London’s World Pride 2012: This Is What “Plan B” Looks Like

Feature image from London Pride 2011 via Demotix

A pessimist thinks of themselves as being alone; an optimist would think that they are two people away from a threesome. Being among them, I can say that British people are the former: pessimistic people that complain, a lot. We have moaned for years that we’re not taken seriously, that the UK just hasn’t got enough lesbian pride in it and that World Pride would never come to us. But it has! We’ve got it! In London! And what do we do? Ruin it!

This weekend, thousands upon thousands of card carrying, glitter covered, rainbow dancing, wonderfully proud folks will descend on our capital. And they will be in for a dropping-your-ice-cream-cone-on-the-floor disappointment. The organisers are using the term ‘Plan B’ for the new version of the event, which manages to cut basically everything that matters to us. People will be arriving in the city without a clue where to go or what they should be doing. And even though before we voted for him he was ‘all about the Pride,’ our own blonde bumbling Mayor has declared he won’t be attending.

Our mayor (via Midlandzone newspaper), who’s not supporting us

So just what will we be doing without at this year’s World Pride? Well, the main part of any gay event — with the streets will be full of pink Lorries, fire engines covered in balloons, naked women on roller-skates and men in thongs on stilts — the gay parade won’t be taking place. What should be a rolling succession of so many charity wagons collecting money, social groups, religious floats and Lady Gaga dancing trailers that wave to the crowds and show what gay pride is really all about, will not be happening in London. A week before the festivities are due to begin, all cars, floats and vehicles were banned and only walking will be permitted.

The sparkly outdoor fashion shows, the outside bars and other celebrations planned for the Soho part of the city have also all been cancelled. This is said to be because the place might not be ‘safe’ for us to party in. The main stage event was to include many acts from all over the country is to still go ahead, but must now finish by the I-wont-even-have-had-my-second-drink-by-then measly time of 6pm.

So why is everything going wrong? Why are we being such an epic fail of a host? Well, it’s all about the money, of course. Due to lack of funding, everything that’s fun and exciting has been slashed or cut completely. Many people are calling this incredibly homophobic, as there has been no problem with similar events, such as the Notting Hill Carnival, which attracts less people, but still receives the massive present of £250,000 annually, while the queers from around the world get a taped together recycled gift from the year before.

via lltheportmanteau.blogspot.co.uk

There was a last-minute attempt from Gaydar and Smirnoff to add money to the pot so some elements of the day would be restored, but this was unsuccessful. It’s already mental that we are expecting people to come from far and wide to dance about in our pitiful wet July weather, but the fact that we cannot get our own mayor to cough up the cash for this event is just making us bitter. A spokesman told PinkNews:

Pride belongs to LGBT people, our supporters and friends. We deserve better than this, and we can do better than this. We need a Pride for London that involves LGBT communities – including community and campaigning groups of every kind, LGBT charities, trade unions, campaigning and student groups, commercial venues, and the LGBT media all need to be involved.

Because of the chaos, it was announced today that Pride London’s Chair Dr Patrick Williams is standing down with immediate effect. Just what you need — all the people in charge shuffling about playing musical chairs, arguing over what colour tie might make them look less guilty. And gang, make sure you’re in Portman Square at 10am for the big walking parade, or you may not be allowed to go. Crowd safety notices have been issued with warnings that it may be restricted. It’s been said that the day has been ‘logistically impossible,’ as if we gay people are just some annoying game of chess that they can’t solve.

The square last year in London.

It’s bad enough that they are making such a catastrophic mess of our capital’s day, but the fact that we were so ‘proud to be the hosts of World Pride,’ just a few days back is embarrassing. It’s going to be a disappointing and awkward week for everyone who’s travelled to it. The vehicles covered in glue and glitter will be standing unused, the organisers will be hiding their faces from the angry confused crowd, and us British, in our typical fashion, will be tutting and shaking our heads at the whole disaster. In the rain.

Wanted to be a writer since my Mam started making up stories for me to calm my temper as a child. Live in civilisation with my cat Crayon but originally from a small hut in Wales surrounded by sheep and Farmer

Effi has written 1 articles for us.

