Final preparations are underway for this year’s Pride celebrations which will see lesbians and gay men in their thousands take part in the parade through central London and the free festival in Soho Square, Leicester Square and Trafalgar Square.
London Mayor Ken Livingstone will be among those leading the Pride parade and will be speaking from the main stage in Trafalgar Square. Mr Livingstone will also be hosting his annual reception a few days before at City Hall sponsored by Morgan Stanley.
City Hall will also be hosting a free photographic exhibition marking the 40th anniversary of the decriminalisation of homosexuality in England which is open to all Londoners and visitors.
The exhibition highlights some of the milestones in lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) history and the diversity of London’s LGBT communities, and is organised by the LGBT Staff Network at the Greater London Authority.
Speaking today Mr Livingstone said “longstanding discrimination in many parts of the world” a meant that London’s Pride parade and festival “are important.”
The Mayor said called next weekend’s event “an opportunity for the lesbian and gay community to demonstrate for full equality and to send out the message that London is one of the most gay friendly cities in the world.”
“The Greater London Authority has been at the forefront of promoting rights for lesbians, gay men, bisexuals and trans people. I am committed to ensuring that London retains its reputation as a welcoming and safe place for lesbian and gay people to live in and to visit.”
“A recent Stonewall survey indicates clear support for our policies of promoting equality and stamping out homophobia, but there is more to be done, not least to combat homophobic bullying in schools and the workplace. I will continue to work with the lesbian and gay community towards eradicating homophobia and achieving full equality.”