London Met joins tens of thousands marching in Pride parade

London Met staff and students, alongside LGBTQIA+ groups and allies, joined forces with marchers and spectators in celebrating Pride in London.

Date: 03 July 2024

London Met staff and students, including members of the LGBTQIA+ Staff Network, the LGBT+ Student Society, and their allies joined up to 35,000 marchers and an estimated 1.5million spectators to celebrate Pride on Saturday 29 June.

Participants wore colourful t-shirts with ‘London Met @ Pride’ on the front, designed by London Met BA Theatre and Film student, Thalia Lempong, who won the Pride T-Shirt Competition earlier this year.

Through a sea of colour, flags and feathers, London Met’s very own rainbow float, adorned with disco balls and a mirror panel, was extremely popular, with spectators, staff and students singing and dancing all the way from Hyde Park to Whitehall, thanks to entertainment and music provided by UK Drag Race sensation Just May and DJ Tete Bang.

The float, London Met’s first at Pride, read ‘Reflecting the Real London’, symbolising the University’s commitment to visibility and inclusion. Professor Julie Hall, newly appointed Vice-Chancellor for London Met, who joined staff and students in the procession, said: “It’s an honour to be part of Pride once again, to celebrate our LGBTQIA+ community and show what London Met stands for – a university where everyone is welcome. We always strive for social justice and to break down barriers, and reflect the community around us, the real London.”

As the float moved through the crowds, people caught their reflection and smiled, striking poses and blowing kisses, taking pictures and telling others to get involved.

We asked spectators what the ‘Real London’ means to them. Emma, who told us she found her ‘Pride’ through her mum, said: “It’s my first time in London and it’s been so welcoming’. Charleen, who was attending with her best friend, said: “This is what the Real London means. Acceptance. Pride is amazing!” Some other responses were: ‘diversity’, ‘freedom’, ‘happiness’ and ‘being who you are’.

More than a million people are said to have watched the parade, and London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who is also a London Met alumni, walked at the front of the march. He said in a statement: “I’m delighted that London’s diverse LGBTQIA+ communities and allies are once again joining together in the heart of our capital for our world-renowned Pride celebrations and march of solidarity.”

And the Mayor wasn’t the only person to talk about togetherness, Dr Chris Morriss-Roberts, Principal Lecturer in Health at London Met, who joined on the float, said: “Pride to me is about coming together and enjoying the experiences of being part of the LGBTQIA+ community. It makes me very aware that I am lucky to live and work in a community where I am accepted. 

“Saturday made me feel like I belong to a stronger community of people at the university too. Sometimes you forget your community when you’re busy working and teaching but there are people like me at work.”

Chris also spoke about the atmosphere created on the float: “It was absolutely amazing – I loved the disco ball balloons, the t-shirts, the drag queen DJs and the music. We created an absolute vibe and the crowd felt it too!’

This year’s Pride theme was #WeAreEverywhere, celebrating the power, presence and importance of the LGBTQIA+ community, and championing the everyday lives of Londoners to be unapologetically themselves.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Lynn Dobbs said: “At London Met, we believe in celebrating every individual's uniqueness and creating a supportive environment where everyone can thrive. We continue to build a community where everyone feels seen, valued and celebrated. Pride is the perfect opportunity to celebrate our wonderful LGBTQIA+ colleagues and community, and our mission of inclusivity and acceptance.”

London Met float at Pride in London surrounded by marchers and spectators

Photo by Dare & Hier Media