The day began with the SM Pride march when around 500 SMers and friends set off from Whitehall. I asked a few people why they were marching - this is what I got back:
"It's important for SMers to be visible so the public are aware of SM so it's not a mystery and they know we are human beings and not monsters. It's important for SMers to have the opportunity to be out and to live according to their truth."
"It's the one day of the year I get to dress up in rubber in public."
"To be seen to be there - it's important to show them we can't be squashed by their idiotic laws."
"Because all my friends were there."
"Because it's good to be positively recognisable as SM. Because I'm with people I identify with it gives me pride in being an SMer it makes me feel good."
The march ended with a rally outside ULU which began with a short period of silence for Colin Laskey the Spanner man who died recently. The two remaining Spanner men, Roland Jaggard and Tony Brown, were there in person and accepted the first 5000 pounds for the Spanner Trust from Rob Grover.
With the many attractions of Dungeon in the Sky followed by the Backlash benefit in the evening it would be impossible to justice to day so I'll just quote a few people's highlights:
"Watching the lead singer of Beauty and the Bitch flogging his partner - a beautiful experience."
[At Dungeon in the Sky] "Buying a butt plug, fantasising about the person who might use it on me ... I turned around and she was there, smiling."
"I really loved being a pony on the march. I've never done it in public before and to do it in Whitehall was a real high. Peoples reaction was good - some gobsmacked but mainly happy to see us."
"The SM Showdog Trials was fun. It's unique and really good to have animal role play so visible."
"Being strapped on the hand by Sam at ULU"
"Having my trousers and pants pulled down and being beaten in public in front of the SM community - it took balls to do that."
"Winning a very sweet slut in a raffle"
"Doing my workshop which went really well and then enjoying the evening and having no responsibilities."
"At Backlash seeing two women above the level of the crowd, one stretched out, the other piercing her back with rows of needles. They were celebrating their sexuality and skill. It was impressive that they felt safe to do that in a mixed public event."