Britain’s first Pride was held in 1972, organised by the Gay Liberation Front (GLF). Pride marches have since marked several key moments in LGBTQ+ history, and we're excited to share with you previously unseen images of the second ever Pride.
The GLF was inspired by movements in the US, with two British activists – Aubrey Walter and Bob Mellors – forming the London branch after they returned from the Black Panthers’ “Revolutionary People’s Constitutional Convention” in Philadelphia.
The GLF’s first meeting was in a basement room of the London School of Economics in June 1970 and, by the end of January 1971, there were around 500 people attending the group’s General Meetings each week.
Young LGBTQ+ people were a vital part of the GLF, with there being a GLF Youth Group who wrote a Declaration of Rights. The Youth Group also held a demonstration in 1971 to protest the age of consent which, at 21, was significantly older than the age of consent for heterosexual people.
As part of our LGBTQ+ Collection, we’re honoured to hold photographs of both the Gay Liberation Front and of previous Pride marches. We recently discovered unseen images of marchers at the second ever Pride in 1973, and we're thrilled to be releasing these images in partnership with Student Pride. Scroll through these photographs below, and travel with the protestors from the beginning to the end of the march:
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Looking to discover more stories from the 1973 Pride March?
Watch Student Pride's interview with our Special Collections and Archives Manager Stef Dickers and LGBTQ+ activist Peter Tatchell, talking about these images from Pride.
Pride as a protest
The date of the first Pride was purposely chosen as it was the nearest Saturday to the anniversary of the Stonewall riots, paying homage to the demonstrations in New York.
The purpose of Pride was radical in its roots, with the GLF being known for running anarchic campaigns that demanded “Absolute Freedom For All”. Pride was about creating a space for LGBTQ+ people to be unabashedly themselves.
The GLF also did not take ownership of Pride, or mark it as their creation, which meant Pride marches happened on and off during the 1970s and 80s.
After the GLF came to an end in 1973, a new version of the group was formed many years later. Their work continues, with their convention being live streamed from Bishopsgate Institute from 15-16 May. Working to ensure LGBTQ+ rights including housing rights, universal healthcare, economic freedom, and so much more, the fight of the GLF is far from over.
If you were present at the 1973 Pride and know who took these images, please let us know at: firstname.lastname@example.org