London this weekend will celebrate gay rights with this years "Pride London" parade which takes place on Saturday. Backed by the Mayor of London Boris Johnson, the parade will see floats and thousands of revellers make their way in exuberant style from Portland Place , down Regent Street to Trafalgar Square. They will be treated to live music and performances, as well as speeches from representatives of the LGBT community and the festival will also see expanded celebrations in Soho, including a brand new family area in St Anne's Churchyard on Wardour Street.
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said:
'With just over a year to go to the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, anticipation is building to one of the most thrilling years in London's history. Over the next twelve months we will be welcoming people from around the world and events like the Pride London celebrations illustrate in magnificent and colourful style that we know how to throw a party.
'It's a festival that also underlines our city's reputation as a place where you can be yourself, something we can be proud of. Pop stars, sports stars, academics, politicians – people at all levels and in all walks of life – including my own team - feel comfortable and confident to be out and to be themselves.
'I want London to be the benchmark for LGBT equality, which is why we must not be complacent, especially when it comes to homophobic hate crime and bullying. My office will continue to work with LGBT groups as well as the police to tackle a problem that still affects too many lives. Pride has an important role to play in this, with individuals able to come together for an important community celebration, as well as a great day out for all in the heart of the capital. So have fun this Saturday and celebrate all that London has to offer. Happy Pride!'
The Deputy Mayor of London, Richard Barnes, will join this year's parade as well as speaking from the main stage in Trafalgar Square. The Deputy Mayor said:
'Being part of London's Pride celebrations is one of the highlights of the year. It is an enormously positive expression of community and underlines our city's status as a place where LGBT people can be themselves. With the eyes of the world focusing on London in 2012, we are already looking ahead to World Pride and want LGBT people to be at the heart of the celebrations surrounding the Olympic and Paralympic Games. So let's set the tone this Saturday with a wonderful Pride!'
photo credit: Natalie Mitrides (Mayor Boris Johnson)