A look at London’s gay community

3 Mar

London’s gay community is an interesting group to examine insofar as they sure have come a long way in the past forty years or so years, but done so in a way that most people wouldn’t expect. Perhaps you can chalk it up to that wonderful European embracing of diversity, or maybe they know something about gaining equal rights we over in America haven’t caught on to, but one way or another this is a well organized group of people that have done great things. From a two week Pride festival, to strong community based organizations, London is a great place to be if you’re gay.

The huge highlight of the year is the London Pride parade which draws in the vicinity of one million viewers making it one of the biggest you’ll find in the world. This is a great draw for locals and visitors from outside the country who come to participate in the parade itself or just be a part of the fun. For the local economy this is a huge boost every year so much so it is an event many businesses have come to depend on to generate a fair portion of their annual revenue.

Furthermore London’s Pride isn’t just a one day affair, it’s a two week celebration which offers a wide range of socials, lectures, and associated activities like movie screenings. Proceeds from these events as well as donations are what help keep many of the cities gay community organizations and initiatives afloat. They have been so successful, that they were recently chosen to host World Pride 2012 which is a testament to their success and the willingness of the city to embrace LGBT persons from around the globe. To see highlights from past Pride events they have a special website set up to view video.

London’s gay community is about so much more than Pride though, they help blaze the trail he rest of the nation follows. It is the London based LGBT organizations that have been the leaders in fighting for and attaining equal rights for the community in all aspects of the law. As such sodomy laws were repealed in 1967, gays openly serve in the armed forces, and transsexual persons actually get the medical care they need made available to them through the government which is a far cry from what their American cousins have access to. While the London gay community isn’t responsible for all this on it’s own as Manchester weighs in heavily as well, it is London’s gay community blazed the trail.

The London gay community also has a great reputation for cleaning up the downtrodden areas of the city and making them viable again as they did in Soho and Voho. Voho is getting a bit of a bad reputation due to the rave scene, but it is still far better than it had once been. Soho on the other hand has turned into a mecca for all enjoying a nice evening out regardless of sexual orientation.Everything from gay friendly clubs and restaurants dot the city as do venues offering the entertainment of groups like the Pink Singers, London’s famous gay chorus.

The other side of the coin has been that with a few notable exceptions like the recent rise in the infection rate of gay men with HIV, the London gay community had always been noted as being very socially responsible. For years they kept this epidemic in check through a variety of educational and health initiatives spread throughout the city. These were once the cornerstone of the city offering a variety of opportunities for everyone from gay youth to the elderly to partake in a number of social events and have access to medical care is not quite so good as it once was. Part of this is thought to be due to the constant flow of gay immigrants flocking to London that don’t fully participate in the community.

Like anyplace else in the world, London’s gay commnity enjoys victories and defeats, but for the most part they have historically been on the right track. They have succedded in being an all embracing community which is an accomplishment which cannot be stressed enough. All in all, London’s gay community has become a viable and for the most part accepted part of the larger mainstream society as a whole.

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