The Pride Festival takes place in London from Saturday 24 June to Sunday 9 July, with the main parade occurring on Saturday 8 July.
The parade starts at 1PM at Portland Place. From there it will follow a route past BBC Broadcasting House, down Langham Place to Oxford Circus, across Oxford Street and into Regent Street, across Piccadilly Circus to Pall Mall via a refreshment stop in Trafalgar Square, before departing along Cockspur Street, to end up in Whitehall at a projected time of… well, whenever it gets there.
Only official groups can take part in the parade itself, but there is nothing to stop anyone joining in at the end of the procession, or cheering on the parade as a spectator along the route.
This year’s parade will feature more than 250 community groups, performers and dancers, and there will be speeches, food stalls and music in Trafalgar Square.
2017 is the 45th year to see Pride return to London. The first official Pride parade took place in 1972, when 2,000 men and women joined the procession. This year’s event looks likely to see more than 40,000 people taking part in the actual parade, with an additional one million people joining in the celebration.
The event has its roots based in both political and social protest, and the choice of date is chosen to mark the anniversary of the Stonewall riots, which took place on 28 June 1969.
The Stonewall riots arose following a police raid on the Stonewall Inn, located in Greenwich Village, New York, and are considered one of the most influential events in the foundation and history of the modern LGBT+ movement.
In recent years, there have been some criticisms that corporate sponsorship of the parade has lessened its campaigning credentials, and often the spirit of the occasion appears more partying than protesting, but the implications and effects of London Pride spread far wider than a single day’s celebration.
The theme of this year’s Pride is “Love Happens Here” and is a recognition of the 50th anniversary since male homosexuality was legalised in the UK. The Sexual Offences Bill 1967 decriminalised homosexual acts between two men over 21 years of age in private in England and Wales. The ‘in private’ caveat was not overturned until 2000.
The message of the parade is one of ‘hope, acceptance, activism and love’.
Ways to get involved
London Pride is a lot more than just a one-day celebration.
Social media has given Pride a voice, whereby it is able to spread stories from the LGBT+ community of activism and injustice across the globe.
It also acts as a focal point for numerous charitable organisations campaigning for human rights, equality and social justice.
Check out the Pride website to see how you can get involved.
Pride around Europe
If you are not in London for this year’s parade, there are plenty of other Pride events around Europe this summer. These include:
29 July – 6 August: Amsterdam
31 July – 6 August: Stockholm
8-10 August: Reykjavik
25-28 August: Manchester
4-10 September: Benidorm
Want to learn more?
The Centre for Gender Studies at SOAS University of London aims to promote interdisciplinary research and teaching in the field of Gender Studies.
The MA Gender and Sexuality is a unique programme studying gender and sexuality in relation to the cultures of Asia, Africa and the Near and Middle East.
Find out more
- Visit the Centre for Gender Studies
- Join the LGBTQ Society at SOAS
- Find out more about Pride and get twitter updates @LondonLGBTPride