Rainbow colours lit up city centre streets in the sixth annual Sunderland Pride festival.
Around 2,000 people, including representatives from emergency services and local businesses, donned colourful costumes for a Hairspray-themed parade from the Civic Centre, around Mowbray Park and along Holmeside to Park Lane for the city’s celebration of its lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.
The explosion of colour was followed by a day of entertainment and live performances in Park Lane, headlined by X Factor’s Kitty Brucknell and tributes to Little Mix and Beyonce.
Mayor of Sunderland, coun Alan Emerson, said: “The Pride Parade represents the freedom marches that took place so many years ago and goes much deeper than flying a flag. It’s a chance to show everyone in this city that we’re a diverse city and that this is a place for everyone.
“Events such as this gives the city a chance to show its solidarity with sisters and brothers from the LGBT community around the world who are persecuted, just for being themselves.
“This event is a wonderful opportunity to be proud of who you are.”
Mark Nichols, chairman of Northern Pride, said: “This is a celebration of our history and culture. In the North, we are proud to have four free Pride events in Sunderland, Newcastle, Durham and Cumbria. It’s a time to come together and show solidarity.
“Though today we have some of the best equality rights we’ve ever had, there are parts of the world where that isn’t the case. The atrocity in Orlando which cost 49 people their lives reminds us that homophobia, transphobia and biphobia is still alive and kicking around the world. We still have a long way to go to combat social inequality. Sunderland Pride is a reminder of our history so that we can learn and develop in the future.”
Sunderland Pride is organised by a committee who spend 12 months planning each event. They are reliant upon fundraising activities and sponsors to help stage the event and keep it free for everyone.