Over the weekend, I had the opportunity to visit London, and while on my way to view a relative’s tryptych painting in the BP Portrait Awards at the National Portrait Gallery near Trafalgar Square, a group of us happened upon London’s version of the Pride parade, promoting LGBT issues. As a native to Atlanta and a reality tv junkie (real world, etc…), I am familiar with the concept behind Pride—call it my social construct of reality—but at the same time, I was not expecting the level of cultural acceptance that the parade met; this is probably, due in part, to cultural barriers and personal upbringing in the bible belt.
However, the real shock to me was the corporate involvement and open willingness to discuss certain avant garde topics, including those of the LGBT community. As can be viewed in the picture (courtesy of Brittany Beisner, a student on the Terry program), one of the major convenient stores, Tesco, used this event as a means of advertisement and promotion, in an effort to reach out to this audience and market. Coming from America, it’s refreshing to see what we know as a taboo subject supported so openly by corporations, which are, generally, known to be conservative.
This is a far step from the American tradition of prejudice, including the Westboro Baptist Church and the atrocities against Matthew Shepard in Laramie, Wyoming.