Diversity in the arts and culture: Why London Pride isn’t just a festival

12 September 2020
By Amy Zamarripa Solis

London is internationally famous for its annual London Pride festival, attracting millions. But did you know East London boroughs celebrate all year round and keep communities connected through activities, programme and support networks?

An important aspect of East London’s thriving diverse communities is the LGBTQIA+ community. The Foundation for Future London actively encourages individuals, groups and businesses to apply for funding to develop and sustain arts, culture, and innovation and placemaking that is truly representative.

covid19 has had a disproportionate impact on the LGBTQIA+ community. Safety inside the home, access to health care and other necessary services and the higher rate of infection to people of colour are just a few examples.

2020 lockdown has meant most festivals and activities have moved online. Festivals, workshops, talks and events will help keep communities together to enjoy arts and culture, connect with one another and celebrate the LGBTQIA+ community including lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual and also questioning, non-binary, asexual, polysexual, genderqueer and gender variant people.

Hackney 365 is a year-round programme that punctuates the year. 2020 sees Pride Inside, an online celebration for artists, musicians, comedians, DJs and activists come together virtually for a series of performances, talks and workshops honouring the LGBTQIA+ community, supported by Amnesty International, UK Black Pride, Stonewall and ParaPride. In September soundsystem party Faggamuffin Bloc Party is creating an online space for queer, trans and intersex people of colour (QTIPOC) with funding from the Arts Council.

2019 was the 50th anniversary of Stonewall uprising, the historic three-day fight for gay rights in the West Village in New York, that kickstarted the LGBT civil rights movement. In the UK, the first Gay Pride Rally took place on 1 July 1972 in London.

As part of Waltham Forest’s London Borough of Culture 2019 programme, the Council supported year-round celebration Pride in the Borough, with various activities to support and raise awareness of LGBTQ+ people, families, allies and friends living in the borough, from a rainbow crossing on Hoe Street to London’s first rainbow bus shelter in Leyton Mills.

In Tower Hamlets last year, a special Pride rainbow crossing was created at the junction between Queensbridge Road and Hackney Road and Tower Hamlets Council partnered with LGBT+ support organisation, East London Out Project and other local partners to create a special summertime programme.

In 2019, Newham Council was the first London borough to raise the new Progress Rainbow flags at its Town Halls in East Ham and Stratford for LGBT History Month. The new Progress Rainbow flags incorporate the well known rainbow design but additionally now represent trans, black, and ethnic minority communities.

If you are part of the LGBTQIA+ community and would like to develop a new or existing project in arts, culture, innovation or placemaking to benefit yourself or others in the community, we can help.

We currently fund projects in arts, culture, innovation or placemaking for people in Hackney, Newham, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest. We can help you start a new business or develop an existing one, help you gain a qualification or get a project off the ground.

We actively encourage applications from underrepresented and marginalised LGBTQIA+ groups including, but not limited to, people of colour, people of faith, people with a disability, trans and non-binary people, parents and carers.

Check out our funding opportunities and apply now.

A special thank you to Stonewall for its support.

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Amy Zamarripa Solis

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