Making a noise about Gender Recognition Act reforms or just, well, making a noise, here’s where to spend Pride in London this weekend
After a few dreary weather days it’s looking up for Pride in London on Saturday, where over 1.5 million queer people and allies will fill the streets of the West End with bright rainbow colours.
For some, Pride is a celebration of their queer identity, but for others, the event will always remain a protest against the inequalities many LGBTQ people still face.
Pride in London organisers laid out their mission statement: “On 2 July, we want to make a powerful statement as we march towards progress; calling on the UK Govt to ban conversion therapy, reform the Gender Recognition Act, provide equal protection for LGBT+ communities against hate crime, end its hostile enviornment toward minority migrants, establish a national AIDS memorial that truly honours and remembers those we have lost, and to take a leading role in tackling the violence and discrimination against LGBT+ people around the globe.”
Here’s where to go and what to do whatever your mood this Saturday.
Hold power to account
Bring placards and banners with power messages emblazoned on them to help spread the messages of this year’s Pride. Applications are closed to participate in the official Parade, but you can walk much of the route, starting at noon from Hyde Park Corner and ending at Whitehall, with celebrations following mainly in Trafalgar Square. The route replicates the original 1972 path of the first Pride in London 50 years ago.
One of the best ways you can help is by making a donation to Pride in London, via the link here, or one of the queer charities and organisations working alongside the event. Here is a direct link to make a donation to the Switchboard LGBT charity, which supports vulnerable LGBTQ people who phone in for support, and a direct link to support the Albert Kennedy Trust, a charity which helps prevent youth homeless. Queer people are disproportionately likely to end up homeless.
Celebrate with the masses on Saturday
The Pride in London Parade with floats representing organisations, businesses and clubs is seismic and can last over four hours, with dancers performing on floats as millions (yes) pick a place on the route to stand and watch.
If you’ve missed being sweaty in a crowd these past few years, head to Piccadilly Circus, Regent Street or Leicester Square to scream and cheer with the energetic, boozy set as revellers swig drinks they made at home.
The main after party in Leicester Square is free but arrive before the parade finishes to guarantee you get in – celebs including Emeli Sandé, Samanthua Mumba and Drag Race UK queen Tia Kofi, The Vivienne and Lawrence Chaney will perform on festival-like stages and there’s a paid bar. Afterwards, crowds head to Soho to stand around on the streets and hit up any bar they can wangle their way into.
In Leicester Square from 2-8pm you will find a female, non-binary and trans-dedicated space and performance stage. A cabaret stage will be on Soho’s Dean Street from 12-8pm and Golden Square will be dedicated to black artists from 12-8pm – all are free to enter.
Celebrate somewhere more chilled this weekend
If standing out on the street without much of a plan and nowhere to go to the loo sounds like the worst idea ever, try one of these pre-arranged Pride in London events, which still have tickets available.
Raise a glass in Soho but from a nice comfy seat with top-draw queer entertainment from fashion designer Henry Holland and DJ Aimee Phillips at Berners Tavern this Saturday. Over the two brunch sittings you can tuck into free-flowing cocktails while enjoying live music with special surprise guest performers. Book a VIP booth for eight for £1,500 and a £1,000 charity donation. There’s also a raffle, with £10 from each £65 ticket going directly to the Albert Kennedy Trust and Switchboard LGBTQ charities.
Stay away from the booze by visiting Queer Frontiers, an art exhibition celebrating inclusivity, diversity and creativity from within the community. Best of all, the art is for sale, with at least half of proceeds donated to LGBTQ charities Albert Kennedy Trust and Outside In. Check it out at 7-9 Walker’s Court in Soho.
Gorgeous and relatively new London hotel The Standard, opposite King’s Cross station, is putting its lively tenth floor bar, Double Standard, into good use throughout Pride, and tables are bookable. On Friday a queer club night boasts “glamour meets misbehaviour under the disco ball.” UOKHUN? take over for another party on Saturday evening after the Parade, and you can shake off the hangover on Sunday with a rooftop event from 2pm.
Donate to Pride in London by visiting this page