Pride in London to retrace route of UK’s ‘first Pride march’ for 50th anniversary

Lydia Veljanovski April 6, 2022
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Pride In London 2019

Pride Parade in London, 2019. (Getty)

Pride in London has announced details of its 50th anniversary, confirming that it will retrace the route of the historic 1972 march.

After a two-year hiatus owing to the coronavirus pandemic, Pride in London will return on 2 July.

The parade will follow the route of the UK’s first official Pride march, which took place in 1972, passing by important sites from the the country’s LGBT+ movement.

The procession will start at Hyde Park, the site of the first post-march picnic in 1972, and where miner’s labour groups showed solidarity with the LGBT+ community in 1985.

Andrew Lumsden, one of the original members of the Gay Liberation Front who helped organise the 1972 march, said in a statement: ”Taking the same route that we marched along in 1972 is a historic statement of how far we have come.

“Pride began all those years ago as a way for us to come out to society and ourselves, and be loud and proud about our LGBT+ identity.”

He added: “Important steps have been made by the community in tackling discrimination of all kinds, however at this monumental 50-year mark it is clear that our mission is not over. There is everything left to do.”

Last year, Pride in London faced a reckoning over a culture of racism and bullying.

The fallout began when its then-seniormost Black official, Rhammel Afflick, quit citing concerns leaders “ignored Black voices” and had refused to act on racism.

This sparked a wave of resignations shortly after, including at least 20 volunteers and its community advisory board.

Five of the organisations most senior members also quit, among them co-chairs Alison Camps and Michael Salter-Church.

Pride in London courted criticism again when it wrongly announced its 2022 event would be held in partnership with UK Black Pride.

It later clarified that it is “not in partnership with UK Black Pride but would very much like to be”, with the latter’s co-founder Lady Phyll welcoming Pride in London’s “initial and tangible commitments”.

Speaking about the upcoming parade, Christopher Joell-Deshields, executive director of Pride in London, said: “As we prepare for one of the most momentous LGBT+ pride events in the UK’s history, we are committed to delivering a pride that represents our entire community, including those that have been underrepresented.”

Pride in London said it is also using its anniversary to advocate for change. Specifically, it is calling on the government to ban conversion therapy for all LGBT+ people, reform the Gender Recognition Act, act on hate crime, end the hostile environment, and establish a national AIDS memorial.

Pride in London will be holding a community open meeting on 27 April, as well as drop in sessions, to share more about the Pride Parade and other plans to commemorate the 50th anniversary of UK Pride.

Organisers have received nearly 40,000 applications from all sections of the community and over 400 community groups.

The route map can be viewed here.

More: Pride in London

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