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06 August 2021

Pride in London cancelled due to pandemic as organisers say ‘No parade, no protest, means no Pride’

06 August 2021

Pride celebrations will not go ahead in London as planned due to challenges with navigating Covid-19 guidelines and legislation for large scale events, organisers said.

The event, which attracts hundreds of thousands of people each year, was due to take place on September 11.

Organisers said public health and wellbeing is their top priority.

In a video posted on YouTube, Christopher Joell-Deshields, executive director leading the Pride team in London, said: “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.

The London Eye and County Hall are lit up in a rainbow hue on the first day of Pride month in June (Aaron Chown/PA) (PA Wire)

“Last week was extremely challenging navigating the Government’s recently updated Covid-19 guidelines and legislation for large scale public events like ours.

“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, all that we have been so far.

As we can continue demanding queer visibility, unity and equality, we ask that the UK Government declare 2022 as a year of queer.

“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?”

Mr Joell-Deshields said Manchester Pride, Brighton Pride and Notting Hill Carnival have also had to take “tough decisions” based on the advice of public health officials.

“The team and I agree public health and wellbeing is our top priority.

A Pride march in London earlier this year (Victoria Jones/PA) (PA Wire)

“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,” he said.

Mr Joell-Deshields said the team will start planning a return to the streets of London in 2022 ready to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the first Pride in the UK.

“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 we’re 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 performance this September,” he said.

In 2020, Pride celebrations were moved online amid the coronavirus pandemic, while smaller crowds than usual took to the streets of London.

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