London’s gay scene exploded in the 80’s, leaving the Earl’s Court area and heading to Soho, which has since become a (somewhat commercialised) mecca for gay tourists. Ever since, the city’s gay scene has expanded and diversified with nightlife to suit every taste, concentrating mainly in the gay villages of Soho, Shoreditch and Vauxhall.
Thousands flock to the street of London for Gay Pride
Gay Pride on 27th June is one of Europe’s biggest and most vibrant gay pride festivals. It has grown from a two thousand strong throng in 1972 to over thirty thousand last year. The march through London is lined with thousands of well-wishers and tourists celebrating how far the LGBT community has come and highlighting the support that’s needed in order to continue this progress.
Despite this huge swelling of support, tolerance and enlightenment, there is the odd bump in the road, such as posters that began appearing a few years ago in the Tower Hamlets area targeting a former Liberal Democrat councillor and declaring it a ‘gay free zone’.
Tower Hamlets has had a tricky time of late, with the mayor, Luther Rahman, being removed from office after being found guilty of fraud and corruption. Former communities minister Eric Pickles ordered the takeover of the council, which he says “allowed homophobia and antisemitism to fester”.
Candidates for Tower Hamlets Mayor have been invited to an LGBT hustings
Thankfully, there’s been a lot of progress since then and all mayoral candidates have been invited to take part in an LGBT hustings on June 1, by Rainbow Hamlets. The Chief Executive of Rainbow Hamlets, Jack Gilbert said: “This is the first time in London that candidates for such a powerful role will face an LGBT-focused audience. “As Mayor, the winner would be responsible for ensuring that the local authority serves all the diverse communities of the borough equally. “Tower Hamlets has a growing LGBT population, and faces unique challenges. Here is a chance for LGBT people and our allies to put all the candidates to the test.”
Even the buses have pride now, with a special number 8 bus wrapped in the iconic rainbow flag design running from Bow Church in Tower Hamlets to Tottenham Court Road – passing some of London’s most iconic landmarks.
The number 8 ‘ride with pride’ bus
East London has a huge LGBT community and is home to a fantastic selection of gay pubs and clubs. Head to The George and Dragon on Hackney Road or The Nelson’s Head in Bethnal Green if you’re after a gay-friendly pint. For more pub suggestions have a read of Londonist’s guide to the best gay pubs.
Dalston Superstore – photo by Sam Roberts
If it’s clubs you’re after, Dalston Superstore and Vogue Fabrics are a couple of the Dalston hotspots. QX Magazine has a listing of London’s diverse late night gay scene.
For LGBT community events across London, Meetup.com have a great listings website.
If you’ like what you hear and are thinking of moving into the East London area, see where our properties fall on our property listings map.
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