“Extremely challenging” government guidelines made the event impossible, say organisers

BY DIVA STAFF, IMAGE BY A FOXLEY-JOHNSON

Pride In London has been cancelled for a second year, with organisers citing government guidelines around Covid-19. 

The event, which usually takes place in June, had been pushed back to 11 September, but will now not go ahead at all. 

In a video statement, PIL’s executive director Christopher Joell-Deshields said: “I’m truly saddened to say that Pride in London won’t be happening in person this year. 

“Last week was extremely challenging navigating the government’s recently updated Covid-19 guidelines and legislation for large-scale public events like ours. It became clear when working through final risk assessments that our event could not provide the level of mitigation expected from the local public health team and the government.

“It would have meant losing the crucial parade and reducing the event to just two or three stages scattered across central London with limited tickets. This goes against everything we want Pride in London to be or that we have been so far.

“No parade, no protest, means no Pride. We cannot waiver from that commitment to you, our community.”

But activist Peter Tatchell criticised what he called a “phoney excuse”. Responding to the news, he said: “Pride organisers say the parade was cancelled because it could not conform to government and public health pandemic requirements. This is implausible.

“The Reclaim London Pride march was attended by thousands of mask-wearing people on 24 July, with no objection from the government, health authorities or police. The event was compliant with all pandemic rules and recommendations. 

“I suspect the real reason for the cancellation is that big sponsors like Barclays and Tesco have reportedly pulled out, in the wake of damaging allegations of racism and bullying within the Pride organisation. A number of LGBT+ organisations have also apparently withdrawn their support.

“Pride has strayed far from the roots of the event. It’s corporate and depoliticised. The organisers no longer profile LGBT+ human rights issues.”

Tatchell added: “I thank Pride in London volunteers for their work but believe a major rethink is needed. We have to get back to what Pride was originally about.”

Pride In London organisers say they are now “planning the return to the streets of London in 2022 with our most inclusive and queerest event yet”. 

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