When Abraham Lincoln was a lawyer, he used a persuasion technique in court. What does this have to do with Gay Pride London? Bear with me! The “Abraham Lincoln Close”, as it is now called, begins by listing the cons of a case, keeping them short but appearing to give them genuine consideration. It then lists the pros: a longer and more convincing list. The lawyer may even try to seem surprised as they ‘remember’ another pro for their case!
That’s how I thought the question, ‘should I go to Gay Pride London?’, would have to be answered when I first came across it. A list of token cons would be followed by a whirlwind of incontrovertible pros, miraculously forming, one after the other. Instead, I have been left in that often wise but always boring place: uncertainty. On the plus side, I’m not only unbiased; I’m unsure. You can’t get much more objective than that!
Gay Pride London 2019: The Cons
(-) We Need To Talk About The Name!
I’m not talking about the beer “London Pride” which is the source of a lot of confusion for those researching “Pride in London”. It’s a delicious ale (see the best gastro pubs in London
, if you’re interested) but it’s the other word I’m talking about. “Gay Pride” should be a banner for freedom and inclusivity but, alas, it has become more and more divisive over time. The word “gay” insinuates it is only for homosexual men and the word “Pride” often has negative connotations
. One suggestion I have read is “Gender Honour”. Admittedly, “LGBT Pride” is often used synonymously with Gay Pride but is that enough?
(-) Where Is The Love?
The lack of inclusivity at Gay Pride day isn’t confined to the name. On the parades themselves, there is an overwhelming sense of support for homosexuals. You can easily march through an entire Gay Pride, however, without seeing a bi-sexual, pansexual, transgender, asexual, non-binary, gender fluid (and so on) person or representation of the group. Minority tribes can be left marginalized when they should be given more support than any.
(-) For Sale: Gay Pride!
Gay Pride began on June 28th, 1969 in Greenwich Village, Manhatten. When the police raided The Stonewall Inn, LGBT activists took to the streets and started rioting. Ever since, on the same day or at some point within Gay Pride month, these riots have been replaced by peaceful marches.
As time has gone by, however, their initial fight for freedom has gone. There are no laws against homosexuality in any European country yet many Gay Pride rallies. The movement has changed from cause to commodity. At New York Pride, over 500 companies including Walmart, Netflix and Disney sponsored the event in 2016 and the figures have been growing. Gay Pride London is still completely ‘owned’, with corporate sponsorships reaching about half the amount of NYC Pride. Is this once great cause a pale imitation of its former self?
(-) Don’t Objectify Me!
Gay Pride began as the reaction of individuals against the oppression they were suffering. It began as a movement of change and self-expression but it has become a movement of conformity and objective expression. Put simply, the individual has been lost, somewhere between the identical Gay Pride festival formats, running with corporate-level efficiency and regularity. Are we inadvertently empowering the objectification of freedom when, in fact, we want to support difference and subjective freedom?
(-) Will Somebody Please Think Of The Children!
This one’s simple. Perhaps we want to share some of the positive messages from London Pride 2019 with our children. The choice of clothing (or lack of) may give a lot of parents pause for thought, however. If there’s one demographic this movement should be aiming to influence, it’s children. They are the future, after all! A mixture of decent ideals and indecent exposure isn’t good enough. Is this what it means to be LGBT? Maybe it’s time Gay Pride had a rain check!
(-) Is This Gay Pride Or Straight Pride?
If you’ve ever been on a gay pride march, you’ll know there is a disproportionate sexuality ratio for what should essentially be an LGBT parade. A growing number of people there are heterosexual. At this rate, it seems they will be the vast majority. This is another sign Gay Pride London is too far removed from its original purpose. Has it just become an opportunity for straight people to show off how caring they are?
Pride Festival London: The Pros
(+) The Fight Is Not Over!
It’s easy to become complacent about how far the LGBT+ movement has come when you live in a gay-friendly community. There are still 73 countries where homosexuality is illegal, however. Acts of homosexuality are punishable by death in 10 of those countries, such as Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Qatar and countries which have adopted Sharia law. In Brunei, the death penalty is stoning.
Going to a Gay Pride march isn’t just about supporting your local community, it’s a show of solidarity to the whole world. Even in countries where laws are aligned with LGBT+ rights, the 49 murdered in a mass shooting in Orlando and opposition to LGBT education in schools in the UK are just two examples which show legislation isn’t everything!
(+) Keep Your Friends Close And Corporations Closer!
