There’s nothing like those nights in London when, despite the nip in the air, you can feel that winter is slipping away, and the evenings are starting to stretch out. The dusk is a cobalt blue and the faded orange of the setting sun is amplified by the glow of sodium floodlights.
The 27th of February 2014 was just like that when a band of Pink Singers gathered in preparation for a performance at the Houses of Parliament.
This year has been a momentous one for the Pinkies. Last summer we sang at No. 10 to celebrate equal marriage, and so to perform in the Palace of Westminster to mark the end of a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Trans History Month which focused on music was not only a privilege and an honour, it also gave us a sense of completeness. We were there at the invitation of ParliOUT, a cross-party networking group which does amazing work from within the Houses to advance LGBT issues.
This being my first visit to Parliament, I felt a lot like a tourist, in awe of the amazing spaces we passed through to get to our stage on the terrace. I confess to gawking open-mouthed at the massive hammerbeam roof of Westminster Hall, the oil paintings of St. Stephen’s Hall and the ornate mosaic floors and gold leaf ceilings of Central Hall as we were ushered to the Commons.
There was hardly any time to take in the views before the event kicked off. John Bercow, the Speaker of the House of Commons, started with a light-hearted and self-deprecatory speech, before turning with seriousness to the recent noxious legislation in Russia, Uganda and Nigeria. On a world stage where innovation and talent makes a country competitive, governments must give their people, regardless of sexuality, every opportunity to flourish and grow. Persecuting minorities in the name of a perceived national identity does exactly the opposite and is self-defeating.