As many of us at Partnerize may know, the month of June is dedicated to celebrating Pride and the LGBTQ+ community. Today, Pride Month events (including parades, concerts, parties etc.) attract millions of participants all around the world. For this article, I wanted to focus on how Pride was first celebrated in the UK and how the LGBTQ+ community has been supported across the UK over the years.
On 01st July 1972, the UK’s first Pride march was held in London with an estimated 2,000 attendees. The date was chosen as the closest Saturday to the anniversary of the Stonewall Riots of 28 June 1969, a pivotal event which many consider to be the beginning of the modern LGBTQ+ rights movement. Last year was a particularly special celebration marking 50 years since the first Pride march In London. Pride marches have since been held across the UK on an annual basis, however as Pride was not originally owned or trademarked by any one single organisation, Pride marches were not consistently held throughout the UK within the 1970s and the 1980s.
For many years, London has been the host city for the UK’s main Pride events, with people travelling from around the UK and globally to attend, however over the past 50 years we can see how Pride celebrations have reached many other UK cities and the different ways in which the UK celebrates and promotes the LGBTQ+ community. (Please note that the following list is non-exhaustive!):
- 1979: Liverpool held its first Gay Pride Week.
- 1985: Manchester held its first Pride events and hosted the Gay Pub and Club Olympics with boat races down the river and drag queens judging egg and spoon races.
- 1991: In Belfast around 100 people attended a Pride parade, having to keep their route a secret to avoid protestors.
- 1992: London hosted ‘Europride’, attended by around 100,000 people and described by the local news as ‘the lesbian and gay event of the decade’.
- 1995: Scotland held its first large-scale Pride event. The march through Edinburgh ended with a festival in the Meadows.
- 1997: Birmingham Pride was officially launched.
- 1999: Cardiff Mardi Gras—now known as Pride Cymru’s Big Weekend—was held on 04th September in conjunction with a national police conference. The police aimed to work with the community following a rise in hate crimes against LGBTQ+ people in south Wales.
- 2014: Same-sex marriage became legal in England and Wales.
- 2020: Same-sex marriage became legal in Northern Ireland.
- 2021: The UK census included questions on gender identity and sexual orientation for the first time, meaning that data could be gathered on the numbers of LGBT people across the country.
If anybody would like to read any further information on how Pride is celebrated throughout the UK, I recommend taking a look at the following news articles and weblinks:
I wanted to close this article by writing a small piece on the importance of allyship and, specifically, being an ally to the LGBTQ+ community:
At Partnerize, it is crucial we promote allyship to harbour an inclusive and equal space for all, regardless of somebody’s race, gender, sexuality, background etc. To put it broadly, an ally is often defined as somebody who is not a member of a marginalised group but wants to actively support and take action to help others in those marginalised groups You could be an ally to different racial and ethnic groups, religions, LGBTQ+ identities, disabled people and to anybody who has faced barriers within society.
Making assumptions on a person’s sexuality, gender and sex, based on heteronormative ideas is not acceptable. We shouldn’t make assumptions based on our own world view. Learning more about all groups of people and individuals can help to challenge this.
Allyship in the workplace is crucial for inclusion and equality. Research shows that having just one active ally in the workplace can help reduce the possibility of suicidal thoughts of LGBTQ+ people by 40%. Promoting a safe space to actively listen and being able to signpost help is something we can all do.