Over the next two days the blog is going to be shifting it’s emphasis, from London to Lisbon, to mark the fact that I spent the last week in the city and surrounding area.
On Saturday I was involved in Lisbon’s LGBT Pride March, supported by the local ALGI gay rights group, as a member of London’s ‘Pink Singers‘ – the capital’s largest LGBT community choir. Portugal has some of the most forward-thinking legislation around gay rights – same-sex marriage has been legalised since 2010 for example, however given the size of the city (which has a population in the metropolitan area of some 3,000,000 people) the march was very small with only a few hundred participants. Clearly while the legal framework strongly supports gay rights its clear to me that people still have concerns about being open about their sexuality – nothing ‘outs’ you more publicly than participating in a pride march, and perhaps those concerns are what kept the majority of the gay community away. Fortunately the only openly homophobic activity was someone throwing water over some of the marchers – given how hot it was on Saturday (about 34C) I wonder whether a smile and an “obregado!” would have been the most appropriate response… Other than that the march had a real party atmosphere and was a credit to the organisers. Here are some of the most colourful images that I captured – you can see the remainder here.
In the evening we were the guests of the ‘Coro da ILGA’, Lisbon’s small LGBT choir, at the edgy Teatro do Bairro on a small side street in the hilly Bairro Alto district of the city (I say edgy because the performance took place late in the evening after a play entitled “Capital F*ck” – I’ll leave the asterisk to your imagination!). It was a great opportunity for the ‘Pink Singers’ to trial the material that they will be performing at their summer concert, ‘Around The World’, which takes place on 14 July at St John’s in Smith Square, central London. Despite being squeezed onto a tiny stage that made choreography horrendously difficult for the 50 or so members who had made the trip to Lisbon, the choir went down very well with the local crowd, particularly their rendition of Jorge Ben’s song ‘Mas que Nada’, which is sung in Brazilian-accented Portuguese. Here are some images of the performance – again the rest can be found online here.