LONDON – Saturday marked the 50th anniversary of Pride in London, the first was led by the Gay Liberation Front in 1972. According to the BBC, more than a million people took to the streets of the UK’s capital, ranking it as one of the biggest LGBTQ+ events. in Europe.
In a Sunday interview with BBC Radio, Pride London director Chris Joell-Deshields said it was important because it provided a great level of visibility for LGBTQ+ rights.
“We’re able to provide that form of visibility, of unity, of quality, that the world can see and that sends a message of solidarity to those people who may be thinking ‘I can’t be open’, ‘I can’t not be visible or I will be prosecuted in my country,” he said.
“The battles are not all won. Yes, we have had some wonderful accomplishments, whether or not it was marriage equality, the repeal of section 28, the lifting of the ban on gays and lesbians in the military, but we still have a way to go,” he told the BBC. Radio.
“Every day we continue to fight for our trans people and make their lives fair. We still have to fight for those around the world who live in countries where they cannot be themselves,” added Joell-Deshields.
Reflecting on the masses gathered in Traflagar Square, Joell-Deshields noted:
“Yesterday when we were in Trafalgar Square, and we were chanting ‘trans rights are human rights’, we were pushing this to get the volume of noise heard in Downing Street and beyond, for the millions or the people on the footprint and thousands on the parade.
“It sends a powerful message to politicians and others that we are here, we are proud and loud, and we will keep fighting.
“And there is the next generation to whom we have to pass the torch. We want them to understand that the fight is not won, we have to keep going and the pride platform is a great platform to do that.
Echoing Joell-Deshields, London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who was present on Saturday, told PinkNewsUK that the LGBTQ+ community and its allies “cannot be complacent” in the fight for equality.
The Mayor stressed the importance of celebrating the hard-won rights the UK’s LGBTQ+ community has fought for over the past 50 years, including the ‘end of Article 28’, the introduction of same-sex marriage and the approval of “laws to protect this community.”
He then pivoted and warned there was still ‘a lot of campaigning’ to be done in the wake of the deadly mass shooting at an LGBTQ+ venue in Oslo, Norway, as well as attacks on the trans community in the Kingdom. -United.
“People in this community have been able to be open and successful, to thrive – but also recognize that we can’t be complacent,” Khan said. “There is still a lot of campaigning to do.”
He continued: “This time last week we saw in Oslo members of this community being attacked – two killed, many more injured.
“We have seen trans people in this country being used as pawns by politicians and others in a culture war.
“So of course we have to keep protesting, keep campaigning, keep trying to make progress but also celebrate the progress we’ve made,” the mayor said.
Cast members of Netflix’s LGBTQ+ drama series “Heartstopper,” including lead actors Kit Connor and Joe Locke, and costars Jenny Walser, Sebastian Croft, Tobie Donovan, Corinna Brown and Kizzy Edgell, joined the parade to scroll.
Alice Oseman, author, illustrator, screenwriter and executive producer of Heartstopper tweeted:
— Updates from Alice Oseman (@AliceOseman) July 2, 2022
At one point during the parade, the cast stopped and dragged anti-LGBTQ+ street pastors while delivering inflammatory hate speech. Actors Joe Locke, who plays Charlie Spring and Sebastian Croft who plays Ben, can be seen jumping up and down dancing as they display their non-verbal disapproval of the messages carried through protesters’ megaphones. Kit Connor who plays Nick Nelson noted in a Twitter post:
uhhh i was filming and yelling at them but please don’t get me wrong it wasn’t ‘kit connor and the rest of the cast’ it was @joelocke03 and @SebastianCroft front and center. Please give them credit for doing something so powerful. https://t.co/SjvJFCHwKD
—Kit Connor (@kit_connor) July 2, 2022
A video, shared on Twitter by Sky News reporter Scott Beasley, showed the actors waving their middle fingers and belting out Whitney Houston’s hit “I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)” in front of street preachers.
— Scott Beasley (@SkyScottBeasley) July 2, 2022
PinkNewsUK reported that elsewhere in the parade, Connor carried Locke on his back as they marched along the parade route behind a giant Pride flag. The scene was very reminiscent of a Doodle Heartstopper that Alice Oseman created for Pride in 2019 which depicted Nick carrying Charlie, who carried a colorful flag, on his back.
happy pride month from me and the Heartstopper boys!! 🌈
(I have lots of time and energy to draw pride art this year and I’m so excited!!!!!) pic.twitter.com/wqTValTBLl
— Updates from Alice Oseman (@AliceOseman) June 4, 2019
Locke told the BBC it was his first-ever Pride and said it was “such an honor” to celebrate “being queer when the world may not be so tolerant”.
“It’s very, very surreal to me,” he said.