Sadiq Khan raises rainbow flag for Pride in London 2017: “Love whoever you want to love.” (News)

Mayor of London.

The Mayor of London will fly the rainbow flag outside City Hall for Pride in London fortnight. Sadiq Khan is encouraging all Londoners to come together and celebrate the capital’s diversity.

“Here in London, you’re free to love whoever you want to love and be whoever you want to be,” Sadiq Khan said as Pride in London approaches. 

That is a big reason why I feel our city is seen as a welcoming home for the LGBT community and has such a vibrant, thriving scene – one that is bursting with colour and contributes hugely to the life and soul of London.

Adding: “It’s so important to me that London is seen as a city where LGBT people feel valued, happy and safe. That doesn’t just mean celebrating Pride once a year, it means acting on issues that matter to the LGBT community all year round.

Pride can also send a message of solidarity and hope to LGBT people across the globe who continue to face discrimination and oppression – a message that together we can achieve change and improve human rights for everyone.

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During the Pride in London fortnight, TfL has transformed the windows of Tottenham Court Road with a rainbow design and given the iconic roundels at Tottenham Court Road, Oxford Circus and Piccadilly Circus a rainbow makeover.

50 bicycles will also be decorated with rainbow mudguards to mark 50 years since the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality, and bus stops that line the parade route will also be given rainbow flags.

The Mayor also confirmed that two bus stops situated near Trafalgar Square will have rainbow flags fitted permanently, alongside the LGBT pedestrian crossings that were installed last year as a sign of support to London’s LGBT community.

With more than 60 events taking place from 24 June – 9 July – with the main parade on 8 July – more than a million spectators are expected to line the streets of London. Last year, Sadiq Khan opened the parade alongside the cast of Ab Fab.

You can read Sadiq Khan’s full statement for London Pride below.

“Here in London, you’re free to love whoever you want to love and be whoever you want to be. That is a big reason why I feel our city is seen as a welcoming home for the LGBT community and has such a vibrant, thriving scene – one that is bursting with colour and contributes hugely to the life and soul of London.

“When I was elected, I promised to be a Mayor for all Londoners and, just a couple of months after taking office, I was proud to march in the 2016 Pride Parade, alongside members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community and many others from all backgrounds. It’s a day I’ll never forget – celebrating London’s diversity in full technicolour.

“It’s so important to me that London is seen as a city where LGBT people feel valued, happy and safe. That doesn’t just mean celebrating Pride once a year, it means acting on issues that matter to the LGBT community all year round. Pride can also send a message of solidarity and hope to LGBT people across the globe who continue to face discrimination and oppression – a message that together we can achieve change and improve human rights for everyone. 

“Pride in London is one of the iconic festivals of our city and underlines our reputation as one of the most LGBT-friendly places on the planet. We have faced an extremely difficult time in London recently, with terrorist attacks and extremists trying to sow division and discord.  Pride is another great demonstration of how London will always stand united – and how we will always be a beacon of inclusiveness, acceptance and diversity. Above all, it shows that London is open to all people, regardless of background, religion, race, gender, disability, age or sexuality. It shows that #LoveHappensHere.

However you, your family and friends are celebrating – have a fantastic Pride!

Words William J Connolly