A Gay Old Time in London

I didn't think London would be so gay. Anybody up for a trip to Soho? I already want to go back!
Parliament in London
Photo: Courtesy of Ryan Collins

I went to London this weekend and saw Parliament, Trafalgar Square, Buckingham Palace and Soho. I rode the London Underground. Of course, I expected the city to be gorgeous, dynamic and fun, which it was. I knew I would love the city, but I didn’t expect I would fall in love with it, nor did I expect that London would be so GAY.

I was in the city for less than two hours and saw two men kiss outside of a restaurant. The whole trip was like that, guys kissing and holding hands as they walked down the street. I know PDA isn’t earth-shattering and happens in the US too, but I think it’s really important. It shows something great about London: that same-sex couples are able to freely be in public and show affection for each other. London was accepting; the other people on the street didn’t care.

Beyond that, things just got gayer. I went to Soho and discovered the West End, packed with theaters and musicals. Finally, I found what I would call the gay village, which was sort of sandwiched in with Soho but was (perhaps predictably) close to the West End.

Before London, I had never been to a gay village. I missed the one in Paris, so I knew I had to find London’s. The entire area of Soho and the West End had an awesome vibe of acceptance.

My last few hours in London were the best. I walked to Trafalgar Square in the evening and saw a crowd gathered throughout the square around a stage. I made my way as close as I could. It turned out to be a memorial for victims of hate crimes, as well as a gay rights rally in general. Several LGBT-related charities were there, and I talked to a man who was collecting as I gave some change. We spoke about how gay rights in the USA are behind those in Europe, for the most part. He asked me when I was going back. I told him my flight is in December, and he gave me what I would call a very sympathetic look, patted my shoulder and said something along the lines of, “Well, I wish you luck.”

Eventually, an activist was welcomed on stage. It was Harvey Milk’s nephew, Stuart Milk. I couldn’t believe it. He spoke of his uncle and also about the LGBT-related work he does now. Here’s a video of a portion of his speech (it’s low-quality):

Do I need to say more how gay London was? I loved that city.

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