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Pride London Festival kicks off 10 days of events promoting inclusion, awareness and unity

Rainbows, glitter and drag are taking over the Forest City.

For the next 10 days, the LGBTQ2 community and its allies will come together to promote unity, inclusion and awareness during the 2019 Pride London Festival.

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Martin Withenshaw, grand marshal of the festival, remembers walking in the first London Pride parade at a time when he says former mayor Dianne Haskett wouldn’t recognize gay Pride.

“I remember they put glitter on her head but they called it fairy dust, which was really quite phenomenal,” he said.

London has come a long way since then, but Withenshaw said there’s still work to be done.

“Any time a negative remark is made, it proves we still need education,” he said.

There are countless events set to take place at Pride London Festival that seek to promote education and awareness. These events will feature a variety of activities, including art, movies, gaming, music and storytelling.

On the docket for Pride’s opening day is the 28th annual Pride Art Show opening reception, the Pride After Five networking event and Pride Karaoke.

Other events include a Pride Shabbat dinner, a Pride church service and picnic, a Pride open mic night and more.

WATCH: Pride month — Honouring the LGBTQ2 community’s progress and recognizing the work still to be done

Pride London Festival will come to a close on July 28 with the 25th annual London Pride parade.

“I’m looking forward to the parade. If you can’t walk in it then watch it. It is a great event and it is one of the great events happening in London. I’m proud to be a part of it,” said Mayor Ed Holder, who is walking in the Pride parade for the first time as mayor since taking office last year. Holder previously walked in the 2018 London Pride parade as a mayoral candidate.

“I’m proud to say I will be part of a huge City of London contingent. I’ll be walking with more than 100 city employees who feel it’s important to make a statement that they support Pride,” he added.

For a full list of Pride London events, head to pridelondon.ca.

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