Pride in London parade cancelled for second year in a row

Organisers say the event has been cancelled due to concerns over Covid safety and government regulations.

Feet wearing rainbow coloured trainers surrounded by confetti on the ground
Image: Clem Onojeghuo

The Pride in London parade has been cancelled for the second year running due to concerns over Covid safety. This year’s event was due to take place on September 11, but organisers said the parade and connected concerts could not work under current Covid-19 guidelines.

In a video on social media, Pride in London executive director Chris Joell-Deshields said: “I’m truly saddened to say that Pride in London won’t be happening in person this year. Last week was extremely challenging navigating the government’s recently updated Covid-19 guidelines and legislation for large-scale public events like ours.”

He added that this week they will begin to plan for Pride in London 2022 with their “most inclusive and queerest event yet ready to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the first pride in the UK.”

Reacting to the cancellation, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said: “It is a real shame that for the second year in a row we will not be able to join together on the streets of London for Pride.

“But although our city continues to open up, we must still be cautious about the spread of Covid-19 and it is understandable why the Pride in London committee have made this decision. I truly hope that next year we will be able to unite on our streets once again in solidarity and celebration.”

Responding to Pride in London being cancelled once again this year, Pride patron and veteran since 1972, Peter Tatchell, said: “The Pride organisers say the parade was cancelled because it could not conform to government and public health pandemic requirements. This is implausible. 

“The Reclaim London Pride march was attended by thousands of mask-wearing people on 24 July, with no objection from the government, health authorities or police. The event was compliant with all pandemic rules and recommendations.

“I suspect the real reason for the cancellation is that big sponsors like Barclays and Tesco have reportedly pulled out, in the wake of damaging allegations of racism and bullying within the Pride organisation. A number of LGBT+ organisations have also apparently withdrawn their support.” 

He also claimed that Pride has strayed far from what it used to be, calling it “corporate and depoliticised.” The number of marchers is limited to 30,000 which results in thousands being turned away each year. “It’s wrong that no one can participate without a paid-for wristband.” 

Mr Tatchell finished his statement by saying that the Pride parade “should remain true to its founding ideals. Pride must be for the LGBT+ community – not city authorities or corporate funders. Their support is welcome but it must not overwhelm and dominate LGBT+ community groups.” 

© 2021 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

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