The mother of murdered gay teen Michael Causer led Liverpool's third annual pride march today (4 August), kicking off a day of celebrations including live music and a street party.
Samba Reggae band Batala Liverpool roused the crowds swelling the streets outside the Walker Art Gallery with a foot-stomping performance, before the UK city's town cryer hailed the LGBT festival open and hundreds of marchers began making their way towards the historic Albert Dock.
Leading the 'naughtical but nice' themed procession was Marie Causer, whose gay son Michael was murdered by homophobic thugs in 2008.
The 51-year-old founded the Michael Causer Foundation to provide safe accommodation and support for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youngsters who are homeless or at risk in the north-west of England.
She has been asked to lead the march every year in honor of her late son.
'Pride in Liverpool is really important. It shows people that we take a stand, we’re here and we’re not going anywhere,' Causer told Gay Star News.
'We’re all unique and can live how we want to live. If we want to march we can march.
'Hopefully Liverpool has changed for the better since the first pride but it’s not to where we want it to be yet.'
Angela Eagle, Britain’s first out lesbian Member of Parliament and Liverpool Pride's first patron, also joined the parade with other LGBT members of the Labour Party.
The current Shadow Leader of the House of Commons and chair of the Labour Party's National Policy Forum campaigned for LGBT equality throughout her career and played a leading role in the abolition of anti-gay laws including the Tories’ Section-28 which banned the ‘promotion’ of homosexuality in schools.
Another first for the LGBT march was the presence of Liverpool Football Club.
The team are the first premier league club in the UK to join Liverpool's pride celebrations.
Liverpool FC recently worked with Liverpool Pride on the Football versus Homophobia tournament, hosted at the club’s academy earlier this year. The aim of the tournament was to end any association between football and homophobia.
Liverpool Pride started just two years ago and has grown to be one of the biggest free gay festivals in the country, after London.
The inaugural event attracted over 20,000 people and doubled to over 44,000 last year.
The city's gay village in the Stanley Street area is holding a street party after the parade and there will be live music stages both there and at the Waterfront, with performances from gay X Factor runner-up Marcus Collins, former Atomic Kitten Liz McClarnon and Jessica Wright.
There's still time to come to Liverpool and join in the city's exuberant pride celebrations.
Virgin Trains offer a fast and regular service, hourly six and half days a week, from London Euston to Liverpool Lime Street station.
Taking just two hours, it's a quick, reliable and exceedingly comfortable journey, with First Class offering passengers complimentary wi-fi, refreshments and snacks.
To book, call +44 (0)871 977 4222 or click here.
Just minutes from all the pride action at the Albert Dock, Pierhead and Stanley Street 'gayborhood' is the funky Hotel Indigo.
Blending comfort and style, it's a friendly, welcoming and just the right side of trendy boutique hotel and the perfect place to rest and recuperate after the pride party.
Hotel Indigo Liverpool boasts 151 cosy, airy and inviting guestrooms. Each room is stylishly designed, with rainfall shower, oversized beds, plush bedding and stylish throw pillows.