Yes, the Gay Pride flag and its vibrant colors are waving between consumer products. Corporations have got their teeth into this movement but they are not the priority. The priority is to liberate the LGBT+ community from oppression. The fight against wealth and power disparity within capitalist society is for another march, another day!
There’s a bigger reason to let go of your commercialization grievances. Both consciously and unconsciously, by attaching a pro-LGBT message to a product (they have spent millions making you trust and love), they are making a positive and influential statement. It may be one of the few assurances a child from the bible belt in the USA will get!
(+) Don’t Forget The Fun!
When you get too caught up in the debate, it’s easy to overlook one of the most obvious reasons for going to London’s Gay Pride 2019 parade: it’s fun! Unlike many demonstrations, Gay Pride has decided to confront their oppressors not with hatred and violence but with love.
You will march alongside people celebrating life, themselves and their sexuality. There is an uplifting and inspirational attitude, echoed in the floats, colours and costumes. You can also meet lots of like-minded, non-judgemental and fun-loving people. No wonder so many straight people are joining in!
(+) Express Yourself!
Self-expression, at the best of times, has always been a struggle. Even going to a festival or rave will usually not overpower the self-conscious element of human nature. The fashion industry depends on our desire to fit in to keep their coffers full. Humanity has an equal and opposite desire, however, to stand out and be different. Gay Pride creates a rare opportunity to merge these two inclinations by simply accepting (and celebrating) difference. This should be a right you enjoy your whole life. Allow yourself one day of it!
(+) Celebrate Love!
With endless negativity and (intentional or not) fearmongering in the news, it’s hard to let your defenses down. With such high exposure to fear and hatred in our lives, it’s no wonder our perception of strangers can be slanted. ‘Everyone is a murderer or a psychopath until proven innocent’: that’s no way to live! Going to a Gay Pride event is a great way to remember just how many good, caring and loving people are out there! Don’t despair. Adjust your perception and affirm your faith in people!
(+) The More The Merrier!
Why should only LGBT+ people march at Gay Pride events? Many straight people have gay friends and relations who they love - and genuinely want to share in their ‘Pride’. More than that though, it is the responsibility of everyone to stand up for what is right. This isn’t just a message of support for the LGTB+ community, it is a message of tolerance which reverberates through all society. Ostracizing straight people sends the opposite, hypocritical message!
Can it really hurt? Straight people often have nothing to personally profit from the cause, making them the perfect moral ambassadors. Furthermore, a straight person is more likely to inspire a shift in thinking in other straight people. This is a sign of success and a major asset to the cause!
Should I Stay Or Should I Go?
“Should I Stay Or Should I Go” is a song by the London punk band “The Clash”. The song was released in 1972, the same year as the first Pride in London. Clever link, huh? Back then, the question of attending Gay Pride was simply, ‘are you for or against gay rights?’. Now, the question is more like, ‘are you absolutely certain what the outcome of your attempt to support LGBT+ rights will be?’.
I don’t have a definitive answer or a crystal ball but I do have a possible solution. We can use democracy! Can we get every LGBT+ person to vote? Yes, in fact, we can. When you choose to go or to stay, you’ll be having your say. If the festival ends up with only heterosexual, cisgender attendees, we’ll have to change the name! How about just “P.R.I.D.E.” (People Rejoicing Identity Differences Everywhere)?
Go To London: Whatever The Weather
Whether you go to Pride or not, a visit to London is highly recommended. London is a progressive and inclusive city. The LGBT+ scene is thriving. Whatever your sexual orientation or gender identification, it doesn’t matter. You’ll find plenty of restaurants, bars, clubs, festivals
, activities, attractions, museums, tours, sights, sounds and unusual things to do in London
The debate continues on social media. Share your views on Facebook
. Should I stay or should I go to Gay Pride London? What do you think?
London Super Saver: Three Best Attractions Audio-Guided Tour
Pride in London 2019 Festival Information
When is Pride In London 2019?
Pride Festival London starts at 12:00 pm on Saturday, July 6th, 2019.
Where is the London Pride Parade Route 2019?
The 2019 Pride In London parade begins on Baker Street. It then goes down Oxford Street, Regent Street, Piccadilly Circus and Pall Mall, before finally reaching Trafalgar Square.
What shall I wear to London Pride 2019?
You’ll find thousands of people wearing bright, colourful and provocative outfits. Gay Pride merchandise is available online and also at parade stalls on the day. Most importantly, remember to express yourself!
Are there Pride Festival London afterparties?
Yes, there will be plenty of afterparty options to choose from. Soho is always a very popular area for Gay Pride London afterparties.