Pride Month: 'Continued fight for equality' 50 years after first UK rally

People on Whitehall take part in a Reclaim Pride march to Hyde Park, London. Demonstrators are calli

A Reclaim Pride march in London - Credit: PA

The annual celebration of Pride Month in June commemorates the LGBTQ+ community in the same month as the revolutionary Stonewall riots.  

This year marks 50 years since the UK's first-ever Pride rally which took place in London on July 1 1972.

It followed the Stonewall riots of 1969 in New York, where LGBTQ+ people fought back against police brutality. 

According to charity Stonewall, LGBTQ+ stands for lesbian, gay, bi, trans, queer, questioning and ace (asexual).  

On Saturday, July 2, the Pride in London parade will commemorate the past five decades and the evolution of the movement.  

A Romford Pride march is planned to take place on July 30 starting at midday from South Street, according to the group's Facebook page. 

It comes after the event was cancelled last year due to the pandemic. 

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The Recorder contacted Romford Pride organiser Stephen Freeman for comment.

Matt Jukes

Assistant commissioner Matt Jukes - Credit: Met Police

In honour of Pride Month, the Met Police’s assistant commissioner for specialist operations, Matt Jukes, has shared his memories of the changes he has witnessed over three decades in policing.  

He recalls starting in the east end of Sheffield, “where LGBT+ pubs and clubs were hidden in industrial side streets”, and he remembers working with a “courageous trans police officer in the mid-1990s".

At the time he recalls there were “quite a lot of kind and sensible responses from colleagues”. 

He said Pride Month sees a “key milestone with Pride in London reaching an amazing 50 years”, and added that the Met “has been there from the beginning" and is "working hard with organisers to ensure Pride ‘22 remains a safe, fun celebration.” 

“The police have come a long way since the early days of Pride.  

“We have a long way still to go – but we are absolutely committed to supporting our LGBT+ colleagues and our LGBT+ communities,” shared Matt. 

How has Havering celebrated Pride Month?  

Chief executive of Havering Council, Andrew Blake-Herbert, said the council is "proud to be taking part in Pride in London for the first time ever."  

He said: “On July 2, council staff, councillors and partners will be joining hundreds of other councils and organisations across London to celebrate 50 years of Pride and to promote acceptance and inclusivity in Havering.”  

Andrew confirmed the Progress Pride Flag will fly at Havering Town Hall from Friday 1 until Monday 4 July to mark the Pride in London weekend. 

He said: “This is both an expression of celebration, joy and triumph but also an acknowledgement of the continued fight for justice, equality and acceptance.” 

Pride Month has been marked by the council with items on social media, the Living in Havering email newsletter and internal staff communication.  

Andrew said Havering libraries have a “special collection of Pride-themed books for young adults on its eBooks site.”  

The Pride eBook collection can be accessed at https://tlc.overdrive.com/collection/1337224

'Love is love': Collier Row businesses supporting Pride Month  

Donna Nash and Holly Ely

Owner of Brick Lane Bagel Co in Collier Row, Donna Nash, 41, and barista Holly Ely, 28 - Credit: Chantelle Billson

Owner of Brick Lane Bagel Co in Collier Row, Donna Nash, said she is celebrating Pride Month and supporting the LGBTQ+ community because she believes “love is love”.  

The 41-year-old added: “Everybody deserves to experience love and express themselves in whichever way they desire. 

“We support diversity, equality and freedom to be whoever you want to be.” 

Donna said on July 2 she will be ensuring the team do something to celebrate and, if the flags they have ordered do not arrive in time, they may come to work dressed in the rainbow flag colours. 

Rosheen Francis

Rosheen Francis - Credit: Chantelle Billson

Rosheen Francis, supervisor at El Mono in Collier Row, said the tapas bar is supporting Pride Month.  

She said: “Here at El Mono we are supporting the LGBTQ+ community.  

“We’re at the heart of the community and everyone is welcome here at El Mono and it’s important to us that all our customers feel included and welcome.”  

Gemma Langston and Rosheen Francis

From left to right: El Mono general manager Gemma Langston with supervisor Rosheen Francis - Credit: Chantelle Billson

The date of the Pride in London parade (July 2) coincides with the bar's July Weekender event.  

She said: “Therefore we will be having a special Pride cocktail and we will be making plans to decorate for the special event.” 

Sophie Reynolds

Sophie Reynolds - Credit: Sophie Reynolds

Sophie Reynolds, owner of Sophie’s Beauty Parlour in Collier Row, has decorated the window of her shop to show its support for Pride Month.  

The 33-year-old said her salon is supporting the occasion by “wearing fun Pride flag headbands to make clients laugh”, as well as “encouraging the topic of conversation to enable discussion to flourish and educate our clients who are not even aware of what it stands for within our community”.  

Sophie's beauty parlour

"Love is Love": Sophie's Beauty Parlour has been decorated with emotive and empowering hashtags, quotes and images - Credit: Chantelle Billson

“This is to encourage people within our community to feel inclusive in visiting our salon and to show we are proud to support this amazing and every growing community of LGBTQ+ in our local area.”  

On June 27, Sophie and her staff will be wearing “bright and beautiful colours” to celebrate Pride, while encouraging clients to join them, with the “best dressed” receiving a treat on the salon.  

Jat Singh,

Jat Singh - Credit: Jat Singh

Director of One Stop Plumbing and Electrical in Collier Row, Jat Singh, said his shop is also supporting Pride Month.  

“We think it’s very important that everyone is part of the community and we believe it’s important to be accepting as it doesn't matter what people are, everyone should be accepted,” said Jat.  

The 37-year-old said he’s aware of the Pride in London parade and will be supporting the occasion with flags outside of his shop.  

“We want to show our support and we want everyone to know they are welcome.”