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The Gay Liberation Front will re-create the UK’s first Pride March in July

A separate march organised by Pride in London takes place on Saturday 2 July.

By Emily Maskell

Words: Emily Maskell; Pictures: provided

1 July marks exactly 50 years since the first UK Pride march was held and to honour the anniversary, Gay Liberation Front veterans will be recreating the protest on the streets of London.

Following footsteps from half a century ago, the Gay Liberation Front will trace the exact route of the 1972 march and will be joined by friends and allies alike.

Leaving the Trafalgar Square area by St. Martin-in-the-Fields at 1 pm, the march will pass Waterloo Place, Lower Regent Street, Piccadilly Circus, Shaftesbury Avenue, Charing Cross Road, and Oxford Street on its way to Marble Arch.

Post-protest, the Gay Liberation Front is hosting a Party in the Park and will be joined by UK Black Pride.

The Gay Liberation Front is not collaborating with Pride in London to host this event. Pride in London takes place on 2 July but the Gay Liberation Front says their march does not trace the original 1972 path.

A statement from 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.

“We’re Black, we’re Trans, we’re people of colour, we’re white and we’re un-abled. We invite UK Black Pride and Trans Pride, and all who can’t stand what Cameron, May, and Johnson have done to this country, to join us.”

Elsewhere in the statement, Gay Liberation Front veterans also call for the group’s historical importance to be properly recognised.

They write: “Finally, we would like the historical record corrected: the march and protest we organised on 1 July, 1972 was not the first inauguration of London Pride, Pride in London, or whichever Mayoral-supported pride organisations have emerged onto the path that GLF cleared in 1972.”

“GLF has never been beholden to corporate interest or neoliberalism’s assimilationist demands, nor have we courted the favour of politicians and charlatans. We believe in the power of the people, in accountability and that a politics of solidarity is essential to ‘pride’.”

The UK’s Gay Liberation Front, which originally operated between 1970 and 1973, was founded in the aftermath of the Stonewall Riots.

The Attitude July/August issue is out now.