Large crowds flocked to the capital to celebrate London Pride, 50 years since the first march took place in the UK on Saturday.
This year’s event is first since the outbreak of the pandemic and welcomed thousands to the capital to celebrate Pride’s 50th anniversary.
Revellers wearing face paint, glitter, jewels and sequins joined the march which ran from Hyde Park to Whitehall and were led by members of The Gay Liberation Front who first marched in 1972.
The event, which organisers called the “biggest and most inclusive event in history”, also featured a line-up of artists performing across four stages around Central London.
Over 600 LGBT+ community groups joined the march which so had 30,000 people registered overall.
Singer Emeli Sande, who came out publicly in April, was among those on the entertainment bill while Olympic great, Dame Kelly Holmes also joined the parade. Broadcaster Phillip Schofield was also at the event.
Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan said: “We’re back after the last two and a half years or so. This year is the 50th anniversary of Pride, celebrating this community, celebrating the progress made, but also continuing to campaign and never be complacent.
“We saw this time last week an attack in Oslo just hours before that parade, where two people lost their lives and more than 20 were injured.
“So, we’ve got to be conscious of the fact that there’s still a danger to this community of discrimination, bias and violence. But allies like me are really important to support this community.”
The Mayor Of London has said there was still a “danger” to the LGBT+ community and warned against being “complacent” ahead of London’s Pride march.
Also marching were reality stars, Matthew Jameson and Daniel McKee. Dan and Matt shot to fame on the hit Channel 4 show Married at First Sight after becoming the first gay couple to take part, and are raising awareness for prostate cancer.
Pop star Ava Max will close the show on the Trafalgar Square stage while other performers on the line-up will include Eurovision-winner Netta, Samantha Mumba and Kat Graham.
“If we stop celebrating Pride, then it scares me to say that, rights can go away,” she said.
“If we sleep on this, it can run away from us. And I feel that is so important this protest is so much alive, it’s crucial to who we are as people. It’s a matter of life and death.”
Labour MP and deputy leader of the Labour Party, Angela Rayner also joined the march in support of London Pride.
— Angela Rayner 🌹 (@AngelaRayner) July 2, 2022
In honour of our LGBTQ+ staff, volunteers, patients and local communities, London Ambulance Service (LAS) also joined the London parade, with 50 members of the team following an ambulance float, which, thanks to funding from the London Ambulance Charity, is specially decorated in the Progress Pride flag.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson also hailed this year’s events, saying in a statement: “It gives me the greatest pride to lead a country where you can love whomever you choose to love. And where you can be free to be whoever you want to be.
“This hasn’t always been a given, and certainly wasn’t the case 50 years ago.
“Marching the streets in 1972 was an incredibly brave thing to do, and today will see thousands of people, friends and families once more coming together to mark the tremendous milestone of 50 years of our capital’s Pride.”