yorkpride2013Almost a thousand marchers paraded through historic York on Saturday 1st June in a massive show of support to kick homophobia out of sport. The city centre was packed with spectators as the demonstrators – many in fancy dress – unfurled a 100m long rainbow flag next to York Minster. Players from York’s rugby league club, the Knights, joined the Parade, together with many of the City Councillors, as they marched with local lgbt people to carry the giant flag to York Racecourse, led by a samba band with drums pounding.

They carried signs with slogans such as ‘When Did You Decide To Be Straight?’ and ‘Institutionalise Equality – Not Hatred’.

Organisers of York Pride estimated the 2, 500 turnout for the afternoon of entertainment at the Racecourse was double that of last year’s event, with York Pride becoming an unmissable and unique event in the calendar of Yorkshire gay pride events. The upbeat mood was set by a series of rousing speeches calling for a new stand against homophobia in sport, by the York City FC director, the Head Coach at York City Knights (Gary Thornton), and the Leader of York Council.

York City FC director Sophie Hicks told the crowds: “It’s thrilling to see so many people. I feel very proud to be involved in this fantastic event. Over the years, football has made significant social progress. We even now have women in the boardroom – which includes me. However, homophobia is undoubtedly football’s last and most stubborn taboo.”

City of York Council leader James Alexander told the cheering onlookers: “This is a very, very important event for this city. The rainbow flag is flying over the Mansion House. This will happen every year and we are very proud.”

Greg Dyke, Chairman of the Football Association and Chancellor of the University of York, said: “It is excellent to see York’s professional football and rugby league teams line up alongside the gay community.”

The afternoon of entertainment was headlined by Bears Aloud and Diva Fever, and entertainment included fairground rides, adult bouncy castles, a same-sex wedding fair and a penalty shoot-out area run by York City FC.

Categories: News

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