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Pride in London cancelled for the second year in a row

Josh Milton August 6, 2021
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Pride in London 2019 

The Pride in London 2019 Parade passes through Piccadilly Circus. (Photo by Matthew Chattle/Barcroft Media/Barcroft Media via Getty Images)

Pride in London, one of the largest LGBT+ events in Britain, has cancelled its annual parade citing COVID-19 restrictions.

In a sombre YouTube statement posted Friday morning (6 August), the organisation’s executive director Christopher Joell-Deshields said that hopes the already-postponed parade could be held were dashed by coronavirus guidelines.

“No parade, no protest, means no Pride,” he said.

It’s a devastating blow the community and the latest in a series of cancelled Pride marches.

Pride in London had been pencilled for 11 September after 2020’s march was scrapped due to the coronavirus pandemic.

But tough decisions loomed over organisers after the government updated its guidance on large public events, Joell-Deshields said.

“Last week was extremely challenging navigating the government’s recently updated COVID-19 guidelines and legislation for large-scale public events like ours,” he said.

“It became clear when working through final risk assessments that our event could not provide the level of mitigation expected from the local public health team and the government.

“It would have meant losing the crucial parade and reducing the event to just two or three stages scattered across central London with limited tickets.

“This goes against everything we want Pride in London to be or what we have been so far. No parade, no protest means no Pride.

“We cannot waver from the commitment to you, our community. How are we meant to tell some people that they have tickets and others they don’t?”

Listing other large-scale public events which have been pulled for similar concerns, such as Brighton Pride and the Notting Hill Carnival, Joell-Deshields added: “The team and I agree, public health and well-being is our top priority.”

Volunteers will continue to work on “reinforcing our engagement with LGBT+ communities” and addressing issues of diversity and inclusion.

Earlier this year, Pride in London’s formerly most senior Black official quit citing concerns it had failed to act on racism.

More resignation followed, including at least 20 volunteers and its oversight board, stepped down from Pride in London, prompting a public reckoning over the organisation’s role in supporting queer communities of colour.

A chorus of calls for new leadership followed, ending with Pride in London’s co-chairs and five senior directors all resigning in unison.

“It’s disappointing that Pride in London has been cancelled,” said Amnesty UK in a news release. “But there is a need for Pride as a protest worldwide to demand equal rights for the LGBTI+ community.

“Today in 70 countries around the world, same-sex relationships and sexual activity remains a crime.

“We are again calling on the UK government to outlaw harmful conversion therapy practices – a heinous practice that needs to end now.

“Even though Pride won’t take to the streets of London this year, we still encourage everyone to stand up for LGBTI+ rights and show solidarity however they can.”

Related topics: Pride in London

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