Pride returns today ‘bigger and better than ever’

The main celebration will take place in Fellowship Square from noon until 8pm
By Victoria Munro

Victoria Sponge at a previous Pride celebration (credit: Pixie Le-May)
Victoria Sponge at a previous Pride celebration (credit: Pixie Le-May)

After a two-year hiatus, the annual LGBT Pride celebration returns to the borough today – bigger and better than ever.

In 2018, Paul Stone and Pixie Le-May, co-owners of the William Morris Bar, organised the first Walthamstow Pride, a relatively small event centred around the Town Square.

After two years of lockdown – and £5,000 from Waltham Forest Council – Pride has re-emerged as an event for the entire borough “with a much bigger area and much bigger acts”.

The main celebration in Fellowship Square will last from noon until 8pm, while a number of venues around Walthamstow and the south of the borough will host their own Pride events.

Paul, who will be performing in drag as Victoria Sponge, told the Echo the team organising Pride are “hoping the event appeals to all sections of the community” as a “fun family day”.

He said: “When Pride first started it was very political and, while that’s still important to us, we really want to make it a celebration of the LGBT community and how far we’ve come.

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“We’re very keen this time around to reach out. Previously it’s been an event purely for our community but we want to engage with as many different groups as we can.”

To this end, Waltham Forest Pride reached out to local faith groups and booked a diverse mix of acts, including Muslim drag queen Asifa Lahore.

Other performers include headline act and 90s pop star Sonia, who represented Britain and came second in the 1993 Eurovision, and popular Walthamstow singer Tina T.

More controversially, Paul confirmed the Met will be one of a number of organisations with an information stall at the event.

Many LGBT people argue police should not be represented at Pride because it began to commemorate the 1969 Stonewall Riots in New York, a series of protests against police harassment.

However, Paul said: “There’s an awful lot of LGBT police officers in the Met and they’re very keen to come and be visible and try to foster better relationships with the community.”

Find out more about Waltham Forest Pride on the council’s website here

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