Pride of London Canceled Over COVID-19 Restrictions for Second Year
Author: Alex Cooper
Pride in London has been canceled for the second year in a row due to the U.K.’s COVID-19 mitigation restrictions.
The parade — the largest LGBTQ+ event in the country — had been set to take place on Sept. 11, but organizers called the event off on Friday morning.
In a video message posted on YouTube and shared on Twitter, Chris Joell-Deshields, executive director of Pride in London, explained the reasoning behind the group’s decision to cancel the parade.
“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,” he said.
Joell-Deshields also said that during the events’ final risk assessments organizers couldn’t adhere to all the government restrictions and have a successful pride parade. “The team and I agree public health and well-being is our top priority,” he said.
The potential solution, which the organizers rejected, would have limited the event to several stages around the city.
“No parade, no protest, means no Pride. We cannot waiver from that commitment to you, our community,” Joell-Deshields said.
He and the organizers also said they would quickly begin working on next year’s parade. They asked the U.K. government to declare 2022 as a “Year of Queer” to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the first London parade.
“While our 2021 event may not be going ahead, Pride in London volunteers will not stop working to reinforce our engagement with LGBT+ communities to achieve our committed objectives towards diversity and inclusion and the elevation of issues that matter to us all,” Joell-Deshields said, citing funding raised for several LGBTQ+ rights organizations.
Ending the message Joell-Deshields asked supports to visit queer-owned venues and support LGBTQ+ artists and performers.
“See you all soon and thanks again for your support.”
On Twitter, Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan wrote, “Such a shame that we won’t be able to get together on the streets for [Pride of London] next month. It really is a highlight of London’s year, but the safety of our communities is paramount.”
“Hopefully we’ll be able to unite in solidarity and celebration in 2022,” he added.
Pride of London usually sees a massive crowd, according to the BBC. In 2019, the estimated number of participants was over 1.5 million.
Original Article on The Advocate
Author: Alex Cooper