Gay events and festivals are one of the most popular ways of meeting other singles in your town or city. Apart from meeting personal and social networking needs, such events are also a great way to know about the historical and multicultural aspects of the LGBT movement where you live. So if you are in London or are visiting, make it a point to look up these annual gay events in the city.
The most high profile gay event in London is of course Pride London. Founded only in 2004, the annual event has grown larger every year so that around a million people attend Pride London now , making it one of the largest such events in the world. Pride London actually takes place in two parts – one is the Pride Festival and the other the Annual Pride Day. The Pride London Festival goes on for two weeks in late June and incorporates exhibitions, film screenings, sporting events, concerts, theater, comedy and cabaret performances, as well as special galas and one-off parties. The highlight of Pride London is Annual Pride Day which takes place on the last Saturday of the festival. Around half a million revelers head into central London to enjoy the spectacular parade floats and performers, thus celebrating Europe's largest gay and lesbian festival. The Parade passes through central London which is followed by a politically-based Rally in Trafalgar Square and a party in Soho. There is also free entertainment in central London. Dance stages, market stalls and a food festival take over the streets and Leicester Square hosts cabaret shows too. In 2012 Pride London also had the honor of hosting WorldPride 2012 which celebrated the theme, 'One World, One Pride, One Voice'.
TIP: Browse profiles of single gay men in your city looking for activity partners and dates.
UK Black Pride
UK Black Pride is another London event that celebrates of sexual freedom but with the added focus on race too. The UK Black Pride seeks to make political statement that will better the lives of black LGBT people that are greatly disadvantaged due to the social exclusion that comes with race and sexuality. The pride festival includes music, performances, theater, film festivals, art shows and the like. The highpoint of the festival is naturally the parade which usually passes through Torrington Square and Birkbeck University. Other attractions of the UK Black Pride include licensed bars, delicious world food, chill out zone, education and welfare workshops and community stalls.
London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival
The London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival showcases some of the best films on homosexuality and sexual freedom made around the world. It takes place every spring and is Organized and run by the British Film Institute; all LLGFF screenings take place in the BFI Southbank. The Festival began as a season of gay and lesbian films at the National Film Theatre in 1986 and 1987 under the title "Gay's Own Pictures" and was then curated by Peter Packer of the Tyneside Cinema. Later it was renamed the London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival in 1988. Having been a two week festival for many years, the festival was shortened to a week in 2011, but then slightly lengthened to ten days in 2012.
Gaywise Fest is London’s annual cross art festival showcasing the best of the creations by the city’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Intersex community. Events range from exhibitions, group and solo performances, film screenings, debates, creative workshops and parties. The arts and culture festival also helps profile human rights issues and makes a creative case for ‘Equality in all walks of life.’ GFEST takes place annually in November in various venues across London. The annual event is run by the charity Wise Thoughts with the purpose of reflecting the diversity of LGBTQI life in Britain. However in recent times lack of funding from the Arts Council as well as declining private and commercial sponsorships has posed a big question on the future existence of GFEST.
UK Ladyboy Competition
One of the most fun-filled annual events in the gay calendar is the UK Ladyboy Competition. The 2012 event was held at the well-known Thai restaurant Mango Tree in London; here beefy men and pretty boys from all over the country vie for the crown of Mr and Ms Mango Tree. Mr. Mango competition was for men competing as men while The Miss Mango competition was for men competition as women. Apart from the title for the beefiest man and prettiest boy, the UK Ladyboy Competition also includes an evening wear as well as a bathing suit round.
Meltdown is one of the foremost festivals for contemporary culture held in London. Each year a different curator takes over the proceedings and some of the biggest names that have been associated with the festival in the past include David Bowie, Patti Smith and Morissey. For 20 years Meltdown has invited internationally renowned musicians to create once-in-a-lifetime experiences at Southbank Centre. Tasking artists to take over the 21-acre artistic site, Meltdown is renowned for unique events and artist led programming. While Meltdown is not an avowedly gay event, nevertheless the festival is quite popular with the arty gay crowd for its cutting-edge performances by queer artists.
Notting Hill Carnival
Popularly known as Europe’s biggest street party, Notting Hill Carnival in London is primarily a celebration of Black culture but often extended to include diversity of sexuality too. Usually held in late August every year, the Carnival in Notting hill in the west of London draws hundreds of thousands of revelers from across the city. While families converge here on the Sunday of the festivities for fun and merriment, the main parade is on the Monday which features lots of floats, great music, feathers and sequins, as well as many Caribbean food stalls.