Ian McKellen Salutes Gay Pride Parade Revellers

Pam WrightLife

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Sir Ian McKellen made an appearance at the Pride in London Parade on Saturday.

The parade is just one part of the city's week-long Pride in London festival, which takes place every year to celebrate gay rights.

McKellen, 75, who came out at the age of 49 during a BBC radio interview, was on-hand to introduce Eurovision song contest winner Conchita Wurst.

"Show business has always led the way when it comes to the freedom to be yourself," said the Lord of the Rings actor to a crowd of more than 300,000.

"So, Conchita is following in the footsteps of our predecessors. There is a long tradition of outrageousness and confidence that performers embody, and that has an enormous impact. It clears the way for others to dare to be themselves. She has done just that."

McKellen told the revellers about his memories of the first parade he attended around 25 years ago, saying he will "never forget the feeling of being able to walk along all ages and experiences, and to finally be cheered for being ourselves."

"Today I have seen people in wheelchairs, all ages, teenagers, from all countries, and they are all proud of who we are," said the X-Men star. "There are teenagers who have travelled from their own home countries to London for this, and when I see that I can say that in all honesty the world must have changed for the better. For that, I am grateful to all the old timers who pioneered the gay rights movement."

Image via Wikimedia Commons

Pam Wright