Pride in London - live: Dame Kelly Holmes and Emily Sandé join capital’s biggest march

·15 min read

Olympian Dame Kelly Holmes and singer Emeli Sandé are among those attending the 50th anniversary of the UK’s first Pride parade.

The athlete and songstress, both of whom recently came out publicly as gay, shared their excitement at being part of what the London Mayor’s office described as the biggest Pride in the capital ever.

Pride in London returned to the capital for the first time since 2019, celebrating 50 years since the very first march took place in 1972.

More than one million people attended the parade which began at 12pm today.

Those marching today will called on the UK government to ban conversion therapy for all LGBT+ people, reform the Gender Recognition Act, and provide equal protection for LGBT+ communities against hate crime.

They also campaigned for an end to “hostile environment towards minority migrants”, and for the establishment of a national Aids memorial to remember those who died during the HIV and Aids epidemic.

The Independent is the official publishing partner of Pride in London 2022.

Key Points

  • What is Pride in London’s march route?

  • What is the history of Pride in London?

  • In pictures: Pride marchers prepare for parade

  • Keir Starmer and Angela Rayner march at Pride in London

  • Dame Kelly Holmes and Emily Sandé at London’s Pride parade

Dame Kelly Holmes and Emily Sandé at London’s Pride parade

18:23 , Maryam Zakir-Hussain

Olympian Dame Kelly Holmes and singer Emeli Sande are among those attending the 50th anniversary of the UK’s first Pride parade.

The athlete and songstress, both of whom recently came out publicly as gay, shared their excitement at being part of what the London Mayor’s office described as the biggest Pride in the capital ever.

Sande, who is among those on the entertainment bill, posted a story on her Instagram which showed her and her partner, classical pianist Yoana Karemova, on their way to soundcheck, and later in Trafalgar Square, where preparations were under way for the day’s musical extravaganza.

Sande previously said she was driven to come out publicly by an urge to be “bold and honest” in everything she does, and that while she had been “nervous” about the decision, she also wanted to “shout from the rooftops and celebrate” their relationship.

Dame Kelly posted an image of herself online wearing a long multicoloured outfit featuring a Pride flag with the hashtag “being me” - a nod to an ITV documentary she appeared in to tell her story.

Fans of Courtney Act starstruck by her presence at Pride in London

17:14 , Kate Ng

Australian drag queen Courtney Act, who competed on the sixth season of RuPaul’s Drag Race, is at Pride in London today.

Drag queen Courtney Act attends the 2022 Pride Parade in London (REUTERS)
Drag queen Courtney Act attends the 2022 Pride Parade in London (REUTERS)

Unable to contain their excitement, fans took to Twitter to document seeing the drag star on the Trafalgar Stage.

WATCH: Heartstopper cast members confront anti-LGBT protesters at Pride in London

17:00 , Kate Ng

Marchers from the first Pride in London in 1972 take to the streets again

16:40 , Kate Ng

A group of people who marched in the first Pride in London in 1972 have marched once again today.

The protesters held up placards that read: “I was there in 1972. Still fighting for global LGBT+ freedom.”

A video posted by Pride in London also showed them chanting: “We’re here. We’re queer. We won’t disappear.”

Alison Hammond and Philip Schofield attend Pride in London

16:25 , Kate Ng

ITV presenters Alison Hammon and Philip Schofield are showing their support for LGBT+ communities as they attend Pride in London.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Schofield, 60, came out as gay in 2020. Prior to coming out, he had been married to his wife Stephanie Lowe for 27 years, with whom he shares two adult daughters.

He posted more photographs from the parade on his Instagram Stories, including one with his ITV team. He wrote: “Happy Pride gorgeous team.”

Heartstopper stars give middle finger to homophobic protesters at Pride in London

16:05 , Kate Ng

The stars of Heartstopper were seen dancing and giving the middle finger to homophobic protesters at the Pride in London march.

In a clip that went viral on social media, the parade was seen coming into contact with homophobic protesters.

My colleague Isobel Lewis has the full story:

Heartstopper stars give middle finger to homophobic protesters at Pride in London

The Independent’s Pride marchers meet Keir Starmer and Angela Rayner

15:55 , Kate Ng

Some of The Independent’s team who are marching at Pride in London have met with Keir Starmer and Angela Rayner.

