As written for LondonCalling.com
Pride in London Festival 2017 takes place from Saturday June 24 to Sunday July 9, with the Parade and main events on Saturday July 8. We take a look at the history of Pride and the highlights from this year’s event.
One of the longest running LGBT festivals in the UK, Pride in London held its biggest event yet last year with 40,000 people joining the parade, and around a million people taking to the streets to celebrate, making it also one of the largest Pride events in the world.
Pride has been organised by many different organisations since 1972, after the first official UK Gay Pride Rally was held on July 1 – the nearest Saturday to the anniversary of the Stonewall riots of 1969. It attracted 2,000 people and 45 years later it is still as relevant as ever. This year marks 50 years since Parliament first voted to partially decriminalise homosexuality in the UK.
Each year now sees a different theme, and 2017’s Festival will refer to the partial decriminalisation with the message ‘Love Happens Here’. Those marching on July 8 (from 1 – 4.30pm, across London) will be doing so with a message of hope, acceptance, activism and love.
Image Credit: Tate
Queer & Now: official Pride in London Festival Launch
Tate Britain and Pride in London are collaborating on the official opening event of 2017’s Pride Festival. Throughout the day there are family activities, stalls and food outside on the lawn, whilst talks and performances within the main collection will highlight related works and contemporary displays. From 6pm the galleries will fill with music, performance, talks and discussions with key contemporary voices and perspectives from across the LGBT+ community.
Queer & Now takes place at Tate Britain, Westminster on June 24 from 2pm till 10pm.
Queer Theatre: LGBT+ Stories and Social Change
To celebrate Pride in London weekend a world-class group of directors and actors are bringing seminal queer plays back to the National Theatre in an act of celebration and remembrance. Directors include Tarell Alvin McCraney, Stephen Daldry and Polly Stenham.
Queer Theatre: LGBT+ Stories and Social Change takes place at the National Theatre from June 24 – July 10. Tickets are £15.
Image Credit: Asad Dhunna
A Big Gay Iftaar
Bringing together the Muslim and LGBT+ communities, an iftaar (fast) will begin on June 24 for Ramadan. The inaugural Big Gay Iftaar in 2016 was organised in response to the Orlando shootings, and this year it promises to be just as big and just as gay. The idea – to learn about faith, culture and sexuality (and spread some love around) – is aimed at everyone, regardless of background or sexuality. All proceeds will be donated to Pride in London and Imaan.
A Big Gay Iftaar takes place at St. Andrews Church, Waterloo, on June 24from 8pm till 11:30pm. Tickets are £15.
Saucy Soho Tours
Soho has long been the decadent centre of London. It’s been the home of some of the city’s most colourful characters – Quentin Crisp the naked civil servant, the Empress of Pleasure Theresa Cornelys and writer-provocateur William Beckfordare some of it’s most flamboyant residents. Join this guided tour for a fascinating look at Soho’s winding streets and learn about LGBTQ characters through the ages.
Saucy Soho Tours take place in Soho from June 25 – July 8, 1pm till 8:30pm. Tickets are £15.
Image Credit: City of Westminster Guides
Pride Prom 2017
Pride Prom has been specifically programmed to help under 18s get the opportunity to socialise and take part in the wider LGBT+ community in a healthy and safe environment. It’s a fantastic platform for LGBT+ under-18s living in Greater London, who may find normally such opportunities hard to come by, to celebrate their diverse identities. This year’s prom is Alice in Wonderland themed.
Pride Prom 2017 takes place at The Pirate Castle on July 1 from 7:30pm till midnight. Tickets are £10 on the night, £9 Early Bird.