Sir Ian McKellen walking through Piccadilly Circus during Pride in London. (Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images for Pride in London)
Prime Minister, Theresa May, and Labour Party leader, Jeremy Corbyn, have shared their messages for Pride as thousands of people took the streets of the capital to celebrate.
Speaking in a video message Ms May said: “Pride season is always the highlight of the summer. It’s a chance to celebrate the huge contribution that LGBT of all backgrounds make to our national life.
“Thanks to the work of generations of campaigners, our country has come a long way. But there still is much more to do.”
UK Prime Minister @theresa_may wishes everyone a happy Pride 🏳️🌈@conservatives#PrideInLondon #PrideJubilee pic.twitter.com/abSsERrUfD
— Pride in London (@PrideInLondon) July 6, 2019
Her sentiment echoed the words she wrote for PinkNews last week where she said: “The Stonewall riots were a push for equality from people who for too long lived in secrecy and fear, afraid to be themselves.
“Fifty years on, it deeply concerns me that in the UK there are many who feel they still cannot live their lives openly because of their sexuality or because they are transgender.
“Like many others, I was shocked when I heard of the two young women who were subject to an appalling homophobic attack on a London bus a few weeks ago.”
“People say they cannot believe that this sort of thing still happens in the UK in 2019, not least in our capital city, but for LGBT+ people, even in a country as open and inclusive as ours, the threat of bigotry is still a daily reality.”
Leader of the opposition, Mr Corbyn, also shared a similar message for Pride. Speaking from Britain’s first LGBT+ book shop he highlighted the importance of solidarity in the movement.
Pride is a protest, a show of solidarity and a celebration.#Pride #Pride2019 #PrideInLondon #PrideJubilee pic.twitter.com/Lo0ROn6c8h
— Jeremy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) July 6, 2019
Elsewhere, on the streets of London singer Sam Smith — who recently came out as non-binary — was spotted marching alongside crowds of activists and campaigners.
Mayor of London lead the way with trans-inclusive lesbian network ‘L with the T,’ taking the opportunity to swipe at Tory leader frontrunner Boris Johnson over his historical remarks about gay men. Groups of bisexual people and gay and queer men also showed their support for trans rights, under ‘B with the T’ and ‘G with the T’ banners.
Trans and non-binary campaigners also formed part of the group at the head of the march, while queer people of colour also joined protesters.
The sight is far removed from 2018’s parade, when a group of anti-transgender protesters forced their way to the head of the march.
The group had distributed anti-trans leaflets under the banner “Get the L Out,” claiming that transgender women are a threat to lesbians.
Pride in London later apologised for the failure to remove the anti-trans activists.
Speaking to PinkNews, L with the T organiser Jules Guaitamacchi said that the protests at Pride in 2018 served as “a snapshot of what the trans community have been experiencing consistently” due to a wave of public transphobia.
They explained: “Last year 232 anti trans articles were published by one media outlet. It seems that the trans community as a minority have little power and it’s important that allies take a stand in the face of discrimination.”
YouTube star Dan Howell attended Pride in London for the first time after coming out as gay — carrying an amazing sign. And Little Mix’s Jade Thirlwall and Leigh-Anne Pinnock marched alongside trans children’s charity Mermaids.
There was a moment of tension at Pride in London as a number of LGBT+ activists were temporarily stopped by stewards and police.
Queer campaigners from Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants, the Outside Project and African Rainbow Family were waiting to march at the end of Pride when they were stopped by officials, according to reports on the ground.
Following a short stand-off the group was allowed to join the march despite not having applied for a place in the parade.
There is frustration that a bloc including queer activist group Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants (LGSM), the Outside Project and African Rainbow Family who were were waiting to march at the end of Pride, were temporarily stopped by stewards and police.
“Pride in London is celebrating 50 years since Stonewall, yet we’re met with lines of police and ‘stewards’ when marching to fight for those in our community suffering the brunt of oppression,” Sam Bjorn, a spokesperson for Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants told the Guardian.
“We’re marching with LGBT+ people seeking asylum and homeless LGBT+ people.
“They should be celebrated, not the banks and security companies that are holding us down.”