See the friendly meeting below:

The best outfits at Pride in London 2022

15:45 , Kate Ng

Pride in London always brings the goods when it comes to LGBT+ fashion.

This year, as the parade returns in full force for the first time since the pandemic, attendees have gone all out with their multi-coloured, expressive outfits.

We round up just some of the best Pride outfits and costumes we’ve seen so far:

 (REUTERS)
(REUTERS)
 (PA)
(PA)
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(PA)
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(Getty Images)
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(REUTERS)
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(Getty Images)

WATCH: Keir Starmer and Angela Rayner march at Pride in London

15:30 , Kate Ng

Keir Starmer and Angela Rayner march at Pride in London

15:17 , Kate Ng

The leader and deputy leader of the Labour Party are marching side by side at Pride in London.

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Sir Keir Starmer and Angela Rayner walked with members of the LGBT+ community through the streets of Soho.

Starmer wore a black T-shirt with the words “We make Camden PROUD” as he marched, while Rayner wore a rainbow flag tied around her shoulders.

Dame Kelly Holmes attends Pride in London after coming out this year

15:00 , Kate Ng

Dame Kelly Holmes is at this year’s Pride in London.

The Olympic champion came out as gay in June at the age of 52, telling the Sunday Mirror she first realised she was gay as a 17-year-old.

But she stayed silent out of fear of being court marshalled when same-sex relationships were banned in the forces.

She posted a photograph of herself dressed in a brightly-coloured outfit on Instagram and wrote in the caption: “Let’s do this. Pride in London here I come!”

Dame Kelly added the hashtag #beingme to her post.

Revellers soak up the atmosphere

14:45 , Matt Mathers

More than a million people are set to gather in London today for the 50th anniversary of Pride.

The pride event took place on 1 July 1972 in the capital and was a carnival parade of protest against the inequalities suffered by LGBTQ+ people at the time.

Here, crowds line the streets around Picadilly Circus to celebrate.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

This is what it was like to march at the very first Pride

14:30 , Kate Ng

As Pride in London celebrates 50 years since the very first march in 1972, Peter Tatchell writes about what it was like to be there.

Read about his experience below:

Peter Tatchell: What it was like to march at the first UK Pride | Peter Tatchell

‘We’re here, we’re queer, and we’re not going shopping’

14:15 , Kate Ng

Padraigin Ni Raghillig, president of Dykes on Bikes London, a motorcycle club for gay women, rode her Harley Davidson at the front of the Pride parade.

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(Getty Images)

She told the PA news agency that it felt “fantastic” to be back after lockdown and that it was important the community came out together at least once a year.

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

She said: “I think there’s often a lot of debate about commercialism and it not being a protest any more, but I think there’s still an element of protest and, obviously, celebration, and as we move forward and become more visible and have more rights and equality, potentially it’s still important, I think, to at least once a year to be out and about, and to say ‘we’re here, we’re queer, and we’re not going shopping’.

“I think there’s still homophobia, I think it’s, as with lots of things when they become more prominent, the negative side of things are pushed more underground.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

“I think homophobia used to be more overt and I think it’s probably quite subservience now, and so that is why it’s really important that we’re out here and that we’re saying ‘we’re here’, and we continue to thrive as a community.”

How was the annual Pride event founded?

14:00 , Kate Ng

The LGBT+ community comes together across the world every June to celebrate Pride Month, and for many, it culminates in Pride parades.

While events actually take place throughout the summer, June was chosen to remember the Stonewall Riots that broke out in Greenwich Village, New York City, on 28 June 1969 after police raided one of the city’s most popular gay clubs, prompting the regulars to fight back courageously in protest.

Learn all about how the event came to be and what events are taking place across the UK:

Everything you need to know about Pride 2022

First gay Married At First Sight UK couple to march at Pride in London

13:45 , Kate Ng

The first gay couple on hit reality series Married At First Sight UK will march at the Pride in London parade to raise awareness for prostate cancer.

Matthew Jameson and Daniel McKee became the first gay couple to take part on the Channel 4 show in 2021.

