Sophie Wilkinson | Contributing Editor | Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Pride In London: Your Need-To-Know

Pride In London: Your Need-To-Know

The Debrief: So you've heard a bit about Pride, or you've been going for years but have never made it to the parade, or you're simply Pride-curious? Read our need-to-know!

Here is your Debriefed need-to-know on Pride. If you want to know where it came from, what it means and who its for, read on...

What is Pride?

Pride is an annual celebration of the achievements of LGBT+ rights - so far. LGBT+ includes: lesbians, gay people, bisexuals, trans* people, queer people, intersex people, agender and asexual people - basically anyone who isn’t the cookie-cutter ideal of a straight, cis - that means someone whose gender matched their sex they were assigned at birth - man, attracted exclusively to straight, cis women, and vice versa. It’s a lot less segmented as it sounds, especially with more and more people identifying as sexually fluid. People at Pride don’t necessarily wear great big badges saying exactly how they identify, but the idea is they consider themselves somehow involved in and affected by the LGBT+ rights movement.

Pride is much more than just a parade and a street party and an excuse to get wildly day-drunk, though. It’s a protest.

Where did Pride parades start? 

In late 1960’s New York, there weren’t many places that LGBT+ people could go out and meet with one another. The average bar, club or restaurant would be hostile to LGBT+ people, and many proprietors didn’t want to take their money. The people who were happy with LGBT+ money, though, were the Mafia. They ran The Stonewall Inn, which welcomed not only LGBT+ people, but some of the poorest and most marginalised members of the community. One warm June evening - incidentally, the day after gay icon Judy Garland’s funeral - police raided The Stonewall Inn.

This was a routine thing, where bars with LGBT+ people would be raided by police apparently looking for bootleg liquor. Usually this was just a cover to arrest LGBT+ people for simply…being. They would also normally tip off staff at the Stonewall, but employees said that, that night, they hadn’t been alered.

Normally - how shameful that raids on people simply drinking in one of the few places they felt safe being ‘out’ became normal - the police could control everything, chuck all the patrons into wagons and send them off to the nearest station to be held in cells overnight. But this time, the clientele resisted. People began gathering outside, heckling the police, and soon began fighting them. What followed were three days of riots, and the beginning of a brand new, strident part of the LGBT+ rights movement. Each year, June 28th, if not the entire month, is commemorated by LGBT+ people and their allies.


Is Pride just a parade?

Well, no. But on Pride day - which changes depending on location, but it’s always sometime around the summer, at least in that country’s summer - there is a parade, followed by street parties or events at clubs and pubs. Many places also have a mini-festival to celebrate Pride.

Who walks in a Pride parade?

As well as a bunch of corporate sponsors who assist in making the entire parade possible, there are: unions, charities, professional networks, kink groups, activists, political parties…the idea is that everyone is welcome. Sometimes that’s caused problems, and UKIP have been banned from the march (funnily enough, too many LGBT+ people who believe immigrants are wholly homophobic are really keen to support UKIP!) as a result. Heartwarmingly, a lot of straight miners will march for the LGBT+ community, behind their beautiful banners. This is because, in the 1980s, when the Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was threatening to close the mines (she eventually did), the LGBT+ community rallied around them, holding fundraisers for their cause. There’s a whole film about it, called…Pride!

What are the world’s biggest Pride festivals?

Depends what you mean by ‘big’. The ones with the most attendees in the last few years have been: 

Madrid, 2017 - 3,000,000

Houston, 2016 - 750,000 +

Chicago, 2016 - 1,000,000

London, 2015 - 1,000,000+

Houston, 2015 - 700,000

San Francisco, 2014 - 1,700,000

Cologne, 2013 - 1,000,000

Madrid 2012, 1,200,000

Berlin, 2012 - 700,000

Rome, 2011 - 1,000,000

But the fact there are Prides in some countries that can otherwise contain hotbeds of horrific homophobia and transphobia is pretty big too.

Cape Town Pride

This one takes place in South Africa, where ‘corrective rape’ is routinely done to lesbians and gay men are sexually assaulted for similar reasons.

