Pride team marches with UKPON at Pride in London

On 1st July, a group from Portsmouth Pride attended Pride in London and marched in the 30,000 strong parade with other members of the UK Pride Organisers Network.

We joined and marched alongside volunteers and representatives from regional Prides in Reading, Weston, Cambridge, Newbury, Oxford and the Outing Festival In Ireland. 

Although the parade was interrupted by Just Stop Oil protests, we were unaware of this until we caught up on the news later in the day. We did, however, witness police removing religious protestors from the event - to cheers and applause from the crowds.

The team assembled at London Waterloo having travelled up by train (wristbands, banners and bubbles in tow). There was time for a quick visit to Mister Samo's artwork in Fat Face, before we grabbed a quick breakfast and rainbowed our nails and faces. There were free Pride rainbow flags, paint sticks and stickers available in Waterloo station which was handy.

Having refreshed and caffeinated, we caught the tube to Green Park and walked to Hyde Park Corner. There were already signs to Pride in London, and excitement was building ahead of the parade. At Hyde Park Corner, we met up with Lee and Jay Jay from UK Pride Organisers Network (UKPON), as well as representatives from other regional Prides. We collected our Pride in London parade wristbands (in trans flag colours) and assembled our flags and banner, while celeb spotting. There was excitement when we spotted the Netflix Heartstoppers float (to the disappointment of my teen, I didn't manage to see any of the stars). We did get photos with Bimini Bon Boulash, and Jade Thirlwall from Little Mix - both of whom were marching with Stonewall. 

Chantale (our official photographer, from Goble photography), Alix and I carried Queer All Year’s banner bearing the slogan: No LGB without the T! It was almost the full width of the road so very visible, and got a fantastic (uproarious) response from the crowd. CP (our Vice Chair, who also co-ordinates our main day parade) carried the extraordinarily tall flag pole bearing a trans flag with the Portsmouth Pride logo, and a progress Pride flag. Sam (our Marketing and Communications Manager) did a brilliant job interacting with the crowd, handing out wristbands, and taking photos.

The parade route was around 3km long, and took us from Hyde Park Corner, through Piccadilly Circus, down Haymarket and Pall Mall to Trafalgar Square, ending in Whitehall Place. It was a warm day with a slight breeze (perfect for marching) and the cheers from the crowds were uplifting and energising. It was fantastic to see so many out on the streets of London  to watch and cheer (news accounts suggest up to 1 million people), and a wide range of flags being waved and worn, whole families with all age ranges represented - even a few dogs!

At the end of the parade - wristbands all given out, songs sung, flags waved, and feet tired - we had a quick drink and team photo then recorded our thoughts. It was a fantastic day, really memorable, and an absolute honour to bring a trans+ inclusive message of love and solidarity.

CP (he/him): we're here today at Pride in London with the rest of the UK Pride Organisers Network as well as members from the European Pride Organisers Association, to represent for Prides all across Europe here at one of the biggest in Europe.

Chantale (she/her): I've been with Portsmouth Pride since 2018 and it's grown so much that we've now been invited to come and march with Pride in London and represent Portsmouth that way. Amazing energy, had a really great day and it's amazing to see such a big community that we're part of.

Sam (he/him): I've had a fantastic experience here today. It was really exciting to talk to other members of the UK Pride Organisers Network about Portsmouth Pride's bid to host UK Pride in 2025 so fingers crossed we get that and really celebrate that as a community.

By Abi (She/Her)

Volunteer Copywriter, Portsmouth Pride

Photos by Sam Poole (He/Him)

Volunteer Marketing and Communications Manager, Portsmouth Pride