Pride London is the name of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender registered charity which arranges LGBT events in London, most notably the annual gay pride parade which is held in June/July. The most recent London Pride was on 30 June 2007.
Pride London is a registered charity. The organisation is run by volunteers (including the board of directors) with some paid consultant help. The stated aim of Pride London is to produce a highly professional Pride Festival and an annual Pride Day comprising a Parade through central London, a politically based Rally and free entertainment in central London.
Pride has been organized by several organizations since the first UK Gay Pride Rally which was held in London on the 1st July 1972 which had approximately 2000 participants. . Pride London itself was formed in 2004.
The parade grew steadily each year attracting bigger crowds and more marchers. 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 , London again held Europride in 2006 with an estimated 600,000 participants. In 2004 it was awarded registered charity status.
Large numbers of LGBT-friendly people (including a significant number of family, friends and supporters) from all walks of life take part in the parade. 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 parade 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.
Since 2006 Regent Street and Oxford Street have been closed off to allow the parade to pass through. This is seen by many in the LGBT community as a sign of wider acceptance, although the parade once marched down Oxford Street illegally in protest in the 80s.
Groups who participate include the The OutZone Youth Project for gay and bisexual young men (Project for Advice, Counselling and Education), Mosaic LGBT Youth, Queer Youth (formally The Queer Youth Alliance), OutOnThursday, Metro Centre, Youth@Pride (now part of the London LGBT Youth Council), The Pink Paper and Transport for London. Since 2004 the Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone has participated by walking part of the route with the rainbow flag.
The Pride FestivalEdit
For two weeks around the Parade there are hundreds of events which are organised by Pride London in the capital. These include sporting and arts events, debates and concerts.
Pride London has several famous patrons including:
- Sir Elton John
- Sir Ian McKellen
- Lord Alli
- Chris Smith, Baron Smith of Finsbury
- Stephen Fry
- Rhona Cameron
- Michael Cashman MP
- Peter Tatchell
- Wayne Sleep