In 2012 there’s more to London than Big Ben and Buckingham Palace; London is also playing host to the world’s biggest celebration of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) pride.
It’s all going on in London this year. Not only is the Queen celebrating 60 years on the throne, and not only are the world’s best athletes arriving to compete for Olympic Gold; London has also beat off the competition to play host to the World Pride festival.
World Pride is the biggest celebration of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) pride. The festival not only celebrates individuality, but also highlights issues facing LGBT people around the world. It’s not just any old pride parade either. Launched in 2000, World Pride only comes around once every six years. London is the third city to host World Pride, following on from Jerusalem in 2006 and Rome in 2000.
The next parade will be in Toronto in 2014 to commemorate the 45th anniversary of the Stonewall riots, and from then it will take place once every five years. The celebration will last for two weeks during July, with the main parade taking place on July 7th. Millions of visitors are expected to flock to London for the event, so you’d better start looking for cheap hotels in London pronto if you want to come too. Basically, it’s a pretty big deal.
Did you know that over 70 countries still treat same sex relationships as a crime? Think about that. Think about being sentenced to prison, or even death, based on who you love. It’s not right. Did you know that the suicide rate amongst LGBT teenagers is comparatively higher? Imagine being so frightened by society that you try to take your own life. Almost 40% of LGB youth have been in that situation. Again, it’s not right.
World Pride aims to raise awareness of these issues, and other issues facing LGBT people across the world. To put pressure on governments to decriminalise homosexuality, and to give frightened teenagers the courage that they need to pursue the life they want. The main goal of the event is to show the world that the LGBT community are here and aren’t going anywhere.
It’s not all serious business, however. World Pride is a great place to enjoy your weekend breaks, taking in the parade or joining the Gala dinner and conference. If you want to go that little bit further, it’s easy to get involved as a volunteer. World Pride is run by volunteers, and a wide range of skills are needed: everything from events management to simply handing out flyers.
Volunteers are rewarded with a Pride Privilege card, full of great deals from the sponsors. This is Pride’s way of saying thank you. If you’re interested, head over to Pride London.