Posts Tagged ‘gay pride’

World Pride & Spanish Civil War

Thursday, July 7th, 2022

World Pride & Spanish Civil War. On Saturday 7th July 2012 there were two events taking place at the same time and I was determined to cover both. Fortunately having begun at the start of the WorldPride procession in Marylebone I was able to jump onto the Bakerloo Line to Waterloo and photograph the annual International Brigades Commemoration at Jubilee Gardens before returning on the same line to Charing Cross to photograph the end of the march.

WorldPride London – Portman St & Westminster

Pride almost didn’t happen in 2012 as the organisers were met shortly before the event to provide financial assurances to the GLA, Met Police, Westminster Council, London Fire Brigade and Transport for London, which they were unable to do. Quite why London Mayor Boris Johnson decided to try to stop Pride in this way is not at all clear.

Two marchers in a group who had been at the first Gay Pride in 1972

So rather than the planned event they decided to stage a ‘peaceful protest’ march or ‘procession’ specified as a democratic right under the Public Order Act 1986. This meant there were none of the corporate floats that have in recent years come to dominate the event, although company staff still marched in their company outfits.

Gay Pride had in recent years lost much of its political edge, becoming a carnival of different lifestyles and a commercially sponsored jamboree, with large and expensive floats. Without these, although the corporates were still present, everyone was on the street together and the whole event seemed more intimate.

WorldPride 2012 was again a protest – as it used to be, though in a very different situation from when it began when for many that took part it was where they ‘came out’, taking the significant step in affirming themselves as gay and standing together against the prejudices of a society which was only just beginning to accept that being gay was not a perversion.

Of course there are still some communities in the UK where being gay remains unacceptable, and as campaigner Peter Tatchell reminded us, there are still some countries where people are being killed because they are gay.

There were a number of heavy showers while people were arriving for the event, and many put off arriving as late as possible. Although at first it looked as if the event might be a washout, by the time I was making my way towards Baker Street station the street was tightly packed making my progress slow.

When I returned to photograph marchers at the end of the event in Whitehall and Pall Mall I had missed the front of the march, but there were still many arriving hours after the procession had begun.

Sacrifice For Spain Remembered – International Brigade Memorial

David Loman unveils the new plaque in Jubilee Gardens

The annual International Brigades Commemoration has been on the same day as Pride in several years, and recording both has often been a problem. I was particularly keen to be there this year as it could well be the last to be attended by any of those who volunteered to go to Spain.

The war in Spain began in 1936, 76 years earlier. A new plaque was being unveiled in Jubilee Gardens by David Loman who was an 18 year old Jewish lad, David Soloman, from the East End when he went to fight in Spain in 1936, changing his name to Loman (also know as Lomon) because it was illegal. He was captured by Italian soldiers in 1938, surviving some months in a prison camp before being repatriated. He served in the Royal Navy in the Second World War and like other surviving members of the International Brigades he was awarded Spanish nationality in 2007 for his services to the Spanish nation and presented with a Spanish passport in 2011.

Now 94, and looking very sprightly Loman is one of only three remaining British veterans – the others being Lou Kenton then 103 and Stanley Hilton. Both Loman and Kenton died during before the commemoration in 2013. Hilton, who was living in Australia, died in 2016 aged 98.

David Loman holds the flag he was presented

There were many family members of those who fought in Spain at the commemoration, and there were a number of speeches and performances by folk musician Ewan McLennan, performance poet Francesca Beard, singer-songwriter Paco Marin and folk duo Na-Mara, but Loman was definitely the star of the occasion.

More at Sacrifice For Spain Remembered.

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Migrant Pride and Pride 2016

Friday, June 25th, 2021

I first photographed London’s annual Pride in 1993, when it was a much smaller and more political event than it has become. Back then it was still a protest an since then it has become a parade, dominated by large corporate floats, from various large companies, armed forces and police.

Of course there is still some of the old spirit, with many groups from the gay community and even some protesters still taking part, but largely hidden at the back of the very long line-up.

The Migrant Rights & Anti-Racist Pride march to the official Pride London procession organised by Movement for Justice and joined by others, including London in Solidarity with Istanbul LGBTI Pride and Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants brought back some of the original spirit.

It gathered on Oxford St and then went on to join the main march, along with others behind the corporate floats.

The following year Pride organisers reacted by closing the march to only those who had officially applied to march and had official armbands – and refused entry to the Migrants Rights and Anti-Racist Bloc who then sat down in front of the march before police decided they could march along the route before the main procession.

This year Pride in London has been postponed until 11 September, but Peter Tatchell this May called for an alternative LGBT+ rights march to take place in June, He stated:

“For too long we have been conned by vested interests into believing that it is hugely expensive to hold a Pride march. It is not costly at all if we run the no-frills march that I am proposing.

“It would mirror the informality and spontaneity of the first Pride march in 1972, which I and 40 others helped organise. All we need to do is publicise it and people will turn up.

“Pride in London has become depoliticised. This Pride can change that. As well as being a joyful celebration, it should also profile LGBT+ human rights issues, such as the government stalling on a conversion therapy ban, blocking reform of the Gender Recognition Act and failing to end the detention of LGBT+ asylum seekers.

“It’s time to get back to the original roots of Pride, with everyone encouraged to bring a placard highlighting the LGBT+ issues that concern them. Let’s make this an event where our on-going demands for LGBT+ rights can be seen and heard.

So far as I’m aware it has not been possible to organise an event like this for June 2010, although the London Trans Pride is still billed to take place on June 26, beginning at 2pm at Hyde Park. Perhaps next year it will be possible to organise such a “no frills” march with “no floats, no stage and no speakers at the end. Totally open, egalitarian and grassroots.” which “would reclaim Pride for the community.”

Pride London 2016
Migrant Rights & Anti-Racist Pride