London's Pride veterans remember first rally

STORY: These LGBT+ campaigners marched in London's first-ever Pride rally

some 50 years ago

(Roz Kaveney, Participant of 1972 Pride March) “It was about not letting anyone tell you who you are, or what you should do. It was about autonomy. It was about freedom, and it was about joy.”

The march was organized by the Gay Liberation Front (GLF)

on July 1, 1972

Activists marched from London's Trafalgar Square to Hyde Park

to protest against discrimination and fight for acceptance

(Nettie Pollard, Participant of 1972 Pride March) “Coming out, being something completely new. The idea that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people shouldn't hide themselves but should actually be open about themselves.”

(Eric Ollerenshaw, Participant of 1972 Pride March) “As a 22 year old just left for university, just over 12 months after I came out, attended GLF meetings at LSE when I was a student. And then I don't know how I had the courage to get involved in a march, but you felt you were part of something, and with all the other people involved, it was a really great atmosphere. And we marched up Charing Cross Road, we marched on Oxford Street and ended up at speaker's corner, heavily guarded by the police who looked, they weren't rude, but they looked distinctly uncomfortable."

Homosexuality was decriminalized in 1967

in England and Wales for those over 21

(Simon Watney, Participant of 1972 Pride March) “I simply wanted not to be a criminal. I thought it was outrageous that I had to grow up like all my friends under the shadow of the law.”

“Some people spat, some people shouted. Most people were kind of astonished, I think, and bewildered (Watney laughing) Some people just looked the other way.”

London's Pride march has grown to become

the country's largest free single-day event

with 30,000 registered participants in 2022

(Peter Tatchell, Veteran activist) “We are very unhappy at which Pride has become over corporate and commercialised. That it’s now become basically a big party. And parties are fine but we also need to protest because there’s still unfinished business, there’s still battles for our community to fight and win."