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Peter Tatchell and Gay Liberation Front veterans to march Pride in London parade route despite cancellation due to coronavirus

Nick Duffy June 15, 2020
Peter Tatchell during Pride in London 2019

Peter Tatchell during Pride in London 2019 (Tristan Fewings/Getty Images for Pride in London)

Outspoken gay rights activist Peter Tatchell plans to mark Pride in London by marching along the parade route, despite the cancellation of the event.

The city’s annual Pride march, which had been due to take place on June 27, has been cancelled for the first time in five decades because of the ban on mass gatherings imposed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

But Tatchell, who has attended every London pride parade since 1972, has said he plans to go ahead with an unauthorised march on the same day, alongside other veteran members of the London Gay Liberation Front to mark the group’s 50th anniversary.

The small group of activists will march along the official parade route from Regent Street to Trafalgar Square, while wearing face masks and practising social distancing.

Veteran members of the London Gay Liberation Front will march along the Pride in London route to mark the group's 50th anniversary.
Veteran members of the London Gay Liberation Front will march along the Pride in London route to mark the group’s 50th anniversary.

A release made clear: “The march will comprise only of elderly GLF veterans and is not open to the wider LGBT+ community in order to ensure compliance with the COVID-19 regulations and to protect the health of vulnerable at-risk veterans from the early 1970s. There will be a small group of chosen supporters to give the GLF veterans back-up.”

Peter Tatchell: ‘We’re not letting the pandemic stop Pride.’

Tatchell said: “Homophobia did not defeat us, so we’re not going to let the COVID-19 pandemic stop Pride.

“We GLF veterans confronted anti-LGBT+ bigots 50 years ago. We faced down police harassment, far right extremists and homophobic political and religious leaders.

“We are marching as Pride was planned, with face masks and social distancing.”

He added: “We support Black Lives Matter and the just demands of Black communities, just as we did in the early 1970s.

“GLF did not seek equal rights within a flawed, unjust status quo. It campaigned for the transformation of society to end straight supremacism and stood in solidarity with all other oppressed communities.

“This same agenda of radical social transformation is needed now as the UK faces the quadruple whammy of COVID-19, economic meltdown, endemic racism and climate destruction.”

Peter Tatchell attends the Pride In London Gala Dinner 2019
Peter Tatchell attends the Pride In London Gala Dinner 2019 (Photo by Jeff Spicer/Getty Images for Pride in London)

Pride in London parade has been cancelled until 2021.

The unauthorised march is not supported by Pride in London – which has postponed all in-person festivities until 2021.

Announcing the cancelling of the official march earlier this year, Pride in London’s organisers had said: “It’s been a tough decision to postpone the Pride in London parade and events, but the health and safety of our communities is our top priority.

“With the climate changing daily, we need to think even further ahead and make timely decisions to protect the health and wellbeing of our communities, volunteers and participants.

“We’d like to thank our partners and agencies, as well as our volunteers and the public for their patience and ongoing support during this time.”

More: coronoavirus, London, London Gay Liberation Front, Peter Tatchell, Pride, Pride in London

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