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Thousands celebrate the return of Birmingham Pride

Thousands of people lined the streets today to celebrate the return of Birmingham Pride, after it was axed last year because of coronavirus.

Crowds from around the country, some from as far as Dundee, came together to cheer on the parade as it made its way through the city centre on Saturday lunchtime.

West Midlands Mayor Andy Street, who was in the crowd, said: “It was brilliant to see everyone together.

READ MORE: Birmingham Pride 2021 LIVE updates – news, pictures, video, as festival returns

“Congratulations to the organisers of this event who had the confidence that we’d be able to do this.”

“It’s the first big Pride parade anywhere in the country, so brilliant that it should be here.”

“It’s a celebration for the whole of the city and the region to say: ‘This is a place where everyone is included and part of our city’.”

Birmingham Pride 2021 Parade

Birmingham Pride is the UK’s largest two-day LGBTQ+ Pride festival.

The event, which is usually held in June, was moved to September to this year to allow people to attend without Covid restrictions.

One local drag artist said the return of Pride was a “lovely feeling.”

Thousands celebrate the return of Birmingham Pride
Birmingham Pride 2021 Parade

“It’s so nice to be out here and see everyone again, there are people I haven’t seen in such a long time!

“It’s so nice to be reminded that we, as a LGBTQ+ community here in Birmingham, are still here and support each other.”

But Mayzar Shirali, chair of the Persian LGBT Organisation, said Pride was more than just a celebration.

“Pride is about fighting for LGBT people in counties where they are suppressed, killed and executed just for being the beautiful people they are,” he said.

Thousands celebrate the return of Birmingham Pride
Birmingham Pride 2021 Parade

Shay, another member of the crowd, said that Pride was about “accepting” who she was.”

“Pride, to me, means acceptance. It’s taken me quite a while to accept myself fully, and love myself for who I am, it means a lot to me.”

Thousands celebrate the return of Birmingham Pride
Birmingham Pride 2021 Parade

There will be performances from a range of artists over Pride weekend at Smithfield Live, the new site playing host to Pride’s biggest ever stage.

Acts performing over the weekend include Sophie Ellis Bextor, Clean Bandit and Katy B.

Former Girls Aloud Star Cheryl, who was due to headline the festival on Saturday, pulled out on Friday following the death of her former bandmate Sarah Harding from breast cancer.

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