As everyone knows, Pride is about far more than just one event on the Saturday – and this year London’s Pride Festival is going to be bigger and better than ever, with events running all through this week and the weekend, so no matter what you’re doing (and despite the rubbish weather), there’s plenty of opportunity to get out and have a great time.
Pride London 2016: #nofilter
The theme for this year’s London Pride is #nofilter, and the organisers are encouraging people to share their ‘unfiltered’ and uncensored versions of themselves. As the organisers explain, so often LGBTQI people feel the need to hide their authentic selves:
“It takes courage to be your true self especially when it defies convention. We want to inspire more people to come out as who they are, whether that be at home or in the work place. Because we believe that acceptance and diversity makes for a stronger society, united, not divided. Let’s not hide or self censor. Let’s be proud, regardless of sexuality or gender identity. Let’s live life with #nofilter.”
Being able to be who you are is more important than ever, as the LGBTQI+ community comes together to mourn the appalling events in Orlando, this year’s Pride is as much about reflection as celebration. Speaking out against homophobia, supporting those who are struggling, and standing in solidarity with LGBTQI people from around the world is as important as it has always been.
Alongside tweeting and sharing your authentic self – in photos and videos on the #nofilter tag – there are plenty of events you can attend, whether you’re LGBT+ or a friend and ally of those who are. There are plenty more events on the Pride in London app, but because we like the idea of having a good time for a great cause, below are some of our favourite events at which the proceeds will go to fantastic charities.
Wed 22nd June: Take Me Home – Cabaret in support of Anthony Nolan
This cabaret night – held at the Miranda-Ace Hotel in Shoreditch – is aimed at raising awareness of the Anthony Nolan bone marrow register. Events organiser Danny Keeling is a gay man who was angry about the rules which prevented gay men from donating blood. Keen to save someone’s life if he could, he instead joined the bone marrow register. He has recently found out that he is a match, and his harvested bone marrow cells will be used to save someone’s life.
Alongside raising awareness of the bone marrow register, and giving people information on how to take part, the cabaret will also be raising money for the charity. And it looks like it’ll be pretty fun too, of course, with acts the Lip Sinkers, Joe Sutherland, and many more.
Saturday daytime – The Pride Parade
This year’s parade begins at 1pm, and will snake up Regent Street. Past Oxford Circus and Piccadilly Circus stations. If you want to grab yourself a good place to watch the action, we’d recommend getting there earlier as the tube stations will doubtless be very busy. For non-Londoners, if you’re coming by Central Line and want to avoid the crowds at the ticket barriers, Oxford Circus is a short walk from both Tottenham Court Road and Bond Street. You can also take the Jubilee line train to Bond Street, or the Piccadilly Line to Leicester Square or Covent Garden.
And, while the London tube is still very tricky in terms of accessibility, there are options if you’re in a wheelchair – the TfL ‘avoiding the stairs’ guide to the tube gives details on which stations have step-free access to street level, and all London buses have space for wheelchair users – and you have priority over pushchairs and others. Euan’s Guide has fabulously detailed information on accessible travel around London, and when you get to the Pride Parade itself, there is a viewing platform and wheelchair recharging point at Trafalgar Square.
Saturday 25th June: Lip sync for the Albert Kennedy Trust
If you haven’t already tired yourself out during the Pride Parade on Saturday, then get over to the Bloc Bar in Camden, where performers will be lip synching to raise money for the Albert Kennedy Trust – a fantastic charity which supports LGBT youth who are homeless or living in a hostile environment. It also happens to be held in Camden – one of our favourite places in London because it’s the home of HotOctopuss.
Pride in the Park – Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens
What better way to relax the morning after the Pride Parade than with a picnic in the park? UK Black Pride are organising this year’s ‘Pride in the Park’ down at Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens. There’ll be plenty of music at various stages, a dog show, and even a cake-baking competition, for those whose hangover is better served by sugar than salt.
The event is free to enter, but you can donate to UK Black Pride via their website, and support them by bringing all of your friends to the event, and buying lunch while you’re there.
30th June: Crystal Maze Pride takeover in aid of Terrence Higgins
Running around in a maze on the hunt for crystals? Brilliant fun. Add in a host of top cabaret performers, who’ll be taking on the role of ‘maze master’, and you have a pretty unforgettable Pride event. Johnny Woo and a cast of performers will be acting as your personal ‘Richard O’Brien’s as you and your team compete to get the most time in the Crystal Dome. Insider sources tell us that the maze is startlingly faithful to the original show, so it’s bound to be brilliant fun.
What’s more, the Crystal Maze Pride takeover will help to raise money for HIV charity the Terrence Higgins Trust, so there’s never been a better time to dust off your old boiler suit and run into the Aztec zone…
Pride in London (and the rest of the UK)
We’re guilty as charged of being London-centric here, as London (and specifically Camden) is the home of HotOctopuss. But there are plenty of other fantastic Pride events taking place across the UK. Pink UK has a great round-up of some of the bigger Pride events happening across the country – so check it out, make plans, and have a great Pride.