Ahead of Saturday’s main parade, a handful of Londoners tell us why this city’s LGBT celebration has a special place in their lives.
Yusef, 30, welfare officer at Imaan
‘I can’t wait for Pride, I get excited for it every year. I enjoy the whole parade aspect, but I still look at it as a political march. I work at Imaan, a social support group for LGBT Muslims. We help people who are seeking asylum on the basis of their religion and sexuality, and provide support for unaccompanied minors and victims of forced marriage, trafficking, domestic violence and sexual abuse. We all work as volunteers. [Pride] allows us to show the world that LGBT Muslims do exist and shouldn’t be ashamed.’
Jake, 24, company owner, and Josh, 25, production coordinator
‘I met Josh on Grindr and we went on a date. I decided to propose last year, at Pride in front of 20,000 people. We actually had an argument in the car on the way down and he said he’d say no if I asked him to marry me. But I got up on stage in Trafalgar Square and gave a little speech about finding true love on Grindr. I proposed with everyone cheering and he said yes! We’re going to get married a week after this year’s parade, with a “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”-themed wedding.’
Alice, 15, student
‘I officially came out as a lesbian this year, so I’m going to Pride because it’s a big part of my identity and I want to become more involved in the community. It also looks like fun! I’m going with some friends from school and it’s our first time. We’re a big group of newbies, so I’m just hoping to make great memories and meet some new people. I really think that Pride represents an awful lot and it has done so much good. It’s such a positive thing and it’s so important. It would be really cool if this became a regular part of my life.’
John, 61, welfare rights advisor
‘I was involved in the Gay Liberation Front from its very beginnings in 1970. Not only did I participate in Pride, but I also co-organised it for a few years from about 1975. The whole idea behind Pride was that to make any advances you had to be out and proud. So it had very strong political overtones as well as being fun. It was well into the ’80s before significant amounts of people started coming. I do have grave reservations about some of the corporate sponsorship. But I still like it; it’s still empowering.’
Check out seven great Pride events taking place in the capital this year. Looking for a Pride after party? See London’s biggest and best here.