Pride in London

Pride in London
Founded 1972 (1972)
Headquarters London, England, United Kingdom
Number of locations
Baker Street, Whitehall, Oxford Street, Regent Street, Piccadilly Circus, Lower Regent Street, Pall Mall and Trafalgar Square
Area served
United Kingdom

Pride in London (formally known as Pride London) is an annual LGBT pride festival and parade held each summer in London, the Capital of the United Kingdom.

It is one of the longest running in the country and attracts an estimated one million visitors to the city. The festival's events and location within London vary every year however the Pride parade is the only annual event to close London's iconic Oxford Street. London's 2015 Gay Pride Parade through the streets of London attracted 1 million people making it the 7th largest gay event in the world and the largest Gay Pride Parade and Gay event ever held in the UK.[1]


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 2,000 participants.[2][3] The first marches took place in November 1970 with 150 men walking through Highbury Fields in North London.[4] The controversy of Section 28 from 1988 led 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, with large park gatherings and a fair after the marches.[4] For 1996, following a vote by the members of the Pride Trust, the event was renamed "Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride" and became the largest free music festival in Europe.

In 1998, the Pride Trust became insolvent and no event was organised that year although an organisation called 'Pride Events UK' took money for tickets for one. For the next few years, another commercial organisation ran what it called 'London Mardi Gras' before it failed to pay its bill for the use of Hyde Park and was unable to run any more events without clearing that debt.

'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,[5] London again held Europride in 2006 with an estimated 600,000 participants. In 2004 it was awarded registered charity status. The 2012 event was WorldPride,[6] 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 former Mayor of London, Boris Johnson has been a vocal supporter of Pride in London.

The first International Asexual Conference was held at the 2012 World Pride in London.[7]

Pride March

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 was 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.

Largest march in years

In 2014 the March started at the bottom of Baker Street, ran 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 dispersed. Over 30,000 people took part in the parade making it one of the biggest ever.

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, tCurrent Sponsorsogether with main sponsor Barclays Bank.

London LGBT+ Community Pride

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. Alison Camps and Michael Salter-Church are the current Co-Chairs along with 6 other Board members

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 and to act as a source of guidance on governance and operational issues that may arise.


The Pride in London board now consists of 8 people.[8] Pride also has over 100 regular volunteers who work throughout the year on organising Pride. Pride work throughout the year to recruit volunteers to help steward Pride day. In 2014 Pride in London recruited over 600 volunteers to work on 28 June 2014.[9] This was the largest volunteer team Pride has ever had.

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 during Pride day.

2014 FreedomTo Campaign

In 2014 Pride in London launched its FreedomTo campaign. The campaign was launched on social media where people were asked to submit what #FreedomTo meant to them using an image of themselves with their message. The social media campaign was run by Lauren Anderson – Digital Campaigns & Development [8]

The campaign then led into the first Pride in London advertising campaign. Celebrities and members of the LGBT+ community were shown on adverts on the London Underground and London buses. The advertising campaign ran for 2 weeks prior to Pride on 28 June 2014.


Prior to Pride in London 2014 Pride was awarded event of the year at the G3 Awards 2014.

2014 continued to be an award-winning year for Pride in London. The FreedomTo campaign won Stonewall's Advert of the Year,[10] Love Content's Digital Out of Home Planning & Best Digital Campaign [11] and a COOH commendation. In 2015 Pride in London has been shortlisted for a PR Moment Community Campaign of the Year award.[12]

Pride in London sponsors

The headline sponsor for Pride in London in 2014 were Barclays Bank. Other sponsors included ASDA, CitiBank, Prudential and SAB Miller. The headline sponsor for Pride in London 2015 is Barclays Bank with other sponsors including Floridita Citi CMS. Supported by Mayor Of London.

Pride in London patrons

Pride London has several famous patrons including:

Previous patrons have included:

Pride London Festival

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 ran from 21 to 29 June. As in previous years there were several stages involved in the Festival, the main one being located in Trafalgar Square. On Saturday 28 June, the main stage played host to singers such as Conchita Wurst and Heather Peace.[13]

In 2016, the Pride Festival will run from Saturday 18 June until Sunday 26 June, with the Parade and main events taking place on Saturday 25 June.[14]


Business organisations running London Pride have come under criticism from socialists within the LGBT community. For instance, Hannah Dee argues that it has 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 injustices that we [the LGBT community] face".[15]

During the 2018 Pride London, a dozen of people carrying anti-trans slogans took the lead of the demonstration without authorization. These people claimed that transgender activism contributes to "lesbian erasure". They were quickly criticized by numerous LGBT+ organizations. The organizers of Pride London were criticized as well, for not having taken any measures to remove those trans-exclusionary activists from the march.[16][17][18]

WorldPride London 2012

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 major sponsor withdrew support leading to the charity being unable to raise the funds necessary.[19] Consequently, the entertainment and stages were all cut, and licence 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 licence regulations notice to all venues in Soho, reminding them that Pride London now has no licence for street events in the Soho area, and therefore venues should treat WorldPride as "any normal day".[20]

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

Awards and nominations

2017Diversity in Media AwardsMarketing Campaign of the YearLove Happens HereNominated

See also



  1. "Pride in London: What it means to the local and global LGBT community".
  2. "The Knitting Circle: Pride, Pride History". Archived from the original on 23 October 2007.
  3. (Walton 2010, p. 59) Peter Tatchell estimates 700 joined the march itself.
  4. 1 2 (Walton 2010, p. 61)
  5. "Sorry, we couldn't find that page | Green Left Weekly". Archived from the original on 30 September 2007. Retrieved 21 January 2016.
  6. "Big Day". Archived from the original on 2011-07-17. Retrieved 2012-02-23.
  7. Shira Tarrant (19 June 2015). Gender, Sex, and Politics: In the Streets and Between the Sheets in the 21st Century. Taylor & Francis. pp. 278–. ISBN 978-1-317-81475-7.
  8. 1 2 "Who we are". Pride in London. Retrieved 2016-01-21.
  9. Pride in London Volunteer Management Team
  10. "Support". Stonewall. 2015-04-23. Retrieved 2016-01-21.
  11. "Holding Page – Home". Love Content. 2014-11-12. Retrieved 2016-01-21.
  12. "Shortlist - Midlands, Wales & The South". Archived from the original on 1 February 2015. Retrieved 29 January 2015.
  13. "TRAFALGAR SQUARE". Archived from the original on 29 June 2014. Retrieved 21 June 2014.
  14. "Pride in London 2016". London & Partners. Archived from the original on 5 September 2015. Retrieved 21 January 2016.
  15. Dee, Hannah (2010). The Red in the Rainbow: Sexuality, Socialism & LGBT Liberation. Bloomsbury, London: Bookmarks Publications. Page 08-09.
  16. Hazel Southwell (7 July 2018). "Anti-trans group allowed to lead Pride in London march after hijack". Retrieved 7 July 2018.
  17. Hazel Southwell (7 July 2018). "Pride in London cites 'hot weather' for anti-trans group being allowed to lead parade". Retrieved 7 July 2018.
  18. Josh Gabbatiss (7 July 2018). "London Pride: Anti-trans activists disrupt parade by lying down in the street to protest 'lesbian erasure'". Retrieved 7 July 2018.
  19. "GLA Scrutiny Committee minutes".
  20. "Police issue license regulations notice to Soho venues | 17-24-30 no to hate crime campaign". 2012-07-05. Retrieved 2013-03-05.


  • Walton, Tony (2010), Out of the Shadows, Bona Street Press, ISBN 978-0-9566091-0-6 
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