A week before the event organisers revealed that all floats would be cancelled and replaced with a walking procession whilst the street parties that traditionally take place in Soho would be called-off due to financial difficulties.
The result was a significantly scaled down Pride, with both wet weather and the absence of music later in the evening, dampening the spirits of many revellers hoping for a more befitting tribute to Prides 40th anniversary.
Whilst a few claimed the simplicity of this years event harked back to a time of grass roots activism, most voiced the need for London Pride to have a greater governance in the future, having missed a rare opportunity to showcase the beautiful city on a global scale.
As with previous Prides some also questioned the continuing absence of black gay men in the parade itself, raising another significant issue of race and the gay community. The presence of black MSM (men who have sex with men) remains essential as Black MSM remain one group disproportionately affected by HIV and STI’s in part due to the stigma and secrecy surrounding their sexuality. Perhaps a stronger black MSM presence at future Prides might go some way to helping black MSM and LGBTI come to terms with their sexuality and combat the “culture of silence” that impedes London’s black community.
It has long been said that the gay civil rights movement is divided into two fractions; gay men who fight for the right to be different and those who seek liberation through equality i.e. those who wish to push the cause forward not by celebrating their “diversity” but by alleging their equality to straight men and women. Politically Pride can divide opinion amongst gay men about how best to celebrate their sexuality, however Pride remains a massive achievement and testament to the growing acceptance of homosexuality in the wider community, whether the celebrations are extravagant and strident or significantly scaled down.