Pride In London Cancelled Amid 'Safety Concerns'

man in rainbow ride colours

Pride In London revellers won't be partying this September

 

After already being rescheduled, Pride In London has been cancelled for the second year in a row due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the UK coming out of lockdown and removing most of the restrictions, it seems like it just wasn’t going to be possible to have the Pride that people want and deserve to the organisers decided it was better to just not have one at all.

 

Cancelled again

 

In July, LGBT activists in London held more of a grassroots protest called the Reclaim Pride March after becoming incensed by big corporations and the government’s involved without actually doing enough to help LGBTQ+ people in the UK, financially or otherwise.

 

pride colours on a mohawk

Hair today, gone tomorrow. No Pride again for the second year running

 

Pride in London’s Executive Director, Christopher Joell-Deshields, said the following in a statement via the charity’s YouTube channel: “Covid-19 has affected all of us, changing so much about how we live our lives and gather together in our communities. Pride, like all other major public events, has faced countless challenges with regards to safely holding one of the largest events in the capital.

 

“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.

 

 dancers on stage at black pride

Sadly there will be no cabaret or devil horns this year

 

“It became clear when working through final risk assessments that our event could not provide the level of mitigation expected from the local public health team and the government. It would have meant losing the crucial parade and reducing the event to just two or three stages scattered across central London with limited tickets. This goes against everything we want Pride in London to be or that we have been so far.”

 

One rule for them?

 

People are understandably furious about this news, coming mere weeks before it was about to happen. Having seen various music festivals and huge sporting events going ahead with no problems, it has given member of the queer community to wonder why exactly is their event not allowed?

 

pride in london rainbow hat 

Yee-haw! - The pandemic strikes again at the heart of Pride

 

People are understandably furious about this news, coming mere weeks before it was about to happen. Having seen various music festivals and huge sporting events going ahead with no problems, it has given member of the queer community to wonder why exactly is their event not allowed?

 

The problem is that this is of course a non-ticketed affair that takes place in and around the centre of London with hundreds of thousands of people involved. Music festivals such as Latitude or the Euros 2020 final were ticketed and you had to have a either a COVID-19 vaccination passport or proof of a negative test.

 

 muscly men at pride in london

Sun's out guns out - but not in 2021

 

Pride is about protest and, of course, visibility so is open to all but with that amount of people descending on the capital, it makes it almost impossible to police from a pandemic point of view. Of course, there have been protests and marches in the last year but this needs the involvement of the Mayor of London and the government as well so at the end of the day it looks like is just wasn’t going to be possible with SO many variables and ultimately people’s lives at stake.

 

“No parade, no protest, means no Pride"

 

Chris continued: “No parade, no protest, means no Pride. We cannot waiver from that commitment to you, our community. How are we meant to tell some people that they have tickets and others they don’t? I know that events like Manchester Pride, Brighton Pride and Notting Hill Carnival have also had to take these tough decisions based on the advice of public health officials. The team and I agree public health and well-being is our top priority.

 

london bus and pride revellers

 London Buses won't be part of the fun again 

 

“While our 2021 event may not be going ahead, Pride in London volunteers will not stop working to reinforce our engagement with LGBT+ communities to achieve our committed objectives towards diversity & inclusion and the elevation of issues that matter to us all.

  

“This year our unity fund raised over £100,000 for organisations like the House of Rainbow, FTM, Sutton LGBT Forum and Out and Proud African – to name a few. Applications will open again in October. Tomorrow we start planning the return to the streets of London in 2022 with our most inclusive and queerest event yet ready to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the first pride in the UK.

 

barefoot wine purple team

The Barefoot wine insignia, they have sponsored Pride for decades 

 

“As we can continue demanding queer visibility unity and equality, we ask that the UK government declare 2022 as a Year of Queer. Thank you to the volunteers, organisations and agencies who have been working hard for the past 15 months and were also looking forward to marching and sharing their voices unapologetically. You have my deepest respect and our community’s love. Please support queer venues, spaces, artists and performers this September. See you all soon and thanks again for your support.” 

 

With so much talk of ‘Freedom Day’ and the relaxing of most of the restrictions, this is a bitter blow, especially after the success of the vaccine rollout in the UK. Hopefully once young people start getting double jabbed we can look forward to being proud with our gay brothers, sisters and others soon.

Sam Dowler

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