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Royal Mail unveils LGBTQ stamps celebrating 50 years of Pride

The eight stamps capture the evolution of Pride and mark 50 years since the UK’s first Pride rally.

2022-06-24

Words: Emily Maskell; Pictures: The Royal Mail

The Royal Mail has put its stamp on Pride this year by releasing images of a series of eight stamps commemorating the very first Pride march in the UK, which took place 50 years ago. 

The stamps, which will be released exactly 50 years on from the Gay Liberation Front's historic rally on 1 July 1972 were designed by artist Sofie Birkin and their creation involved consultations with Royal Mail’s internal LGBT & Friends Network.

The vibrant stamps feature images of the march that include the slogans “love always wins” and “glad to be gay.”

The theme ‘A March Through Time’ sees the colourful stamps illustrate Pride through the decades, from 1972 to the present day.

Birkin said that as a queer, Essex-born artist it was very meaningful to “represent 50 years of my own community fighting for, protecting and celebrating our right to exist and be seen, especially through an institution as storied as the Royal Mail.”

Alongside the Pride stamps, stamp designers NB Studio and animation company Animade brought the illustrated Pride stamp collection to life with a hand-drawn film featuring the illustrations.

Alan Dye, the owner of NB Studio, described participation in the project as a "real honour," adding that the stamp series "represent such an important part of British LGBTQ+ history."

 
 
 
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David Gold, Royal Mail’s director of external affairs and policy, said: “The vibrant, colourful Pride events that take place in towns and cities across the UK today trace their origins to a small number of people who marched through central London half a century ago to raise awareness of discrimination and inequality.”

“There have been huge changes in laws and social attitudes, but Pride events continue to play a key role in raising awareness of discrimination, as well as celebrating diversity and individualism,” he continued.

The Gay Liberation Front's 1972 Pride rally, which marched from Trafalgar Square to Hyde Park, is being recreated this year by the group.

A statement from the Gay Liberation Front Veterans reads: “If you can, come and join us on Friday, 1 July, the actual 50th commemoration to the very day of the first London Pride march.

“Those of us who were at – and who helped organise – the first Pride demonstration will be joined by many of our new friends and volunteers that we have made over the years.”

The Royal Mail Pride stamps are available to pre-order from 23 June and go on general sale on 1 July at The Royal Mail shop.

The Attitude July/August issue is out now.