LGBTQ+ leaders explain why Pride in London is ‘more important than ever’ amid UK culture war

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LGBTQ+ leaders explain why Pride in London is ‘more important than ever’ amid UK culture war

Leaders of Pride in London’s annual parade have said Pride is now “more important than ever” in a year that has seen LGBTQ+ lives increasingly used as a political football. 

On Saturday (29 June), people came together in solidarity and celebration for Pride in London. 

Taking off from Hyde Park Corner, the annual parade was lead by London mayor Sadiq Khan. Khan wished the crowd a “happy Pride”, while surrounded by banners that read “we built this city” and “London is so gay”.  

Pride in London’s campaign this year – #WeAreEverywhere – aims to respond to the UK’s current political climate, with LGBTQ+ identities’ under attack.

The parade was led by 150 LGBTQ+ activists, some independent and some with organisations. PinkNews spoke to some of the #WeAreEverywhere leaders of the parade. 

H Li (PinkNews/Chan Billson)

H Li, director of communications at Pride in London, who uses they/she pronouns, told PinkNews: “This year’s Pride in London campaign is all about how everyday Londoners all across the city are advancing the rights of LGBTQ+ people all over the city.

“Some of them are not part of organisations, they’re individual activists and it’s a really diverse group of people who are part of this campaign.” 

Asexual activist Yasmin Benoit at Pride in London 2024.
Asexual activist Yasmin Benoit at Pride in London 2024. (PinkNews)

Asexual activist Yasmin Benoit, who is part of the campaign, told PinkNews: “Pride is more important than ever especially in the current cultural and political climate”. 

As “the UK is taking steps back” in ensuring the rights of LGBTQ+ people, Benoit said “it’s even more important to be loud and to be visible and to be supportive”. 

She said Pride can be a time for celebration, but also protest, “especially for places that haven’t had the same progress that we’ve had”. 

Benoit said of leading the parade: “It’s an incredible honour as a asexual person, as a aromatic person, as a Black woman to be able to lead Pride in London, it’s one of the biggest Pride’s in the UK and I think it makes a powerful statement about inclusion.” 

Rico Jacob Chace (Chan Billson/PinkNews)

Rico Jacob Chace told PinkNews that Pride in London has always been a protest, and “always should be.” 

He said there is still “a lot that needs to be done when it comes to trans rights”. 

“As a very vocal Black trans activist it’s very important that we do recognise that there’s still a lot of work when it comes to trans and non-binary rights and we’re here today to make a stance.” 

Chace helped to create Pride in London’s campaign last year – “Never March Alone: Championing Trans Allyship” – and said leading the parade this year is a “joy”. 

“Little moments like this really reminds me that there are a lot of us, we are the majority and we want to make a positive stance on society,” he explained.

Neale Martin (Chan Billson/PinkNews)

Neale Martin told PinkNews it’s “such an honour” to be leading the parade and “headlining for our community here in London”. 

On the importance of Pride, he said: “In 2024 it’s still as important as it’s ever been, but especially now it’s for bringing the fight forward for our trans non-binary members of the community who are still facing struggles,” he said for this reason Pride is still a protest, but added “we can still have a party”. 

Marcus Beecroft (Chan Billson/PinkNews)

Marcus Beecroft, who was attending his first Pride in London at the front of the event, told PinkNews he believed “Pride is definitely still a protest, we face so many problems still, even in 2024”. 

Speaking of leading the parade, he said: “I’m so excited. I can just feel the love everywhere around. It’s just a wonderful experience.” 

TAJ Outerbridge (Chan Billson/PinkNews)

TAJ Outerbridge told PinkNews they believe Pride is “super important for visibility”, especially for those who are marginalised in the community – it offers them a chance to stand with others. 

They added: “Pride is definitely still a protest and that’s why I’m here with Pride in London to march in the protest.” 

Speaking of leading the parade, they said: “It means everything to me. A little queer kid from Bermuda who never thought they’d walk in a Pride parade, this is huge.”

The post LGBTQ+ leaders explain why Pride in London is ‘more important than ever’ amid UK culture war appeared first on PinkNews | Latest lesbian, gay, bi and trans news | LGBTQ+ news.

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