London Pride 2022: Discover the most joyous LGBTQ+ events
Pride Month kicked off this month, and in the lead-up to the big parade on July 2, the capital is coming out in full force to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community. This year’s Pride is particularly significant, as it marks 50 years since the first Pride took place in the United Kingdom, then called the UK Gay Pride Rally. While Pride provides an opportunity to raise awareness of the continued fight against the injustices and inequalities the LGBTQ+ community faces, it also provides an opportunity to celebrate and share a moment of pure joy. Beyond the parade, there are plenty of events, from raging parties to Judy Garland singalongs, to spark that joy — here are the ones you won’t want to miss.
Judy’s Jukebox Singalong at BFI Southbank
Saturday 18 June, 6pm
Judy Garland is indisputadly a gay icon, so it’s no surprise that she’s the subject of a Pride celebration this month. Coinciding with what would have been her 100th birthday, the BFI is hosting a singalong jukebox night, where you can dance and sing to her best known hits from across her career. Led by guest hosts — still to be announced — the night will see the jukebox blaring out the likes of ‘ Meet Me in St. Louis,’ l ‘Get Happy’, and of course the Academy Award-winning ‘Over the Rainbow.’ Judy Garland costumes are strongly encouraged as is belting out the hits as loudly as you can — so don’t forget to warm up the vocal pipes.
Strawberry Hill House LGBTQ+ Tour
Wednesday 22 June, 7pm
A special event for architecture and history enthusiasts, this month the Strawberry Hill House is opening up its prestigious doors with a tour that will focus on the landmark’s creator, Horace Walpole, and his sexuality. The Twickenham house is recognised as one of the finest examples of Georgian Gothic revival architecture, and the bombastic, chalk white creation is full of fascinating details and stories. Created in the 18th century by Walpole, a curious antiquarian who is also credited with writing the first Gothic novel, the house has been open to the public for over 250 years. But this special Pride tour will examine the various stories and suggestions about Walpole’s sexuality and relationships, and investigate how this may inform our understanding of the house and the intriguing objects still kept there.
MUBI Presents Pride Unprejudiced: The Party at Colours Hoxton
Thursday 23 June, 7pm
Arthouse film streamer MUBI is teaming up with Queer House Party and Fringe! Queer Film & Arts Fest! to host a special dress-up screening of Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s QUERELLE. The cult classic explores the world of cruising through a handsome sailor, who also happens to be a thief and murderer, as it traces his sexual and criminal pursuits in a French port town. Costumes are a must here, and the organisers will be giving out prizes for the best dressed as an added incentive. After the screening, the co-hosts will turn up the heat with an afterparty featuring DJs and performances that celebrate unapologetic queer joy. Plus, 100% of proceeds will go to Fringe! Queer Arts & Film Fest to help the community-led organisation continue its work championing LGBTQIA+ events.
Royal Vauxhall Tavern: Pride’s Got Talent
Monday 27 June, 7pm
The famed gay pub is bringing back it’s beloved Pride’s Got Talent for 2022, featuring raucous performances and an equally raucous crowd. Taking place every Pride since 2013, this final event is the culminations of various heat rounds at different venues around the capital, all in the search of the best emerging LGBTQ+ talent. A brilliant celebration of new talent, the nail-biting competition is overseen by industry-recognised judges who will aid the winners in furthering their career. A genius event, and a great cause, too.
Then and Now with Bimini and Paul Baker
Wednesday 29 June, 7pm
Darling of the London drag queen world Bimini will be joined by Lancaster University’s professor and linguist Paul Baker for a riveting panel discussion that delves into the world of LGBTQ+ activism over the last 50 years. Hosted by Ben Hunte, senior reporter for Vice World News, you’ll get to learn from Bimini’s guide to transforming your life through lessons from drag, as well as Professor Baker’s personal history of the infamous section 28, the 1988 UK law that banned the teaching “of the acceptability of homosexuality”. Offering up an insightful and impassioned take on the ‘Then and Now’ of queer activism, it’s a conversation not to be missed.
