We march, we walk, we mince, we dance in London’s streets and then in a London park on Friday 1 July 2022, because on that day it will be exactly 50 years since many people still alive did just that on Saturday 1 July 1972.
We will be joined by friends and allies to hold a protest march tracing the exact route of the Gay Liberation Front (GLF) 1972 march. We will leave from the Trafalgar Square area by St. Martin-in-the-Fields at 1:00 p.m. and walk by way of Charing Cross Road and Oxford Street to Marble Arch and Speakers Corner. Due to Covid and Monkeypox we will not be able to hold a mass Kiss-In as planned, but we will hold a party in the Park where silly games will be played. The Quebec, in Old Quebec Street, aka “The Elephant’s graveyard” will be providing space for those looking for refreshments near the Park.
The Gay Liberation Front (1970-1973) was an outpouring of rage by lesbians, trans people, bi’s and gay men in the USA and here in the UK and Ireland, and eventually across much of the world, against centuries of abuse by police, workplaces, and legislators.
Created after the 1969 rebellion at the Stonewall Inn Greenwich Village by trans women, lesbians, the black communities, Puerto Ricans, other people of colour, and white queens.
GLF declared that it was not us who were sick, but society. That it was not us who should change, but society that must change. And indeed, large parts of society did change through GLF’s policy of Coming Out and being visible.
A collective statement from GLF Veterans reads:
“We’re celebrating the exact anniversary of our 1972 pride march and protest regardless of any decisions the mayoral Pride run by the London LGBT Community Pride CIC (LLCP) takes for its event on Saturday, 2 July.
“We love all the people gay or straight or bravely refusing to take a decision either way who take part in Pride events, and affectionately wish everyone who goes on the mayor’s march on 2 July, and the volunteers who make it possible, and the people who come to London to watch it, every good fortune. We love their energy and courage and their pride in coming out.
“If you can, come and join us on Friday, 1 July, the actual 50th commemoration to the very day of the first London Pride march. Those of us who were at – and who helped organise – the first Pride demonstration will be joined by many of our new friends and volunteers that we have made over the years.
“Gay Liberation Front stands with all forcibly and systemically marginalised people. We’re Black, we’re Trans, we’re people of colour, we’re white and we’re un-abled. We invite UK Black Pride and Trans Pride, and all who can’t stand what Cameron, May, and Johnson have done to this country, to join us.
“Victor Orban of Hungary and President Putin of Russia, are afraid of our marches, telling us that the invasion and pauperisation of the Ukraine is a war against “gender insanity”. Timid men, aren’t they, lacking courage. Do join us.
“Finally, we would like the historical record corrected: the march and protest we organised on 1 July, 1972 was not the first inauguration of London Pride, Pride in London or whichever Mayoral-supported pride organisations have emerged onto the path that GLF cleared in 1972.
GLF has never been beholden to corporate interest or neoliberalism’s assimilationist demands, nor have we courted the favour of politicians and charlatans. We believe in the power of the people, in accountability and that a politics of solidarity is essential to ‘pride’.”
Pride is both carnival and protest!
The veterans of the Gay Liberation Front
Notes to editors
All media enquiries: email@example.com
Gay Liberation Front’s veterans are not working with Pride in London. Quotes attributed by Pride in London to GLF veteran Andrew Lumsden were captured months ago and before communication between GLF and Pride in London stalled.
Pride in London is not tracing the original 1972 route, despite advertising to the contrary. Gay Liberation Front’s veterans were approached by Pride in London’s (PiL) leadership to glean historic information and to offer GLF monies for banner making for PiL’s 2022 event. In return GLF asked to lead PiLs parade, an honour GLF thought it deserved on its 50th Anniversary, and that the demands of the Gay Liberation Front be incorporated. PiL has not responded since that request was made.
UK Black Pride will join GLF Veterans and allies on 1 July, 2022. Gay Liberation Front is calling for community organisations and those repeatedly excluded from mainstream pride celebrations to join the march and protest on that day.
Historical and contextual notes for editors
Sex in private between gay men didn’t become legal at the same age as for straights until the 29th London Pride March in 2001 when England, Scotland and Wales allowed it. It wasn’t until the 36th London Pride March that gay men in Northern Ireland were allowed to have consensual sex from the age of sixteen.
The mayor’s Pride March was an innovation a few years ago requiring e.g. £65,000 payments to Westminster Council for loss of parking fine revenues, and a doubleing of the cost of Trafalgar Square to £100,000. Previously free-to-all events became ticketed ones and organisers turned to big business for support.
The results were bland. Awareness of injustices affecting everyone in the world faded. The nadir was reached in 2019 when directors of the London Mayor’s Pride parade allowed onto the route a mobile cinema by the weapons manufacturers BAE Systems, advertising fighter aircraft being sold to Saudi Arabia for use in the Yemen.
In 2021, there was a revolt by Pride’s Community Advisory Board and the volunteers who alone make possible the mayor of London’s Pride parade. They uncovered racism and bullying by the board of LLCP CIC that holds the mayor’s franchise. Some of its directors resigned, but not all.
We understand that the sole shareholder of LLCP who has held the mayoral franchise since 2013, formed a new company in 2017 called Pride in London UK, whose sole asset is its majority shareholding in LLCP.
He is, it seems, Michael Salter-Church, a former Conservative administration Downing Street Director of Communications who worked for David Cameron when Prime Minister. This was at a time when Boris Johnson was Mayor of London and City Hall began to dictate policy to our own volunteer led LGBTQIA+ Pride Charity which resulted in its bankruptcy after several decades of prudent stewardship.