The event has been in the news for all the wrong reasons during the run-up, with the organisers and City Hall arguing over financing and regulations. Floats were banned from taking part after groups had already hired and decorated them, the start time was moved from 1pm to 11am, and all of the events that usually take place in Soho were cancelled, with venues warned that excessive noise or outside drinkers would see their licences revoked.
It's hard to know where to point the finger of blame for what can only be described as a massive débâcle. It seems that the organisers, politicians and bureaucrats all need to take a share of the blame – as detailed in this uncharacteristically thoughtful article by Peter Tatchell. All in all it looks like a series of miscalculations that would put Gerald Ratner to shame.
With homophobia still a massive problem in sport, the Olympics presented a chance to shine a real spotlight on the problem: team up with out athletes and allies; campaign around sports; team up with schools. And with World Pride, which takes place in a different city each year, in London where was the noise about the close to 80 countries who still prosecute people for being gay? Or the chance to learn about and from places where progress is happening, such as the 'third gender' option on the census and passports for trans people in Nepal?
I visited London Pride this year. It was my first time there, so I can't compare like with like But I did spend the best part of a decade heavily involved in Brighton Pride, where I have done everything from stewarding, to running a stall, organising and decorating a float and a whole load of fundraising activities. So I've seen how the sausage is made – or at least, a very similar one.
It's hard work, and it's often thankless. Those who I knew on the board – the people who gave their time for free to organise, promote and raise money for the entire event - were often facing an unenviable mixture of local politics, financial problems and infighting.
Is it worth it? I think so.
I vividly remember the first Pride march I was part of. I was 17, and me and my best friend were both in the middle of figuring out our respective sexualities. We knew we weren't straight, but we were a couple of years and a lot of heartache away from realising that he was gay and I was bi, and how that might work for us.
We had heard a rumour that there would be a Pride march in town that day, so we went along to check it out. When we saw the group of people singing, chanting and walking we decided that just watching wasn't enough and ran to take part. It was fantastic. I didn't often feel a sense of belonging at that age but I felt it there. Our school wasn't hugely conservative, but we'd still had people throwing gravel at us while shouting “queers!”, among other incidents. For many, many other teens who happen to be gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender everyday life is a hell of a lot tougher.
I still believe that a show of visibility can be a powerful thing. At its best Pride is a show of strength, and joy, and a strong demonstration that there is a place for all genders and sexualities.
Of course, it often misses that mark. There's an ongoing debate about the extent to which Pride should be about partying, and the extent to which it should be about politics and activism – they're not always easy bedfellows.
The highlight of my day on Saturday was visiting the stalls at the back of Trafalgar square and chatting to the people running them. I met activists and organisers – people campaigning to end the death penalty for homosexuality; working with schools in the UK to promote diversity and understanding; organising local meetups and activities. The volunteers were upbeat after what must have been a difficult week waiting to hear if Pride would go ahead or not, friendly and committed.
A lot of the Prides I've been involved with have been dominated by brand advertising, alcohol, and debauchery. Not that I have anything against the second two of those. But maybe, with people who know what they're doing and who think about the bigger picture, we can create something wonderful – a huge, politically aware, Pride to be proud of. And then go for a massive party afterwards.
Protection of Freedoms Bill
Blood Donation Restrictions to be Lifted. Maybe.