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Copenhagen celebrates gay pride 2014

Lesbians, gay, drags, transsexuals, heterosexuals and everything in between. All gathered in the name of inclusivity las Saturday. The University Post reports from a float, set up by students and staff from the Faculty of Law

Someone is drawing a rainbow on my face. Another hand dumps a fistful of glitter in my hair. Frederik, a law student wearing a white shirt that reads ‘Faculty of Law Love’, takes my arm and covers it in multicoloured stripes.

As a foreigner in Denmark, a country famed for stoic and reserved natives, I feel immediately included.

The speakers blast Madonna’s ‘Material Girl’, the bubble machine gets into full gear and we’re off, greeted by a sea of grinning faces. The float shakes with the weight of students and staff jumping in time to the music, and onlookers respond with their own dance moves, high fives, and beers raised in toast.

Check out our photo report right here!

Everyone is here

The city seems to be bubbling with support for the LGBT community, and Copenhageners are only too eager to find creative ways to show it. Dogs wear rainbow sweaters while countless children dressed as Minnie Mouse, Superman, or Fairies wave enthusiastically at the passing parade. Signs abound supporting the LGBT community and denouncing Putin (many reading ‘Vladimir Pussy’), and one store has dressed up its mannequin in a sparkling, multicoloured dress.

For Sally, this is all part of the magic. She’s 19, and has attended the pride parade ever since she was a child – it marks one of her favourite days of the year.

“‘It’s a day where everybody smiles! Kids are everywhere, smiling and waving up to you on your float. People cheer for one another and smile at strangers,” she says.

The atmosphere is one of inclusivity. Thea Nielsen, a graphic designer on our float, points to the widespread participation in the parade, which cuts across all sectors of Danish society.

“Everyone is here. Even the Danish national rail have a float. It’s fantastic. CPH Pride is really massive,” she says.

To Russia with Love

The parade kicked off Saturday at 1pm with Amnesty International marching at the helm, reiterating human rights as a central theme to this year’s Pride festivities in light of recent LGBT discrimination in Russia.

Onlookers and paraders alike flashes slogans like ‘To Russia with Love’ on their t-shirts, referring to a recent campaign collaborated between Amnesty International, Copenhagen Pride and several LGBT rights groups. It seeks to condemn a recently passed Russian law which bans the spread of ‘propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations’ among minors.

Earlier in the week, thousands of protesters joined the campaign to deliver a petition to the Russian Embassy. Meanwhile, the parade teems with images of Russian president Vladimir Putin covered in neon rainbow make-up, a central motif of the campaign.

For Julius, the parade is an essential part of protesting against such discrimination.

“In some parts of the world it is still hard to find acceptance for non-traditional relationships. The CPH pride parade sends the message that Denmark celebrates these groups,” he says.

Clara, another law student on the faculty’s float, agrees.

“It’s a important to support the cause. Especially when you see the situation in Russia. It shows how easily we can lose rights and freedoms for the LGBT community if we don’t stand up for them.”

The party continues

The float pulls up to City Hall, which is so tightly packed I can barely get through the crowd. But the festivities aren’t even nearly over, with the party spilling into the nearby streets, which are covered with rainbow flags, balloons and pulsating music.

Long into the night, Copenhageners are celebrating, dancing in the street, admiring strangers’ costumes and sharing beers, while shop-owners perch their furniture on street corners and wave at passers-by.

With its message of overwhelming acceptance, the event is a testament to the inclusivity of Copenhagen. When I finally call it a night and walk home, covered in smudged rainbows, like everyone else, I feel like I am a part of it.

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