Pride London

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Pride London 2008, the Main Stage in Trafalgar Square

London LGBT+ Community Pride is the name of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community interest company which arranges LGBT events in London, most notably the week long 'Pride Festival' in the run up to the annual gay pride parade which is held in June/July. It is known as 'Pride in London'. In 2014 the Parade is scheduled to take place on Saturday 28 June. It is one of London's biggest public events, second only in size to the Notting Hill Carnival.

Pride in London is run by volunteers (including the board of directors). The stated mission of Pride in London is to be fully inclusive of all sections of the LGBT+ community, free at the point of access; to provide a celebration of LGBT+ life and a platform to continue the fight for equality and to challenge prejudice; and to establish Pride in London on a sustainable footing and grow the festival over time to serve better the needs of London’s LGBT+ community and promote London as a beacon to the world.

History[edit]

First gay pride march, 1972

Pride has been organised by several organisations since the first official UK Gay Pride Rally which was held in London on 1 July 1972 (chosen as the nearest Saturday to the anniversary of the Stonewall riots of 1969) with approximately 2000 participants.[1][2] The first London gay marches were in November 1970 with 150 men walking through Highbury Fields in North London.[3] The controversy of Section 28 from 1988 lead to numbers increasing on the march in protest. In 1983 the march was renamed "Lesbian and Gay Pride" and in the 1990s became more of a carnival event. There were large park gatherings and a fair after the marches up until 2003.[3]

'Pride London' was formed in 2004. Since 2004 a political rally in Trafalgar Square has been held straight after the parade, and more recently Pride London has organised several other events in the centre of London on Pride Day including in 2006 'Drag Idol' in Leicester Square, a women's stage in Soho and a party in Soho Square. In 1992 London was selected to hold the first Europride with attendance put at 100,000,[4] London again held Europride in 2006 with an estimated 600,000 participants. In 2004 it was awarded registered charity status. The 2012 event was World Pride.,[5] though this was to be the last event organised by Pride London.

In late 2012, a group of individuals from within the LGBTQ community formed London LGBT+ Community Pride, a registered community interest company, and the company organised the Pride in London festival and parade in 2013. The organisation has been awarded a contract to organise Pride in London for five years by the Greater London Authority, together with funding of £500,000 over five years. The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson has been a vocal supporter of Pride in London.

London LGBT+ Community Pride[edit]

London LGBT+ Community Pride was formed in August 2012 as a Community Interest Company (CIC) to deliver Pride in London. It was founded as such so that any surplus generated can only be reinvested in Pride in London events or distributed as grants to LGBT+ community groups. The current chair of London LGBT+ Community Pride is Michael Salter, Political Head of Broadcasting at 10 Downing Street.

In addition to the Board, the organisation has a Community Advisory Board which was established as an advisory and scrutiny body to help meet its commitment to openness and transparency, to advise on questions of inclusivity, to distribute grants to community groups and to act as a source of guidance on governance and operational issues that may arise.

Pride March[edit]

Pride London March 2008, the 100m rainbow flag

Large numbers of LGBT-friendly people (including a significant number of family, friends and supporters) from all walks of life take part in the March. Since 1991, the Friends of Dorothy Society of Change Ringers have rung the bells of the church of St Martin in the Fields in Trafalgar Square during the morning of Pride, and as the March passes through. For many the most iconic image is of a long rainbow flag, in 2006 this was carried by members of the Metro Centre. In 2010 it was jointly carried by EDF Energy and Tesco's staff network groups. After an absence in 2013, the long flag is set to return in 2014.

Since 2006 Regent Street and Oxford Street have been closed off to allow the March to pass through. This is seen by many in the LGBT community as a sign of wider acceptance, although the March once routed down Oxford Street illegally in protest in the 1980s.

In 2014 the March will leave the bottom of Baker Street, run east along Oxford Street, south down Regent Street, across Piccadilly Circus, down Waterloo Place, along Pall Mall, through Trafalgar Square and into Whitehall, where the March disperses. All March participants are directed into Whitehall Place to disperse but, as Pride in London coincides with Armed Forces Day, March participants from the Armed Forces walk down Whitehall to The Cenotaph.

FFLAG group taking part in the Pride London March 2011.