40 Comments

  1. A small (okay, large) part of me is immensely disappointed in this, but the rest of me is all what the fuck ever, it’s still my first — and probably only — Pride so I’m still in! <– evidently not British

  2. Dearest London,

    Say it ain’t so! You’re supposed to show us how it’s done!

    I’m from Toronto. World Pride will be here in 2014, and I was hoping London might give us a fine example of how a giant Pride party should look. If the past 2 years is any indication, we’ll be fighting for funding from the city, and if we still have our current mayor, he’ll be skipping all events so he can chug beer at the cottage.

    London’s joyless “Plan B” sounds like the kind of thing I’d expect here, not somewhere comparatively civilized. [heavy sigh]

    Chin up, London. As long as they don’t ban rainbows (search AS for “Catholic” and “rainbows” and you’ll find a great local rainbow-banning example) you’ll come through okay.

      • Yes! Don’t forget lemons with a peppermint stick stuck in the middle. I forget what those are called. for some reason I could see this being a new thing to represent pride. Just a lemon with a peppermint stick stuck in the middle – suck it haters!

        Sorry my brain is full of weird ideas since it’s trying to distract me from doing real work right now.

  3. WELL, WELL WHAT IS OCCURRING HERE??
    1. WHO REALLY DID REVERT TO THIS PLAN B (THAT INTERESTING THAT I HAVE NOT READ IT,OR GLANCED).
    2. WHO DECIDED THAT ENJOYMENT,EXCITEMENT,EQUALITY,SHOULD BE CHANGED AROUND AFTER MANY YEARS OF A SUCCESS (ALSO ALLOWING FOR SOME LATTER YEARS OF SHIT ARRANGING)NO DIFFERENT FROM EVERY DAY LIFE >
    3. WHO HAS DECIDED THAT THIS CAPITAL IS GOOD ENOUGH TO HOST THE OLYMPICS, & PUT ON A PARTY FOR THE ROYALS ,????? WELL NOW THEY HAVE SHATTERED THIS EVENT WHICH WAS GOING TO BE THE 1ST WORLDS PRIDE , SO OK NO ONE GETS A MEDAL BUT WE ARE A BLOODY GOOD COUNTRY WITH VERY HOSTING SKILLS AS HALF OF THE WORLD LIVES HERE.(NOT MEANT TO BE RACIST OR DISCRIMINATIVE(JUST SAING THATS HOW WELL WE ARE .
    SO WHEN YOU DO COME SATURDAY LETS SHOUT AND BE WHO WE ARE & WHAT WE ARE ENJOY UR DAY

    • Actually there was loads of amazing alternative things happening around London yesterday for Pride. Case in point: I just got home from the Unskinny Bop Queer Prom in Bethnal Green which was INcredible!

      The point is that we have a Pride organisation committee and a Mayor who should be doing equally incredible things for the main event but neither are. Why did the organisers not fess up earlier and organise fundraising?

      When they say “it’s about money” they mean “it’s about sponsorship”. P&G and Coca Cola and McDonalds crawled over dead bodies to sponsor the Olympics but nobody wants to have their brand slapped against the gays. Boris can’t be arsed to support something that doesn’t please his corporate sponsorship friends.

  4. I was hoping Autostraddle would cover this at some point. Honestly, the whole thing has become such a fucked up mess, I’m embarrassed to share a country with the idiot organisers. They had TWO YEARS to plan this, and the World Pride side of the event has been FIVE years in the making. Then, they turn around two weeks before the event and pretty much give us the equivalent of “Looooool, money says no.” There is absolutely no way that they did not know this would happen waaay in advance.

    The fact that they wouldn’t even tell their volunteers what was going on at the time speaks volumes. And the added fact that they changed the start time to two hours EARLIER….with no rational explanation? I know people who have booked coach and train tickets to get to central London by 1pm, for the supposed start of the parade…..only to find out they’ll be all dressed up with nowhere to go. :<

  5. *sigh*

    What the flying eff, London?
    I was looking forward to getting a massive dose of gayness and maybe getting together with my friends before going home for the summer.

