The London Pride is sort of happening. But it’ll look very very different.
This year’s official Pride in London parade has been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. But veterans from the London Gay Liberation Front 1970-74, including Peter Tatchell, will march anyway on the same day, along the same route, that the official Pride parade was due to follow.
They will celebrate this year’s 50th anniversary of the London Gay Liberation Front, of which they were a part. GLF was formed in 1970 and is generally credited with being the beginning of the modern LGBT+ movement in the UK.
The GLF Pride march will take place on Saturday 27 June, starting at 1pm from outside the BBC in Portland Place W1.
The ex-GLF marchers, some in their 70s, will wear face masks and ensure social distancing. They will follow the planned official Pride route down Regent Street, Piccadilly Circus and Haymarket to Trafalgar Square.
The march will comprise only of elderly GLF veterans and is not open to the wider LGBT+ community in order to ensure compliance with the Covid-19 regulations and to protect the health of vulnerable at-risk veterans from the early 1970s. There will be a small group of chosen supporters to give the GLF veterans back-up.
Putting politics back into Pride, the six demands of the GLF Pride march are:
1.Mandatory LGBT-inclusive relationship & sex education in all schools
2.End the Home Office detention of LGBT+ asylum seekers
3.Reform the Gender Recognition Act to ensure trans rights
4.Compensate gay and bisexual men prosecuted under homophobic laws
5.Ban gay ‘cure’ conversion therapy
6.Root out racism & solidarity with Black Lives Matter
The GLF march organiser, Peter Tatchell, was one of about 40 people who helped organise the UK’s first Pride march in London in 1972. He has attended every Pride London parade since then. This will be his 49th.
“Homophobia did not defeat us, so we’re not going to let the Covid-19 pandemic stop Pride. We GLF veterans confronted anti-LGBT+ bigots 50 years ago. We faced down police harassment, far right extremists and homophobic political and religious leaders. We are marching as Pride was planned, with face masks and social distancing,” said Mr Tatchell.
“We support Black Lives Matter and the just demands of black communities, just as we did in the early 1970s.
“GLF did not seek equal rights within a flawed, unjust status quo. It campaigned for the transformation of society to end straight supremacism and stood in solidarity with all other oppressed communities. This same agenda of radical social transformation is needed now as the UK faces the quadruple whammy of Covid-19, economic meltdown, endemic racism and climate destruction,” added Mr Tatchell.