Many companies, charities and special interest groups participate in the Pride March, and in 2013 more than 130 groups totalling more than 15,000 people participated. The 2014 March will include groups as varied as Stonewall, ASDA supermarket's LGBT staff, London Ambulance Service, and Macmillan Cancer Support, together with main sponsor Barclays Bank.

Volunteers[edit]

Pride in London has a volunteer stewarding system for the March which is used as an example by many other pride events. Every single person, including all directors and trustees are entirely voluntary. Stewards are stationed along the March route, in Trafalgar Square, and around the bars and entertainments in Soho.

The number of volunteers involved necessitates a management structure, which includes senior stewards, area supervisors and managers. Whilst a minimum of 450 volunteers are required to allow the event to go ahead, Pride in London state that an ideal number would be closer to 800.

Pride London Festival[edit]

The Pride London Festival started in 2006 when London hosted EuroPride. It re-emerged in 2009 as groundwork was laid for hosting World Pride in 2012. In 2009 the festival opened with The Bad Film Club presenting Can't Stop the Music at the Prince Charles Cinema on Saturday 20 June. It closed on 5 July 2009 with a performance from the London Gay Symphony Orchestra.

The Pride London Festival 2014 Week runs from 21 to 29 June. There are several stages involved in the Festival, the main one being located in Trafalgar Square. On the Saturday 28th of June, the main stage hosts singers such as Conchita Wurst and Heather Peace. [6]

Sponsors[edit]

The headline sponsor for Pride in London in 2014 is Barclays Bank. Other sponsors include ASDA, CitiBank, Prudential and SAB Miller.

Patrons[edit]

Pride London has several famous patrons including:

Previous patrons have included:

Controversy[edit]

At Pride London 2011, a marcher carrying a Socialist Worker Party placard.

Historically, organisations running London Pride have come under criticism from socialists within the LGBT community, for instance, Hannah Dee argues that it had reached "the point that London Pride - once a militant demonstration in commemoration of the Stonewall riots - has become a corporate-sponsored event far removed from any challenge to the ongoing injusticies that we [the LGBT community] face."[7]

WorldPride London 2012[edit]

Part of the Pride Walk going past Trafalgar Square

At an October 2008 conference in Vancouver, InterPride accepted a bid from Pride London to host WorldPride 2012. This was to coincide with the London Olympic and Paralympic Games and during the anticipated year-long celebrations of The Queen's Diamond Jubilee. Pride London planned a parade with floats, a large performance area in Trafalgar Square with street parties in Golden Square and Soho.

However, a failure of the Pride London organisers to secure the funds necessary for contractors of key aspects of the event led to a significant scaling back of the event just nine days before it was due to take place. Consequently, the entertainment and stages were all cut, and license applications for street parties in Soho withdrawn. Instead, the event plans included a Pride Walk (without floats or vehicles), and a scaled-back rally in Trafalgar Square. On 5 July, the Metropolitan Police issued a license regulations notice to all venues in Soho, reminding them that Pride London now has no license for street events in the Soho area, and therefore venues should treat WorldPride as "any normal day".[8]

This string of failings led to the closure of the Pride London organisation in the days which followed the 2012 event. Its successor, London LGBT+ Community Pride, was formed in October 2012.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ "The Knitting Circle: Pride, Pride History". Archived from the original on 2007-12-31. 
  2. ^ (Walton 2010, p. 59) Peter Tatchell estimates 700 joined the march itself.
  3. ^ a b (Walton 2010, p. 61)
  4. ^ "Huge turnout for EuroPride '92". 
  5. ^ "Big Day". Pridelondon.org. Archived from the original on 2011-07-17. Retrieved 2012-02-23. 
  6. ^ The centrepiece of the Pride in London celebrations takes place in the iconic Trafalgar Square
  7. ^ Dee, Hannah (2010). The Red in the Rainbow: Sexuality, Socialism & LGBT Liberation. Bloomsbury, London: Bookmarks Publications. Page 08-09.
  8. ^ "Police issue license regulations notice to Soho venues | 17-24-30 no to hate crime campaign". 172430notohatecrime.wordpress.com. 2012-07-05. Retrieved 2013-03-05. 

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