Birmingham Pride festivities begin today at noon with an ‘Equal Love’ themed carnival march, and will continue over the Bank Holiday weekend with entertainment ranging from JLS to Bananarama.

The march will set off from Victoria Square, led by LGBT rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, reports the Birmingham Mail.

Tatchell said: “I am proud to support Birmingham Pride 2013. I hope you will join me for a fabulous parade and party.

“The LGBT community makes a huge, positive contribution to the city; enriching its cultural diversity,” he added. “It is important to keep campaigning for LGBT dignity, respect, acceptance and human rights – in Birmingham and across the UK.”

The Equal Love theme reflects the UK’s steps towards LGBT equality, and most notably the same-sex marriage bill which was passed on to the House of Lords on Tuesday.

Tatchell said: “The battle for marriage equality is almost won but not quite. We are still striving for equal love rights. Our efforts are part of a worldwide movement for LGBT equality. Queer freedom is an unstoppable global trend.

“Don’t accept homophobia. Dream of a world without the persecution of LGBT people. Help us make homophobia history.”

The festival’s director, Lawrence Barton, said: “Peter Tatchell has been at the forefront of the campaign for same-sex marriage equality so we are absolutely delighted that he will be leading our Equal Love-themed Carnival Parade this year.

“With gay marriage being introduced in France and New Zealand within the last month, we look forward to soon enjoying the same equality in this country.”

Boy band JLS will be heading this year’s Birmingham Pride as DJs – despite having split up on 24 April – along with Bananarama and a DJ set by Paloma Faith.

Other artists also confirmed to appear include X Factor finalist Rylan Clark, as well as Lucy Spraggan, Misha B and Stooshe.