What is WorldPride London?

Jun 19th, 2012 | By SueE | Category: Travel

Summary: On July 7th 2012, London will host the third WorldPride parade – a global celebration of LGBT communities and issues that welcomes everyone for a day of fun and festivities.

Every year, London hosts an annual parade called Pride, usually in June or July. I’ve been once or twice before and it’s brilliant. It brings a great carnival atmosphere to Oxford Street and Regent Street, which is closed off especially for the parade. But Pride London isn’t just a big party. It’s the biggest event in the UK’s LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) calendar. It celebrates gay rights and the LGBT community, as well as giving their friends and family a chance to show their solidarity.

2012’s event is going to be a little different. Instead of the usual Pride march, London is hosting World Pride this year on Saturday July 7th. If you’re not sure what WorldPride is, here’s a quick introduction.

The History of WorldPride

Essentially, WorldPride is similar to the usual Pride London march but celebrates LGBT issues on an international scale. It’s organised by a global organisation called InterPride, who set up the WorldPride event during an annual conference in 1997. The first WorldPride was held in 2000 in Rome, but there was a lot of controversy leading up to the march. Although WorldPride was promised funding by the city of Rome, strong opposition from some political and religious groups caused a furore in the city and put the parade’s existence in jeopardy. In the end, 250,000 people joined the march, which ended at the Coliseum and the Circus Maximus, two of Rome’s most famous attractions, and it was declared a success.

The second WorldPride was similarly beset by controversy. This event was hosted in 2006 by Jerusalem, a city which is better known for its turbulent political background but also has a lively LGBT scene. Again, the event saw objections from religious groups and had to be postponed from 2005 to 2006 as a result of the security situation in Israel at the time. Eventually, due to the lack of soldiers to provide protection to marchers, the WorldPride parade itself was cancelled, but the associated WorldPride events took place.

London’s WorldPride Parade

London will host the third WorldPride parade this year, and luckily this one doesn’t seem to have attracted the same problems. Given the popularity of Pride London – in 2010, over a million people took part – the city looks set to greet revellers from all over the world, and flights and hotels in London are being quickly booked up over that weekend.

There are two main components of WorldPride London: the parade, the details of which are still to be announced, and the ensuing celebrations in Trafalgar Square, where speakers, activists and renowned performers will appear. It sounds like a brilliant day of fun, with a festival atmosphere that fits neatly between the Jubilee celebrations in June and the Olympic festivities in August.

The next WorldPride is set to be held in Toronto in 2014 and will commemorate the 45th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, one of the most significant events in the history of gay rights.

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