Gay Liberation Front vets commemorate first UK Pride march with reminder Pride is indeed a protest

Members of the Gay Liberation Front (GLF) hold up signs during a protest in 2019

Veterans of the Gay Liberation Front are inviting those “who can’t stand” the Tory government to join a protest march honouring 50th anniversary of UK Pride.

This July marks 50 years since the first-ever Pride march in the UK, which was organised and led by the Gay Liberation Front (GLF) in 1972. Now, veterans of that original protest march are honouring the historic event with a protest march through the streets of London on 1 July – the exact anniversary of their first march.

The protest will leave Trafalgar Square at 1pm and trace the “exact route” of the 1972 movement before finishing in Marble Arch. Upon arrival, GLF veterans said there will be a “mass Kiss-In followed by a Party in the Park where silly games will be played”. 

A collective statement from GLF veterans said that they will be “celebrating the exact anniversary of our 1972 pride march and protest regardless of any decisions the mayoral Pride run by the London LGBT Community Pride CIC (LLCP)” takes for its event on 2 July. 

GLF said individuals who were part of and who helped organised the “first Pride demonstration” will be joined by “many of our new friends and volunteers that we have made over the years”. 

They also encouraged other community organisations and those who have felt left out of mainstream LGBTQ+ Pride events to join their protest march on 1 July. 

“Gay Liberation Front stands with all forcibly and systemically marginalised people,” the statement read. 

“We’re Black, we’re Trans, we’re people of colour, we’re white and we’re un-abled. We invite UK Black Pride and Trans Pride, and all who can’t stand what Cameron, May and Johnson have done to this country, to join us.”

The vets also requested that the “historical record” be corrected to reflect that the “march and protest we organised on 1 July 1972” was “not the first inauguration of London Pride, Pride in London or whichever Mayoral-supported pride organisations have emerged onto the path that GLF cleared in 1972”.

“GLF has never been beholden to corporate interest or neoliberalism’s assimilationist demands, nor have we courted the favour of politicians and charlatans,” the vets said. “We believe in the power of the people, in accountability and that a politics of solidarity is essential to ‘pride’.”

UK Black Pride will be joining GLF veterans for its 1 July protest march. 

Pride in London, the group which currently organises the capital’s Pride events, has faced harsh criticism in recent years. In 2021, Pride in London’s five most senior members, including its co-chairs, stepped down following damning allegations of racism and bullying in the organisation.

The organisation apologised “unreservedly” in March after “abhorrent” lesbophobic comments came to light a year earlier. Pride in London acknowledged that the “legacy” of the vile comment “deeply hurt members of the lesbian community” and said it was “not representative of our culture or values”.