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An LGBT+ veteran reflects on 50 years of Pride

Words by Smiley Team

Pride in London celebrated its 50th anniversary this year, led by LGBT+ veterans from the Gay Liberation Front. These seasoned campaigners have witnessed Pride evolve from a small march in 1972 to a national celebration attended by more than a million people.

As they marched, the veterans chanted slogans from the original event: “Two, four, six, eight, gay is just as good as straight. Three, five, seven, nine, Lesbians are mighty fine!” They also called out: “We're here, we're queer and we’ll never disappear!”

Walking among them, the campaigner, Peter Tatchell, relished the festive atmosphere. He tells Smiley News: “For the entire length of the march, we were cheered and applauded every inch of the way.”

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This warm reception from the crowds may be commonplace at Pride today. But for Peter and the other veterans, it was a different case when they started campaigning.

“In 1972, we were backpedalling to overcome the internalised homophobia of many LGBT+ people,” he explains. “They believed we were sick, sinful, abnormal, and unnatural. That's one of the reasons why so few people turned up - they didn't feel good about themselves.”