I’m delighted that this weekend more than 1.5m people will once again take to the streets of London to celebrate Pride.
Londoners and visitors to our capital will unite in an incredible march of solidarity and celebration with our LGBTQI+ communities.
In a sea of colour and creativity, we will once again show the world that our capital is a beacon of inclusivity and diversity. A place where everyone is free to be whoever they want to be and love whoever they want to love.
But as we stand together, we must remember that there is still a long way to go to build the open and loving world we all want to see.
The sad reality is that people continue to be persecuted around the world because of who they are and we’re seeing a concerted effort worldwide from some to reverse gains that have been hard-won.
In the UK, it’s 20 years since the abolition of Section 28, yet we have seen petitions and protests demanding the withdrawal of LGBTQI+ content from schools. Hate crime continues to take place against members of our LGBTQI+ community. And transgender people are being stigmatised as some try to place them at the heart of a culture war.
That is why it is so important that we stand together to celebrate our differences and that this year’s Pride campaign is in support of the capital’s trans and non-binary communities.
London is a better place because of the contribution of our LGBTQI+ communities and I am determined to show the world that London is a beacon for LGBTQI+ rights.
We must take every opportunity to celebrate this, and that includes ensuring that our LGBTQI+ communities are reflected in our public spaces. Too often our monuments, street names and public spaces do not honour the full diversity of our city and tell a very narrow view of our past.
So I was delighted this week to announce that, with support from my Commission for Diversity in the Public Realm, five new rainbow plaques are to be installed across the capital by London LGBT+ Forums’ Network and Studio Voltaire to celebrate significant people, places and moments in LGBTQI+ history.
The Black Lesbian and Gay Centre, journalist and activist Jackie Forster, the film Beautiful Thing, pioneering centre London Lighthouse and the role of the Haringey Civic Centre around Section 28 will all be given a rainbow plaque in honour of their huge impact on our capital and society.
These plaques are a symbol of the enormous contribution that our LGBTQI+ communities make to all our lives and I hope to see many more installed in the future to ensure that we can tell much more of our wide ranging history.
So as we stand-by-side this weekend, let’s do so in honour of the progress that has been made, in celebration and solidarity of the wonderful impact of our LGBTQI+ communities on our lives, and in defiance against those who try to spread hatred or discrimination.
Our LGBTQI+ communities have helped to make London the greatest city in the world and will continue to make the city a more creative, colourful and caring place. By working in partnership with our diverse communities, we are building a better London – a fairer, safer, more prosperous city where everyone can thrive.
Sadiq Khan has been the Mayor of London since 2016.