Find out more about their campaign:

First gay Married At First Sight UK couple to march at Pride in London

What is the theme for Pride in London 2022?

13:35 , Kate Ng

Pride in London is celebrating 50 years since the first march took place in the capital in 1972.

In collaboration with WPP, an organisation that campaigns for LGBT+ inclusion in the workplace, #AllOurPride is a commemoration of key historic events which have improved diversity across the UK over the last five decades.

Saman Javed explains what the theme means:

What is the theme of this year’s Pride?

Cast of Heartstopper spotted at Pride in London

13:25 , Kate Ng

The cast of Netflix teenage comedy-drama Heartstopper have been photographed taking part in the Pride in London parade.

The cast of Heartstopper (L-R) Kit Connor, Joe Locke, Tobie Donovan and Sebastian Croft attend Pride in London (Getty Images)
The cast of Heartstopper (L-R) Kit Connor, Joe Locke, Tobie Donovan and Sebastian Croft attend Pride in London (Getty Images)

The popular show’s stars, Joe Locke, Kit Connor, Tobie Donovan, Sebastian Croft, Kizzy Edgell, and Corinna Brown took pictures while smiling and sitting on one another’s backs, draped in LGBT+ flags.

The cast of Heartstopper (L-R) Joe Locke, Jenny Walser, Kit Connor, Sebastian Croft, Tobie Donovan, Corinna Brown and Kizzy Edgell attend Pride in London 2022 (Getty Images)
The cast of Heartstopper (L-R) Joe Locke, Jenny Walser, Kit Connor, Sebastian Croft, Tobie Donovan, Corinna Brown and Kizzy Edgell attend Pride in London 2022 (Getty Images)

Heartstopper is a British coming-of-age series that follows a budding romance between Charlie Spring (Joe Locke) and Nick Nelson (Kit Connor), as they navigate coming out in high school.

Joe Locke attends Pride in London 2022 (Getty Images)
Joe Locke attends Pride in London 2022 (Getty Images)

The Independent’s Voices team attends Pride in London

13:05 , Kate Ng

The Independent’s very own Voices team is at Pride in London.

Victoria Richards and Harriet Williamson are marching alongside other LGBT+ campaigners and activists, waving The Independent’s Pride flags as well as the Ukraine flag.

Say hi if you see them!

Crowds gather as Pride gets underway

12:43 , Kate Ng

Thousands of people have gathered in central London to show their support for LGBT+ people and watch the Pride in London parade as it gets underway.

Many have arrived decked out in rainbow-coloured clothing, accessories, hair colours and more, waving flags and cheering as marchers go past.

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(PA)
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(Getty Images)
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(PA)

Sadiq Khan attends Pride in London

12:00 , Kate Ng

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has made an appearance at Pride in London, ahead of the parade.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan speaking to the media before the Pride in London parade (PA)
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan speaking to the media before the Pride in London parade (PA)

He said: “We’re back after the last two and a half years or so. This year is the 50th anniversary of Pride, celebrating this community, celebrating the progress made, but also continuing to campaign and never be complacent.

“We saw this time last week an attack in Oslo just hours before that parade, where two people lost their lives and more than 20 were injured.

“So, we’ve got to be conscious of the fact that there’s still a danger to this community of discrimination, bias and violence. But allies like me are really important to support this community.”

“I’m quite clear, we’re marching today for an open, inclusive accepting world. We’re marching today for those in Oslo, for those who haven’t made the progress we’ve made.

“We’re also marching today for love. I’m quite clear, here in this great city we should be a beacon of inclusiveness, of openness, but also a place where you can be free to be who you want to be and free to love who you want to love.”

Khan added that the Metropolitan Police have been “sensitive” over concerns about uniformed officers taking part in the parade.

“I think it’s really important that anybody who’s from the LGBT community should be able to take part in this parade,” he said.

“Clearly, the community does have concerns around policing, we saw with the Stephen Port investigation the concerns that arose from the inquest and from the families of the four men who lost their lives.

“I think the police have been sensitive to the issues raised by the community and there will be uniformed officers in and around Pride to make sure we’re all safe, to make sure this parade is a success.

“But, clearly, those taking part in the parade from the police service won’t be wearing the uniforms.”

