by Rex Wockner
Around half a million people turned out for London’s gay pride parade July 5, led by Mayor Boris Johnson, who wore a pink cowboy hat.
Members of the British Army, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force marched in uniform. The Ministry of Defence offered free travel for servicemembers who wanted to attend the parade.
Well-known activist Peter Tatchell carried a poster with a doctored, gayed-up photo of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
“Ahmadinejad leads a regime that arrests, jails, flogs, tortures and sometimes executes gay people,” Tatchell said.
MP Harriet Harman, minister of equality and deputy leader of the Labour Party, reportedly was booed as she spoke from the main stage at Trafalgar Square.
Tatchell said the crowd was unhappy over the UK’s treatment of gay asylum-seekers from homophobic nations.
Prior to the parade, Prime Minister Gordon Brown met with activists, including actor Sir Ian McKellen, at his residence.
They discussed homophobic bullying in schools, and Brown’s spokesman said he was “delighted” to have met with the group.