Planning ahead for Pride in London
Get your diaries out – if you want to be part of the Pride celebrations in London this year, it’s Saturday 6 July that the annual march will be shutting down the West End.
Whether you’re marching, parading, or just lining the streets to show your support and be part of the day. LGBTQ Pride events are an important opportunity to fly the flag, to be visible, to be present.
It’s easy to be critical of an event like Pride in London. For an event that began as a protest march in 1972, things have evolved, things have changed. The march is now a parade, a celebration. It’s a commercial, corporate affair – everyone’s selling something, everyone’s out to make a a few pounds from LGBTQ Pride.
There will be a huge number of groups walking in the parade. Charities, community, groups, sports clubs, brands, corporations, various branches of the civil service, as well as the police, and the military.
At best, a lot of these organisations that will be so proudly represented in London’s Pride parade weren’t there when we really needed them - they stayed silent when their voices could have been really powerful. At worst, these are the organisations who discriminated against us, persecuted us, prosecuted us, imprisoned us.
But, things change. That major corporations, brands, and branches of government now feel that LGBTQ Pride is an event that they can be part of is a demonstration of how far we’ve come since the first London Pride in 1972, or since 1967 when homosexuality was partially decriminalised in the UK.
More importantly, it’s the people marching in this parade that are the most powerful demonstration of the power of visibility. By their very existence in these multinational corporations, these brands, these organisations, they have changed things. The police that are marching in this parade are the LGBTQ people who have joined the police and changed things by their presence. You used to be dishonourably discharged from the military if they found out that you were gay – now they want us to join, with targeted recruitment campaigns encouraging LGBTQ people to enlist.
It’s never a bad idea to celebrate Pride. It’s never a bad idea to celebrate who we are, and how far we’ve come. It’s never a bad idea to let everyone be part of that celebration, to celebrate with us – we don’t discriminate, we know what that feels like, we know the harm that causes.
There’s still battles to be fought for the LGBTQ community. Not just in the UK, but around the world. If you’re going to be in London on Saturday 6 July, make sure you get out there and wave your rainbow flag.