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Nine awesome and alternative ways to celebrate Pride in London

Written by
Katie McCabe

There are a million ways to be LGBT+, so celebrate Pride your way at one of these fringe events...

1. Duckie DeCrim

Get dirty in an alleyway with legendary cabaret night Duckie as they celebrate 50 years of ‘Decrim’ (-inalisation of ‘homosexual acts’) by turning the Royal Vauxhall Tavern into a banging 1960s gay block party. Our own Night Czar Amy Lamé, who’s hosting, is calling all ‘omi-polones and butches’ and more to come to a night of vintage bona backstreet drag performances from Legs ’67, johnsmith, FKA and a DJ set from two Duckie vanguards, the ‘mardy sex threat’ duo Readers Wifes. Royal Vauxhall Tavern. Vauxhall. Sat Jul 8, 9pm-3am. £10.

2. Dalston Superstore Gallery Presents: Queer Space

With its collection of ‘queer ephemera, archives and artefacts’ spanning a century, this evolving exhibition seeks out another side of LGBT+ history. The curators have dug through the archives of the queer 1930s Caravan Club, the 1980s punk-squatter lesbians known as the ‘Rebel Dykes’ and the vestiges of 1990s all-nighter club Trade to turn Dalston Superstore into a vibrant museum of queerness. Look out for talks, fundraisers and live shows at Queer Space throughout its run. Dalston Superstore. Dalston Kingsland Overground. Thu Jul 6-mid-Sep. Free.

3. BUTCH Pride!

Wear what you want (even if it’s just your heart on your sleeve) at this ‘Butch, Please!’ celebration for all degrees of butch and femme. Held at Haggerston’s The Glory, this fully inclusive LGBT+ night for lesbians and their friends of all genders will pack in power-femme burlesque from Rubyyy Jones, drag king lip synching from Gusher (above), DJ sets and a ‘future pride’ graffiti wall. The Glory. Haggerston Overground. Sat Jul 8, 8pm-3am. £8.

4. Southwark LGBT Pride

Centred around the community-owned Ivy House pub in Nunhead, this is a part-crowdfunded branch of Pride London with a refreshing mix of events. They’ll be showing historic LGBT+ documentary shorts for free, and on Thursday July 6 you can step out for a good time at ‘A Cabaret of Earthy Delights’ Russian LGBT Federation fundraiser, at £10 a ticket. Then cool off at a trans and gender-nonconforming swimming session in the Glass Mill Leisure Centre in Lewisham on Friday July 7, for £3.65. The Ivy House. Nunhead rail. Until Sun Jul 9. 

5. The Official Pride in London Ladies After-Party

Once you’ve re-glittered after the parade, run to the glitzy-as Trading House pub to watch a fierce line-up of female DJs take the reins of this post-Pride in London party. Sweat to ‘female trap’ and hip hop from Rocket, bangers from Bae2Bae and roll out on a closing set of deep and percussive techno from Sami Kubu. The Trading House. Bank. Sat Jul 8, 9.30pm-3am. £15.

6. Naked Boys Reading: Between

Not feeling the heaving crowds? How about an erudite reading with a healthy side of dong? Watch Adonises disrobe as they serenade you with hard literature during a three-course brunch. These bold performers will be reciting from the pages of ‘The Da Vinci Chode’ and ‘The Scarlet Pecker’ (just kidding, the boys have not revealed what they’ll be reading, but there will be eggs benedict). Ace Hotel. Shoreditch High St Overground. Sat Jul 8, noon. £35.

7. Belonging

How have the lives of queer people changed in the 50 years since the decriminalisation of homosexuality under The Sexual Offences Act? Has increased LGBT+ visibility really minimised prejudice? ‘Belonging’ will try to find the answers in a ‘loose-tongued version of “Question Time” with writer and stand up comic Shon Faye, performance artist Travis Alabanza, UK Black Pride co-founder Phyll Opoku-Gyimah and Black Girls Picnic organiser Chardine Taylor Stone, all chaired by the host with the most, Scottee. Chats Palace Arts Centre. Homerton Overground. Fri Jul 7. £8-£12.

8. UK Black Pride

Celebrate LGBT+ diversity at this festival of music, dance and comedy from Africa, Asia and the Caribbean. With a message of pride, politics and inclusion at its core, there will also be food, drink and fundraising for the families of Grenfell Tower fire. This year’s invited speakers are Jeremy Corbyn, Diane Abbott and London Mayor Sadiq Khan. Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens. Vauxhall. Sun Jul 9, noon-9pm. Free.

9. Penguin Pride at Proud

Sadly this is not an awareness evening for gay penguins but a multi-arts night by the publishers. There will be readings from authors Matthew Todd and Paul Flynn, and a headline performance from Bloc Party’s Kele Okereke. Check out the Stonewall-curated photography exhibition between shows and browse LGBT+ reading material at the pop-up bookshop. Proud Camden. Chalk Farm. Wed Jul 5, 7.30pm-11pm. £15-£20.

Heading to the Pride in London parade for the first time? Get clued in with our beginner's guide

Want more Pride action? Here's everything you need to know

Main image: Kele Okereke photographed by Rachael Wright

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