Travel blog: Pride in London Parade 2017

By Zandra Shafer
The Carolinian

USC Upstate student, Zandra Shafer is taking an independent studies course in travel writing with Jimm Cox and a Museum and Galleries course at Kingston University in London. Shafer documented her experiences to share with The Carolinian.

Imagine being surrounded by people covered in glitter, waving rainbow flags, dancing, drinking and laughing. If this sounds like your cup of tea, London’s Pride parade and adjoining festivities are definitely something to experience. Cities all over the world hold annual parades and festivals celebrating love and equality for the LGBT+ community, but nothing compares to Pride festivities in London.

It is an absolutely massive operation that completely takes over Central London, and is publicly supported by the mayor. Several major London landmarks are lit up with rainbow lights, including the London Eye and even Parliament. The street lights in Trafalgar Square light up with either two male symbols, two female symbols, or one of each when they turn green, symbolizing complete inclusivity.

This year’s parade was the largest to date, with over 450 groups marching, thousands of people representing a vast array of differing sexual and gender identities. This is a huge growth from the very first UK Gay Pride Rally, held in London in November 1970, which had just 150 men march. The parade is only continuing to grow.

Apart from the parade, there are free performances, a political rally, tons of celebrating in night clubs and bars, and many theatres presenting plays with LGBT+ themes. Tate Britain, a popular modern art gallery, is displaying its first exhibition dedicated solely to queer British Art ranging from 1861 to 1967 which will run through the first of October.

Clare Barlow, the curator of the exhibition, explained that they decided on the term queer to encompass the works due to modern terminologies not adequately representing sexual identities of the past. She said, “no other option captured the full diversity of sexualities and gender identities represented in the show.” Dora Carrington, Duncan Grant, David Hockney, and John Singer Sargent are a few of the artists featured in an exhibition that includes several different mediums.

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Zandra Shafer is a writer for The Carolinian. Email Zandra with questions and comments.