On Saturday and Sunday, people flocked not just from the UK but all over the world to join in with London Pride. The streets were filled with rainbow flags, slogans, LGBTQ+ people and allies, sharing love and support and cheering for those who fight for rights all year round.
We wanted to share a few highlights, and tell you our 5 favourite things about Pride.
Pride is about supporting LGBTQ+ people – not just on one weekend each year, but all year round. The physical events are a symbol of this togetherness and support. Many people who might feel alone or excluded from other events can see the huge crowds of people at Pride events and – often for the first time – experience that solidarity that can be so valuable.
It’s public, it’s joyful, and it’s colourful, and that’s important.
— Dave Nash (@gnasheruk) July 11, 2017
We also loved some of the contributions from colleagues within the sex and creative space:
the brilliant blogger Sub Bee brought some Pride love to the sex blog meme Sinful Sunday, and our colleagues at Clonezone seemed – as they do every year – to be having the sexiest Pride party in town.
— CLONEZONE (@ClonezoneUK) July 10, 2017
Perhaps the sign we saw tweeted most often on Saturday afternoon was this one:
— Alan (@alanlaw) July 8, 2017
While we know it’s not done for companies to get involved in party politics, it is important to acknowledge that Pride isn’t an apolitical event: it’s the opposite. Demanding equality takes standing up to political parties that are actively homophobic, and demanding that our politicians recognise the rights of LGBTQ+ people across the UK.
We also spotted some incredible signs acknowledging the vital work that activists put in to helping Pride come about in the first place:
— Yemmynisting (@Yemmynisting) July 10, 2017
Read more about the Stonewall riots and the history of Pride.
As well as celebration, Pride is also about learning. Whether that’s learning how better to support your LGBTQ+ friends and colleagues or learning how to make queer spaces better for those who may otherwise struggle to access them.
We particularly loved this great blog post over on HuffPo by Joshua Hepple. As a queer disabled man, Joshua has struggled with queer events around Soho. In his own words, when he was dating in London: “Soho was shit for disabled access.” What hook-up apps might have lost in the interpersonal, they made up for in access: if the bar you want to visit to meet potential friends and partners has stairs, chances are you’re not going to feel particularly included on the scene.
While Pride London is getting better at offering accessible ways to join in, there is always the potential for improvement, especially in a city like London where ‘old buildings’ has for too long been used as an excuse for not making simple changes that could make queer spaces more accessible.
4. Romantic proposals
Of course, with an event that has love at its heart, you can expect more than a few couples to end the day engaged. This year, a British Transport Police officer got engaged and the internet exploded with excitement:
— ITV News (@itvnews) July 8, 2017
We love a little bit of public romance, and proposals at Pride are far from a new thing. It’s important to remember, though, that even as your heart might be swelling with joy other people’s are swelling with hate. Phil Anselm – the police officer who proposed at Pride last year – wrote an eye-opening post about the homophobic reaction he got:
“The overt and continuous support from people outside our community is vital to protecting our rights from an angry backlash by people who consider themselves to be the shunned “silent majority”. For every person who wants to attend Pride there is a reason why it is still important.”
To end on a lighter note, our eyes were instinctively drawn to the adorable #DogsOfPride hashtag. Here are a few canine companions supporting their LGBTQ+ owners…
— Jenny Mclaughlin (@jennymaclondon) July 8, 2017
…but they’re not the only canines keen to get involved. Did you also spot the pups riding motorbikes?
London Pride 2017 pic.twitter.com/4QXX1vR0QB
— GSXRLad_E14 (@GSXRLad_E14) July 9, 2017