The History of Pride in the UK

Reflecting the struggles and progress of the LGBTQ+ community, Pride in the UK has a rich and significant history. Its roots stem as far back as the early 70’s, when London marked the anniversary of the Stonewall uprising with its first Pride march.

Here, we take a brief look at some key milestones in the history of UK Pride.

The Stonewall Riots

On the evening of 28th June 1969, New York’s Stonewall Inn became the target of police focus solely for being recognised as an LGBTQ+ venue. That night, patrons famously resisted police instruction and rebelled against discriminatory and oppressive treatment of the LGBTQ+ community by the NYPD.

Following the events at Stonewall, the first Pride marches took place a year later to the day in New York, LA and Chicago - and were attended by thousands of people from within the community.

Pride in the UK

Here in the UK, the first Pride march was held in London on 1st July 1972, a date selected as the closest Saturday to the anniversary of the Stonewall uprising. Organised with the aim to show that members of the LGBTQ+ community shouldn’t feel ashamed and to stand up for equal rights, the march was thought to be attended by an estimated 2,000 people.

For many years, London remained as the UK’s main Pride event for which thousands of people from across the UK travelled down for. In 1973, Brighton held its first Pride march and, just over a decade later in 1985, Manchester held its first event in the form of an LGBTQ+ Olympics including boat races on the river. And it wasn’t until the late 90’s that cities such as Birmingham and Cardiff held their first official events - both now known for holding yearly Pride events on a large scale.

Pride Today

Formed and registered as a not-for-profit organisation in 2004, Pride In London run the UK’s largest and most diverse Pride event each year in the capital. Run by staff and volunteers who are passionate about equality and diversity, they strive to showcase the amazing diversity of the community and enable LGBTQ+ people to be visible and vocal about the progress that has been made over the years, and the work that is still to be done.

Each year, more and more towns and cities are getting involved and hosting their own Pride events to serve as a platform for visibility and advocacy of the LGBTQ+ community. Not just about celebration, it’s important to remember Pride is about the ongoing struggle for LGBTQ+ rights.

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