I want to wish everyone a wonderful day at Pride in London. Pride brings people together in joyful celebration of our values of freedom, tolerance and equality. It is a vivid display of the diversity which makes London one of the greatest cities in the world.
And at its heart, it is about a simple thing: love. That’s why this year’s theme – ‘Love happens here’ couldn’t be more appropriate. It captures perfectly the warmth of this wonderful city and its people.
Whenever we face challenges or difficulties – as individuals, as communities or as a country – the way to overcome them is by standing together united in mutual support and solidarity. Over many years, the LGBT Plus community has demonstrated the truth of that statement.
This year marks 50 years since Parliament repealed the laws which criminalised homosexuality in England and Wales. This and other historic changes were brought about by the courage and determination of generations of LGBT Plus people, who fought to change the prevailing views of their time and gain the rights and respect which should always have been theirs. The anniversary shows us how far we have come as a society, but it also reminds us how much still remains to be done.
Around the world, cruel and discriminatory laws still exist – some of them directly based on the very laws which were repealed in this country fifty years ago. So the UK has a responsibility to stand up for our values and to promote the rights of LGBT Plus people internationally.
That’s why we will continue to stand up for human rights, directly challenging at the highest political levels governments that criminalise homosexuality or practice violence and discrimination against LGBT Plus people.
And here at home too, we must continue to stand up for true equality and respect for everyone, right across our United Kingdom. We must stamp out homophobic bullying in schools, and drive down homophobic and transphobic hate crime. We need to do all we can to build a country which works for everyone, where people of all backgrounds are free to be themselves and fulfil their full potential.
So as London once again sends a proud and positive message to the world, I wish everyone a fantastic Pride.