Pride at ‘being there’ in 1972

50 years on, hundreds join 'veterans' of the first march

Friday, 8th July — By Tom Foot

Peter Tatchell pride

Peter Tatchell: ‘Pride in London has become depoliticised and commercialised’

ORIGINAL Pride protesters from 50 years ago, who say the celebrations have become “depoliticised and commercialised”, led an alternative march on the day before the main event.

Hundreds joined in with the “veterans” of the first march, including activist Peter Tatchell, and held placards reading: “I was there in 1972”.

They followed the exact route from half-a-century ago, meeting at St Martin-in-the-Fields church, Trafalgar Square, on Friday. Mr Tatchell said: “Pride in London has become depoliticised and commercialised. This veterans’ march has no corporate sponsors and no police, arms manufacturers or fossil fuel companies.”

Photo: Simon Lamrock

He added: “Unlike the official Pride in London, there is no limit on the number of people allowed to march. No fees, registrations or wrist-bands.”

Mr Tatchell joined the main Pride march, saying it would not be right for the co-founders not to be there on the 50th anniversary. Tens of thousands attended the main event on Saturday enjoying the sunshine, floats and music.

Photo: Simon Lamrock

Westminster City Council has been celebrating Pride this week and councillors were out in force at both events on Saturday.

New West End ward councillor Patrick Lilley said in a promotional film how the people who set up the original event had done “a brave and wonderful thing”, adding: “I grew up in a school where I was bullied for being gay.

Photo: Simon Lamrock

“When I first heard of Pride I was actually PR for an artist called Divine. We were on a boat, he was the entertainer.

“As we approached Jubilee Gardens there was a real roar of affection. I realised the power of Pride.”

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