Exactly one month to the day since France celebrated its first gay marriage, tens of thousands of people thronged the streets of Paris to mark Gay Pride on Saturday.
To the sounds of techno music, the rainbow-decorated parade wound its way through the city centre to end at the Place de la Bastille.
AdvertisementFor participants, this year's Gay Pride -- the first since President Francois Hollande signed a landmark gay marriage and adoption bill into law last month -- was something special.
"This year it's different. I definitely had to be here, I had to overcome the fear," said Martine, a 63-year-old Parisian, referring to the numerous, and sometimes violent, anti-gay marriage protests that took place in the months leading up the bill's signing into law -- and that are still continuing.
At a press conference ahead of the parade, Nicolas Gougain, spokesman for the Inter-LGBT association, called the reform "a very important step that should lead to others" such as improved rights for transsexuals and medically assisted procreation to enable gay couples to have children.
"This is the opportunity for us to show everyone who wanted us to disappear these last few months that we do exist," he said.
France's first gay marriage, between two men, took place in the southern city of Montpellier on May 29. Dozens more have since been celebrated around the country.