London-the place of acceptance, expression and love-is all about bringing people together from diverse backgrounds. For 16 days, between June 10-26, 2016, the streets of this western European city transforms into a place of happiness and self-expression. It’s projected that approximately 750,000 people will hit the pavement for the festivities this year with that number further growing every year, indicating that people are starting to open up about the gay and lesbian culture.
Gay Pride March and Parade of London started as a rally in 1972 because of a shift in consciousness about the inequalities happening to the LGBT community during the time. The government tried to silence those in the LGBT community, which prompted more people to show up at these rallies each year. During the 1980s to 90s, this event became a funfair, then by 2004 it developed into a full march and parade. By 2012, the Gay Pride March and Parade became one of the top three events in London receiving funding from multiple Fortune 500 companies, groups, vendors, and individuals who support the cause-making it soar to new heights.
Now it's an unlimited party of pure bliss and joy, reflecting the heavy gay nightlife scene on Old Compton Street. From Charing Cross Road to Rupert Street is the central place of LGBT+ clubs with DJs mixing energetic music pumping into the streets in the spirit of everyone. There are at least 85 clubs in London centred around the LGBT+ community-consisting of gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans, questioning, intersex, asexual, polysexual, non-binary and gender variant people.
#NoFilter is the campaign promoted this year, letting all people know it’s ok to be themselves. Some in the LGBT+ community feel the need to hinder themselves and hide behind masks because of the media, family, and society’s judgements, but this campaign motivates you to allow your true self to shine like a bright star. Access the hashtag #NoFilter on Twitter to read messages and communicate with like-minded people who care. There’s no need to hide your true self during one of the largest street parties in London!
During the festivities in the SoHo area, something magical is always happening and everyone takes notice. There will be performances, open mic sessions, music concerts featuring big names in the gay community, talent shows such as “Pride's Got Talent”, sing-alongs, art exhibitions, film screenings, equality rights talks, live speeches, workshops and conferences in and near Trafalgar Square covering issues affecting the LGBT community.
A few places to enjoy are the guided walking, bus and bike tours for gay and lesbian travellers to London’s most iconic landmarks and attractions. The Hampstead Heath Men's Pond, which is a gay-friendly outdoor swimming area, is perfect for some wet-and-wild fun. Some interesting gay-friendly neighbourhoods to visit are West End and Vauxhall. The LGBT Tourist Office in Leicester Square at the Ku Bar on 5th street will provide plenty of information on the hottest cultural gay events and more LGBT friendly places to visit in London.
The main events of the Gay Pride March and Parade happen on Saturday, June 25th, 2016 from 1pm to 4pm starting on Baker Street along Oxford Street to Oxford Circus, then from Regent Street to Piccadilly Circus and on Haymarket Street. The parade continues on Paul Mall and ending in Trafalgar Square near Whitehall. Come and party with hundreds of thousands of people free of judgement and discrimination in a safe space that’s fun for everyone!
There will be 287 walking groups and 54 floats with performers, dancers, student groups, charities, community groups, volunteers, sponsors, multi-national flag bearers representing every colour under the rainbow, and performing bands playing beautiful music that projects positivity in the air. It's anticipated that over 15,000+ spectators will take part in the LGBT+ cultural parade while holding hands in togetherness. More information is found on the PrideInLondon website.
Some popular bars and clubs that are LGBT+ friendly in the SoHo are SoHo’s Candy Bar, Soho Gay Bar, She Soho, G-A-Y, Halfway To Heaven, Admiral Duncan and many more. The recommended LGBT+ friendly accommodations are The Exhibitionist Hotel, Trafalgar Hotel, Sanderson, The Soho Hotel, and Gay Homestays.
You will have the time of your life this weekend!