Belgrade, Serbia

49% of Serbs believe that being LGBT+ is a disease, and in 2010 there were homophobic riots sparked by Pride. But Pride continues there, and this year it celebrated the election of Ana Brnabic, who is not only the first female Prime Minister of Serbia, but its first lesbian Prime Minister!


In 2014 the Ugandan government tried to introduce the death penalty for homosexuality, and this lead to a spike in persecution of LGBT+ people. Gay men were outed on the front pages of newspapers, in the knowledge that people would attack these innocents. Yet still, despite police’s best efforts, the LGBT+ community still put on a series of Pride events.


LGBT+ ‘propaganda’ is illegal there, effectively driving any Pride events underground. In 2013, Copenhagen very sweetly dedicated its Pride to Russian LGBT+ people.


Honduras has a very high murder rate - 60 per 100,000, but it also has the highest rate of trans murders per capita, yet brave activists still hold a pride there...

With that in mind, if you want to support the LGBT+ community both here and afar, by all means, respectfully head along to Pride. As long as you don’t make it about you, your allyship will be welcome. Here’s how:

Where is London Pride?

London Pride’s parade begins at Portland Place and takes a 1.4 mile route south-south-ish before ending at Trafalgar Square. The route of the parade can be found here.

What date is London Pride?

Pride Month will have gone on all the way up until July 8th, when the parade - the central event, which comes with all the street parties and the rest, will take place

What time does London Pride start?

The parade will start at 1pm Get to anywhere on the route from about midday and you should be able to get a decent spot, but beware, it does fill up quickly!

What time does London Pride finish?

The parade will finish at about 3pm, but there’ll be a huge stage in Trafalgar Square, featuring many different musical acts and selling refreshments, and if you stroll up to Soho, there’ll be many a street party that can keep you going until the night. Later on, clubs from Vauxhall in south-west London to Clapton in east London will have parties on that will carry you on until the next day - if you’ve got the stamina! If you’r really smart, leave central London at about six or seven so you can go and relax somewhere casual before heading out again!

Where are other UK Prides?

Other UK Prides to happen in summer 2017 are:

The London Pride Picnic, in conjunction with UK Black Pride, which happens in Vauxhall Gardens on 8th July. It’s a much more chilled out affair than Pride and is really great for families.

As well as…there’s a big list, so check out finer details here…

Salford Pride 15th July

 Isle of Wight Pride 15th July

Rotherham Pride 15th July

Newcastle Pride 21 July

Brighton Trans Pride 22nd July

Eastbourne Gay Pride 22nd July

Hull Pride 22nd July

Chesterfield Pride 23rd July

Stoke on Trent Pride 24th July

Belfast Pride, 28th July

Liverpool Pride 29th July

Weston Super Mare Pride 29th July

Pride Sheffield 29th July

Hereford Pride 29th July

Norwich Pride 29th July

Swindon and Wiltshire Pride 29th July

West Lothian Pride 29th July

Stockport Pride 30th July

Brighton Pride, 4th August

Burnley Pride, 5th August

Leeds Gay Pride 5th August

Plymouth Pride 5th August

Wigan Pride 12th August

Pride Glasgow 19th August

Warwickshire Pride 19th August

Chester Pride 19th August

Withenshawe Pride 19th August

Manchester Pride 25th August

Pride Cymru (in Cardiff, Wales) 25th August

Southampton Bride 26th August

Walsall Gay Pride 26th August

Hertfordshire Pride 2nd September

Leicester Gay Pride 2nd September

Preston Pride 2nd September

Reading Pride 2nd September

Totnes Pride 2nd September

Cumbria Pride 16th September

Lincoln Pride 23rd September

Bolton Pride 29th September


If you liked this, you might also be interested in:

How To Be A Straight Woman At Pride Without Being A Dick

We Asked LGBT+ People If Pride Has Become A Cash Cow

Why All These Displays Of Faux-Lesbianism Need To Stop


Tags: LGBT