demonstrations in Manchester and London.
Political parties took to the streets of Birmingham to show their support (Twitter)
Overwhelmed by the event, one social media user took to Twitter to say, “This is fantastic. Birmingham is an amazingly accepting and open queer space from my experience. The parade being led by Queer Muslims is a massive, massive message of defiance and leadership. Especially with what is happening with the protests outside of schools. Happy Pride!”
“Super proud of the Muslim community and lgbtq parents for coming together for inclusive education,” someone else added.
Another wrote: “So much joy, togetherness and love! Have an incredible day everyone!”
— Rasheed Rahman (@kitdorado) May 25, 2019
— I Am Birmingham (@IAmBirmingham) May 25, 2019
“Given recent protests in our city, it’s more important than ever that today we stand together in the face hatred and be a united voice for those prevented from doing so,” a fellow attendee explained. “Be proud of who you are.”
Another said: “Incredible to see such solidarity and love in the face of such divisive rhetoric!”