In celebration of 50 years of Pride in the UK, The Crown Estate has commissioned a hundred Pride flags to hang above Regent Street.
Pride in London will commemorate the anniversary of 1972’s historic march by retracing its route during this year’s event.
It will commence at Hyde Park Corner and end at Whitehall Place. The route will see those participating pass historic LGBTQI+ sites in the capital, including Trafalgar Square, which was the terminus for the 1972 march.
The original march 50 years ago saw around 2,000 people march down Regent Street in London in the name of Gay Pride. Up to 40 members of the Gay Liberation Front had organised the protest, hoping it would serve as an antidote to widespread gay shame prevalent throughout the community.
Same-sex sexual acts had only been decriminalised in England and Wales five years earlier, so the LGBTQI+ community was still dealing with the trauma they’ve suffered during the decades before.
“They were ashamed of their sexuality and gender identity so our counter to gay shame was Gay Pride,” Peter Tatchell – one of the people who organised that 1972 Pride march – recently told GAY TIMES.
Pride celebrations in London now attract more than a million onlookers throughout the parade route, adorning Pride flags and cheering on LGBTQI+ equality.
“For fifty years, Pride has been a visible cultural protest that brings the LGBT+ community and its allies together in solidarity,” said Christopher Joell-Deshields, Executive Director of Pride in London.
“It is important to recognise the activists who were brave enough to come out in 1972 to march for our liberation and pave the way for the rights we enjoy today.
“Early organisers took inspiration from the US civil rights group, the Black Panthers, a reminder that despite their differences there was a collective fight for the oppressed.”
To mark this historic occasion, Regent Street are hanging Intersex-Inclusive Pride flags until 19 July.
Designed in 2021 by Valentino Vecchietti of Intersex Equality Rights in the UK, the flag incorporates the Intersex flag into the Progress flag to better represent the experiences of the intersex community.
The term “intersex” refers to people born with sexual anatomy that doesn’t fit the medical and societal definition of “male” or “female”.
Continuing a tradition of Pride flags being updated and reimagined, Vecchietti’s design is being increasingly used across society to be more inclusive of all LGBTQI+ people. A vinyl has also been displayed at 59-61 Regent Street to educate the public on its meaning.
Vecchietti, a writer, presenter and public speaker, has become notable in the UK for their intersex activism. In 2019, they founded Intersex Equality Rights UK, a charity that works with and to support people born with intersex variations who are part of the LGBTQI+ community.
In a statement, Vecchietti said we need to see “flags that include, support and celebrate our community,” adding: “Therefore, I designed our new Intersex-Inclusive Pride flag.
“It creates significant cultural inclusion and I am thrilled that our flag will fly high above the iconic Regent Street, marking an important step in raising awareness.”
Flags displayed on Regent Street have become synonymous with historical and celebratory cultural moments, such as the Union Jacks for Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee.
Simon Harding-Roots, Managing Director for London at The Crown Estate, added: “London is one of the most diverse and inclusive cities in the world and we want our places to be welcoming to everyone. We’re thrilled to be playing a small part in this by showing solidarity and support for the LGBTIQ+ community.”
The display of the Intersex-Inclusive Pride flags on Regent Street is an historic moment, continuing the areas heritage for calling for greater visibility for all LGBTQI+ people.
It has caused much discussion both within and outside the community, but including intersex people in this way only reinforces the need for solidarity with all members of our LGBTQI+ family – especially during this landmark 50th year of Pride in the UK.
There are various stores in Regent Street that are supporting the LGBTQI+ community and promoting inclusivity this Pride Month such as Ole & Steen, Aqua, Fabletics, Calvin Klein and Michael Kors.
Ole & Steen are donating 50p from every Pride Brown to Switchboard, the LGBTQI+ helpline, while 50% of the net profit from Aqua’s Pride cocktail will be donated to Pride in London.
Fabletics have displayed a Pride window and Pride-coloured staircase, Calvin Klein are celebrating chosen families with their ‘This Is Love’ photobooth and Michael Kors have debuted their Pride 2022 capsule, featuring two products benefitting Outright Action International.