Theresa May has issued a statement of solidarity with the LGBT community ahead of Brighton Pride this weekend.
Britain's new Prime Minister, who took lead role in introducing equal marriage in England and Wales 2013 but whose prior record on gay rights
has led to a degree of criticism from the LGBT community, paid tribute to June's "tragic and senseless" murders in Orlando as she wished Pride-goers well.
"I want to send my very best wishes to the many thousands who will come together for Brighton and Hove Pride this weekend", Mrs May said. "It is absolutely fitting that the UK’s biggest Pride festival should be in a city so famous for its tolerance and diversity.
"Brighton has led the way in campaigning for LGBT rights and equal marriage was brilliantly championed by all three of your MPs – Peter Kyle, Caroline Lucas and Simon Kirby – each from different political parties. I, myself, have seen first-hand the important work of the police to support the LGBT community, the great HIV charity Sussex Beacon and Brighton’s moving memorial to those who have lost their lives to AIDS."
The newly-appointed Conservative Party leader continued: "When I stood in Downing Street as Prime Minister for the first time last month, I said that I believe in a country that works for everyone, whoever we are and wherever we’re from.
"We rightly take pride in making Britain one of the most LGBT-friendly places in the world. We grieve with all LGBT communities after the tragic and senseless murders in Orlando and we express our determination to defeat all forms of bigotry and violence.
"Together we stand for a future where everyone can enjoy the freedom to live and love openly."
She added: "I know that Brighton Pride will once again inspire us all with its dazzling array of artists and performances and its wonderful celebration of diversity - and I wish everyone involved a great weekend."
With over 290,000 people participating in last year’s event, Brighton Pride 2016 looks set to be bigger and better than ever before, with the Pride Community Parade set to host its own ‘Carnival Of Diversity’
, with a campaigning theme of ‘Uniting Nations’ to reflect Pride’s on-going commitment to global LGBT+ rights.
Saturday's Pride festival Preston Park will see global superstar Carly Rae Jepsen
take to the main stage, alongside other acts including Sister Sledge, Alesha Dixon, DJ Fresh, Fleur East and X Factor's
Seann Miley Moore.
For more information on the acts, the events and the all-important weather, check out our Brighton Pride round-up
Tickets for Brighton Pride 2016 are now available here.
For more information visit brighton-pride.org, or check out our ultimate guide to the weekend’s festivities.
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