© Tristan Fewings/Getty Images for Pride In London

Pride in London have confirmed that this year’s event has been cancelled due to ongoing concerns around COVID-19.

The UK’s biggest Pride event was scheduled to take place on 11 September, with thousands expected to watch the parade through the centre of the capital.

Pride in London traditionally takes place at the end of June or early July, but this year’s event was pushed back to September with the hope that the vaccine rollout would mean it would be safe for large crowds to come together.

However, with mere weeks to go Pride in London have made the decision that, after reviewing the UK government’s guidelines, the large-scale event cannot take place.

“Covid-19 has affected all of us, changing so much about how we live our lives and gather together in our communities,” Pride in London’s Executive Director, Christopher Joell-Deshields, said on Twitter.

“Pride, like all other major public events, has faced countless challenges with regards to safely holding one of the largest events in the capital.

“I’m truly saddened to say that Pride in London won’t be happening in person this year. Last week was extremely challenging navigating the government’s recently updated Covid-19 guidelines and legislation for large-scale public events like ours.

“It became clear when working through final risk assessments that our event could not provide the level of mitigation expected from the local public health team and the government.”

“It would have meant losing the crucial parade and reducing the event to just two or three stages scattered across central London with limited tickets.

“This goes against everything we want Pride in London to be or that we have been so far.”

Chris added: “No parade, no protest, means no Pride. We cannot waiver from that commitment to you, our community. How are we meant to tell some people that they have tickets and others they don’t?

“I know that events like Manchester Pride, Brighton Pride and Notting Hill Carnival have also had to take these tough decisions based on the advice of public health officials. The team and I agree public health and well-being is our top priority.

“While our 2021 event may not be going ahead, Pride in London volunteers will not stop working to reinforce our engagement with LGBT+ communities to achieve our committed objectives towards diversity & inclusion and the elevation of issues that matter to us all.

“This year our unity fund raised over £100,000 for organisations like the House of Rainbow, FTM, Sutton LGBT Forum and Out and Proud African – to name a few. Applications will open again in October.

“Tomorrow we start planning the return to the streets of London in 2022 with our most inclusive and queerest event yet ready to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the first pride in the UK.

“As we can continue demanding queer visibility unity and equality, we ask that the UK government declare 2022 as a Year of Queer.

“Thank you to the volunteers, organisations and agencies who have been working hard for the past 15 months and were also looking forward to marching and sharing their voices unapologetically. You have my deepest respect and our community’s love.

“Please support queer venues, spaces, artists and performers this September. See you all soon and thanks again for your support.”