Cîroc Iconic Ball at Koko
Thursday 30 June, 7.30pm
Since reopening in April after the devastating fire that ripped it apart three years ago, Koko has swiftly re-established itself as one of London’s most important arts and music venues. Now it’s set to host its inaugural queer ball, bringing the UK’s house-ballroom community together for a riotous celebration of Pride. The night will see them take to the floor and battle it out in five categories that have been inspired by five decades of the movement, including a kiss-themed one in honour of activist Ted Brown, who organised the 1972 march and a queer kiss-in; one dedicated to the work of DJ Ritu, who helped open Club Shakti, the first celebratory spaces for queer British South Asians, in 1988; and in another in honour of WayOut Club co-founder Vicky Lee, who was a pivotal figure of the 2000s. What’s more, all three will be attending to act as the judges for each of their categories, with the overall winner taking home a sparkling trophy designed by Matty Bovan.
Over the Rainbow: Queer Tour of British Museum
Friday 1 July, 1:30pm
For those interested in exploring the lesser told stories of queer figures and queer culture, this LGTBQ+-focused tour of the British Museum is a must. Led by tour guides and queer historians Sacha and Sheldon, the visit to the famed museum will be broken down by each colour of the rainbow flag, with the duo using these as a way to explore different artefacts in the collection that resonate with queer history. It’s worth noting that from 12 June – 30 July, the British Museum will also be hosting their own volunteer-led tours of the collections looking at a fascinating selection of objects with LGBTQ+ connections.
London Pride 2022 Parade
Saturday 2 July, all day
Time for the main event. Doubling as a celebration of 50 years of Pride — the first UK Gay Pride Rally was held in the capital in 1972 — this year’s parade will pay tribute to the pioneers who pushed for LGBTQ+ rights in the past, acknowledge the work that is still to be done and, as always, create a space for pure joy and celebration. Full of colour, energy and positive vibes, the parade will go by Hyde Park, past St James’s and down to Embankment, with plenty of dancing and exuberant outfits. Expect the streets to be packed and the parties to go on late into the night.
Horse Meat Disco: 50 Years of Pride, Roundhouse
Saturday 2 July, 5pm
The DJ collective Horse Meat Disco are notorious for their role in reviving the dance music genre, and for creating some of the most unforgettable nights in the London club scene. Now, the group is back to celebrate 50 years of Pride with a takeover of the Roundhouse that is sure to see crowds dancing nonstop. Paying tribute to the role clubs have played in supporting and creating space for the LGBTQ+ community, Horse Meat Disco’s set will focus on following the theme outlined by the title of their debut album: Love and Dancing.
WE Pink: Pride Edition, Electric Brixton
Saturday 2 July, 11pm
For those looking to keep the Pride party going, head to Electric Brixton for WE’s biggest night of the year. Pink is the theme here, in an extravagant night that the organisers promise will be the most over-the-top night yet. Legendary DJs, gorgeous gogo dancers and all-out production are all in the mix, in a club night that will be a sweaty, joyous celebration of the party spirit.
The Duke of Wellington’s Pride Icons Party
Saturday 2 July, 12pm
Soho is the hub of the LGBTQ+ nightlife scene, and The Duke of Wellington is one of the most popular spots, proudly serving the community for over 20 years. It’s no surprise, then, that they’re going all out for the 50th anniversary of Pride with a Pride Icons Party. Paying tribute to the legends that have inspired countless drag performances and been the soundtrack to many nights out, DJs David Robson and Heidi Licious will be spinning tracks from the likes of Madonna, Elton John, Beyonce and more. This is an all day party, starting at midday and going late into the night — as long as the good times keep rolling.
UK Black Pride Parade
Sunday 14 August
While the London Pride parade seeks to be as diverse and inclusive as possible, the UK Black Pride organisation plays an important role in carving out a space specifically for LGBTQI+ people of African, Asian, Caribbean, Latin American and Middle Eastern-descent. The largest such movement pride celebration in Europe, the organisation’s last in-person gathering saw over 10,000 people come together in Haggerston Park, after outgrowing its original location in Vauxhall Park. Part celebration, part protest, this year the event will take place in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, where a mixture of wellbeing sessions, special programming, speeches and more will focus on furthering the conversation around creating space and pushing for equality.