    Also, Berlin Pride was EPIC this year, just sayin’. Kinda makes up for this…

    Muy disappoint. Will actually ask my dad for a day off and go to Belfast Pride this year. *fistpump*

    As for London…

  6. I was going to post a long angry piece of commentary about the fiasco that’s going on at the moment; About the personal disappointment, for myself and my friends, who are attending as enthusiastic veterans and first timers; About my concerns about the role of City Hall in this, especially for such a high profile event. All this to the backdrop of extensive road closures to create private Olympic lanes for officials at the upcoming games, at great inconvenience and to the disapproval of many Londoners.

    Instead I’ll give a nod to Peter Tatchell’s all too plausible article and keep a closer eye on City Hall.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/peter-g-tatchell/boris-johnson-world-pride_b_1650605.html?

  7. Welcome to Britain. The Olympics are 2.4billion over budget and we have a chimpanzee with a dye job in charge of one of the best cities in the world. Ugh.

  8. On the one hand, OH FANX LONDON BORIS YOU GORM.

    On the other, this will be a very British pride. We love to moan, with this weather and ultimate funding snub, you will recieve the full British pride experience.

  9. “A pessimist thinks of themselves as being alone; an optimist would think that they are two people away from a threesome.”

    best opening line of a thing ever. i love your voice. write more things. you are perfect.

    how could a post about something so tragic and bureaucratically fucked make me laugh so much? cuz you’re the shit.

    also side note, one of the best nights of my life was partying it up in London at G-A-Y’s 10th anniversary blow out. the bouncer wouldn’t let us in originally cuz we “looked straight” but then I told him to go fuck himself and he said “love, that’s the password. new yorkers always get it right.”

  10. This is so sad, the year I went to Pride in London was the best summer of my entire life. It’s upsetting to see this is happening the year World Pride is celebrated over there. 🙁

  11. Being a londoner I cannot understand how this has happened! And especialliy with the Nottinghill carnival going so well. Must be us lesbians messing it all up.

    ‘Just what you need — all the people in charge shuffling about playing musical chairs, arguing over what colour tie might make them look less guilty’ This made me laugh out loud, very clever funny writing too.

  12. This is a truly hilarious piece! its a sad topic and I can’t believe what London are doing but my God I’ve been in stitches reading it! What an amazing writer!!
    And she has a cat called Crayon. Even better.

  13. Look at our mayor! What an arse! And yeah I voted for him because BEFORE HE WAS VOTED he marched with people for the right for gay marriage. and now? Cant even show up on world pride day in his own city. The ending really made me chuckle!
    The vehicles covered in glue and glitter will be standing unused, the organisers will be hiding their faces from the angry confused crowd, and us British, in our typical fashion, will be tutting and shaking our heads at the whole disaster. In the rain.
    Fabulously written, turned an annoying subject into a worthwhile read. Look forward to more pieces by Effi.

  14. I presume they put it at 11 specifically for the purpose of making sure people who live slightly further away can’t go.

    I can’t imagine the sponsorship money will come in next year. This will have knock-on effects for a long time

    I’m still going 🙂 The 8am bus will be hard, but i plan to snarl up the streets of Soho all the same

  15. Such good writing. and she’s so British it really makes me laugh. “A pessimist thinks of themselves as being alone; an optimist would think that they are two people away from a threesome” Probably the most awesome start to an article ever!!

  16. I’m not British but I’m living in London for the summer. I’m definitely still going! I hope it’s not too disappointing. The website is calling it a “procession” now instead of a parade, which honestly just reminds me of a funeral. PRIDE IS THE OPPOSITE OF A FUNERAL, LOOK AT ALL THE RAINBOWS.

    (Incidentally, my grandparents, aunt and uncle are coming to visit for the day, and when I told them I’d be going to Pride they said they’d come with. So if you see an awkward queer girl in need of a haircut wandering around with a pastor, an Air Force major and their wives, that’ll be moi.)

  17. I loved this piece and I’ve just checked out this girl’s website. I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so much!! Check out the awesome articles on stuff it’s just so good and so funny.
    http://www.Fisforr.com
    Can’t wait to see what else she writes. Love autostraddle!

  18. Pingback: Lesbilicious » World Pride 2012 | London: could the fiasco been avoided?

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