Sadiq Khan says LGBTQ+ community ‘can’t be complacent’ in fight for equality at Pride in London

Major of London Sadiq Khan wears a white button up shirt and grey jacket as he attends Pride in London celebrations. A person in the background wears rainbow clothing as they hold up an LGBTQ+ Pride flag

Sadiq Khan has said the LGBTQ+ community and allies “can’t be complacent” in the fight for equality as the capital celebrates Pride in London.

The Mayor of London was among the thousands of people attending the Pride in London event on Saturday (2 July). Londoners and supporters of the LGBTQ+ community from across the country turned out for the Pride parade, which marked the 50th anniversary of the first Pride protest in the UK. 

Khan told PinkNews it was important to celebrate the hard won rights that the UK’s LGBTQ+ community has fought for over the last 50 years including the “end of Section 28”, the introduction of same sex marriage and the approval of “laws to protect this community”. 

He added Pride was also a time to recognise there is still a “lot of campaigning” to be done in the wake of the deadly mass shooting at an LGBTQ+ venue in Oslo, Norway as well as attacks against the trans community in the UK. 

“People in this community have been able to be open and successful, thriving – but also recognise that we can’t be complacent,” Khan said. “There is still a lot of campaigning to be done.”

He continued: “This time last week we saw in Oslo members of this community being attacked – two being killed, many others being injured. 

“We’ve seen trans people in this country being used as pawns by politicians and others in a culture war. 

“So of course, we’ve got to continue protesting, continue campaigning, continue trying to make progress but also celebrate the progress we’ve made.” 

The global LGBTQ+ community was devastated after a gunman opened fire in three locations in Oslo’s nightlife district – including at the popular queer club, the London Pub – killing two people and injuring at least 21 people in the early morning hours of 25 June.

Police arrested a suspect just minutes after the horrific incident, and the man has been charged with charged with murder, attempted murder and terrorist acts. 

In the UK, the Conservative government has increasingly taken aim at LGBTQ+ rights. Prime minister Boris Johnson has repeatedly refused to apologise for referring to gay men as “tank-topped bum boys” in a 1998 Telegraph column about gay MP Peter Mandelson. 

The Home Office has denied asylum to dozens of LGBTQ+ men from Afghanistan forced to flee their homes since 2017. It has also pushed ahead with an immigration scheme that will deport some asylum seekers to Rwanda – despite the Home Office acknowledging that LGBTQ+ people face discrimination in the country

Ministers have also claimed trans, non-binary and gender diverse youth shouldn’t have access to gender-affirming healthcarebe supported in school or have their identity affirmed by their parents.  

The Tory government is also pushing forward with legislation that would not protect trans people from barbaric conversion practices, despite intense outcry from the LGBTQ+ community and politicians

Sadiq Khan told PinkNews it was important that the LGBTQ+ community and the trans community has fierce allies as he believed an “attack on one community” is an attack against everyone.

“I’m a firm believer in an attack on one community being an attack on all communities,” Khan said. “That’s why the rest of us are going to show support to this vulnerable community that is under attack from politicians and from others.”

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan wears a white button up shirt and blue jacket as he holds a microphone that he is speaking into and stands in front of a blue background with pink lettering

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan speaks on stage during Pride in London 2022 on 2 July 2022 in London, England. (Tristan Fewings/Getty for Pride In London)

The 2022 Pride in London parade also followed in the footsteps of the original 1972 Pride march that was organised by the Gay Liberation Front. The event is rooted in spreading visibility, increasing unity and championing equality for the LGBTQ+ community in the UK. 

Several other politicians joined the Pride in London celebrations alongside Khan. Labour’s Dawn Butler shared pictures of herself with Khan, openly gay MP Luke Pollard, Stonewall’s Nancy Kelley as well as trans activists Hannah and Jake Graf. 

Labour MP Angela Rayner shared a powerful tweet reminding everyone of the true meaning of Pride ahead of attending the historic march. 

“Pride is a protest but the story is love,” she wrote. 

Labour leader Keir Starmer said on Twitter that it was an “honour to stand with the UK’s LGBT+ community” and promised the political party will “always stand up for your rights”. 

Pride in London has called on the UK government to ban conversion practices for all LGBTQ+ people, reform the Gender Recognition Act, provide equal protections for queer communities against hate crime and end its hostile environment toward migrants.

It also wanted the creation of a national AIDS memorial that “acknowledged the impact of the HIV and AIDS” crisis as well as “honours and remembers those who we have lost”. Pride in London also wanted the UK government to take an active leadership role in tackling violence, discrimination and intolerance against LGBTQ+ people around the world.