London, chosen to host this year’s WorldPride parade, has officially started its countdown to the largest un-ticketed event in Europe.
After having beaten stiff competition to win the title of host city for WorldPride 2012, the organization announced this year ‘the celebrations will be bigger, better and prouder than ever.’
Registration for walking groups and floats to take part in the parade opened yesterday and with the global LGBT community descending on the city for two weeks from 23 June to 8 July, spaces are expected to be filled quickly.
This year’s pride festivities markets itself as a festival of art, culture and campaigning culminating with the parade through central London on 7 July. On parade day itself a star-studded line-up will lead celebrations on the main stage while Soho will be taken over by a dance stage with an international DJ line up.
Aside from the usual program of events, Pride London is also focusing on issues facing the global LGBT community today. A conference at Senate House will discuss the central theme of the fortnight’s event, which is the call for global decriminalization of homosexuality, especially within the Commonwealth.
Speakers are already confirmed from countries including Jamaica, Sri Lanka and Pakistan. Jamaica’s recently elected Prime Minister, Portia Simpson-Miller, has recently articulated her support for gay rights but many other Commonwealth countries are less supportive of gays.
In a press notice, chair of Pride London Patrick Williams said: ‘World Pride is much more than just a party. There are 41 countries in the Commonwealth where homosexuality is illegal and in some cases punishable by death. This summer we want to give the global LGBT community a safe place to celebrate and be proud regardless of who they love, but we will also be using our time in the spotlight to campaign for a safer environment for them to return to.’
As a charity run entirely by volunteers, the annual call for volunteers to help out in the run-up and throughout the festival is also now open. ‘I want to extend an invitation to everyone in London, the United Kingdom and around the world to join us for WorldPride,’ Williams concludes.
You can register a float, a walking group or sign up as a volunteer here. The deadline for entry to the parade is 4 May.
Gay Star News is proud to be the official news website of World Pride 2012.