Angela Rayner: ‘Pride is a protest but the story is love'

11:55 , Kate Ng

Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner has tweeted her support for Pride in London.

She posted a photograph of herself at a previous Pride parade, and said she is “looking forward” to this year’s event.

‘Being gay is a glitter’

11:50 , Kate Ng

Mohammed Nazir, 24, from Bangladesh, who is with campaign group Rainbows Across Borders, said he wanted to dedicate this year’s pride to those forced to still hide their sexuality.

 (PA)
(PA)

He told the PA news agency: “Pride is about self-affirmation, dignity and equality. It is a way to meet some other LGBTQ people. Pride is a movement where we’re still fighting for our rights.”

He added: “It’s all of the people’s hard work and dedication that we are now not scared to express our true identity, but still there are so many countries where people are not able to express their true identity because of the country’s law, because of the government’s rule, or because of the cultures and disbelief.

“So, this Pride I would like to dedicate to those people who are still hiding their sexuality and I would like to send them a message that we didn’t choose to be gay, this is how we were born, and we should pride ourselves because being gay is a glitter, and if you hide your sexuality day by day you feel stress and you always feel a lack of confidence and lots of mental issues, and when you come out it will help you ... be who you are.”

Berlin mosque becomes ‘first’ in Germany to fly rainbow flag for Pride

11:40 , Kate Ng

A mosque in Berlin has said that it is the first German mosque to fly the rainbow flag in support of LGBT+ communities, as Pride begins.

The Ibn Rushd-Goethe mosque, which claims to be the only “liberal” mosque in the country, unfurled the symbolic flag in front of a small audience on Friday (1 July).

Berlin’s culture senator Klaus Lederer and state chairman Kai Wegner were present for the ceremony, where attendees wore badges with the slogan: “Love is halal.”

Berlin mosque becomes ‘first’ in Germany to fly rainbow flag for Pride

In pictures: Pride marchers prepare for parade

11:30 , Kate Ng

The Pride in London parade will begin at 12pm, and many marchers are getting ready for the day of celebration, protest and solidarity ahead.

See photographs of volunteers and activists preparing to let their rainbow flags fly:

Veteran gay rights activists address the gathering during an event to mark fifty years since the first UK Pride March (Getty Images)
Veteran gay rights activists address the gathering during an event to mark fifty years since the first UK Pride March (Getty Images)
Gay rights activist Lanah P poses for a photo (Getty Images)
Gay rights activist Lanah P poses for a photo (Getty Images)
A gay rights activist attaches a new badge (Getty Images)
A gay rights activist attaches a new badge (Getty Images)
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(PA)
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(Getty Images)

Celebrity Gogglebox stars in tears watching Big Boys coming out scene for Pride special

10:35 , Kate Ng

The stars of Celebrity Gogglebox were left in tears after watching the coming out scene from Big Boys.

Friday (1 July) night’s episode of the Channel 4 series was a Pride special and saw a group of LGBTQ+ celebrities and their loved ones tune into the week’s biggest shows.

Our Culture Reporter Isobel Lewis has the story:

Celebrity Gogglebox stars in tears watching emotional Big Boys coming out scene

Over a million expected in London for first Pride march since pandemic began

10:20 , Kate Ng

More than a million people are expected to descend on the capital for Pride in London on Saturday.

It will be the first time the event has been held since the outbreak of the pandemic and is the 50th anniversary of the UK’s first ever Pride parade.

The event, which organisers are calling the “biggest and most inclusive event in history”, will also feature a line-up of artists performing across four stages around Central London.

Over a million expected in London for first Pride march since pandemic began

What is the history of Pride in London?

09:57 , Kate Ng

As Pride in London celebrates 50 years since the very first march was held in 1972, Sabrina Barr takes a look back at how the event has evolved over the years.

What is the history of the Pride in London parade?

What is Pride in London’s march route?

09:49 , Kate Ng

Planning to join or watch the Pride in London march today? Here’s everything you need to know:

What is the London Pride march route and what time does it start?

09:41 , Kate Ng

Good morning, and Happy Pride Day! Welcome to The Independent’s live coverage of all things Pride today.