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In pictures: these archive photos show the history of Pride in London

By Alice French

When Pride in London first started 45 years ago, it was a giant protest against anti-homosexual laws in the UK. The first official UK Gay Pride Rally took place in London on July 1 1972 – that date was chosen because it was the nearest Saturday to the anniversary of the Stonewall riots of 1969, which kickstarted the gay liberation movement in America.

Protesters’ banners at the first London Pride said things like ‘Campaign for Homosexual Equality’. The struggle to be represented in the community is where it all began.

Fast-forward 45 years and Pride is a celebration of the huge range of diversity that defines our city – and it just keeps getting bigger. This year’s event is particularly important as it marks 50 years since the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality in the UK.

The Bishopsgate Institute has programmed new archive tours of its extensive LGBT+ collections, a talk about queer London by Matt Cook, professor of modern history at Birkbeck University of London, and a new panel display highlighting its collections – all to celebrate the passing of the Sexual Offences Act in 1967. Find out more here.

TfL and the Mayor of London have also got involved, with the #loveislove campaign turning tube stations and bus stops rainbow-coloured, while the Love Lived Here campaign has given the blue plaques of LGBT+ historic figures a multi-hued lick of paint too. 

Head down to the Pride in London Parade this Saturday (July 8) to be part of an incredible event. 

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