LGBTQ

LGBTQ+ personnel march with Pride in London

More than 600 LGBTQ+ community groups, including members of the UK Armed Forces, are set to take part in the celebrations.

Military personnel are taking part in Pride celebrations in London, with this year marking the 50th anniversary of the UK's first Pride parade. 

The military presence at the celebrations includes members of all three services of the UK Armed Forces, with more than 600 LGBTQ+ community groups joining the march – which will pass significant sites from the UK's first LGBTQ+ movement.

Captain McClain Carter, who will march as part of the Army contingent at Pride in London, said his journey hasn't been easy, with "lots of ups and downs".

"It took me a long time to acknowledge my sexuality. I got very good at lying to myself, let alone those around me. Honesty is the best policy, as the saying goes, though," he said.

"But coming out, like joining the Army, has been the best thing I have done so far in my life and I would say to anyone to give it a chance.

"If you are in the military and are thinking of coming out: go for it. 

"You have a whole community ready to support you," he added.

Sergeant Chris Tierney, who will also be marching with the Army at the Pride event, said coming out as gay was both "incredibly scary but exhilarating".

"It was such a mix of emotions. The strangest thing was the lack of response, as if it wasn't a problem at all, I wasn't even sure what I was expecting but I felt good, so I spent the next two years telling everyone that would listen that I was gay!" he said.

"After so many years of denying who I was to myself, I just couldn't stop saying it," he added.

Aviators from the Royal Air Force are also taking part in Pride in London, with the service tweeting a message of support for personnel.

Air Chief Marshal Sir Mike Wigston, Chief of the Air Staff, tweeted "visibility, unity, equality" were "perfect themes to commemorate" 50 years of Pride in London and the 14 years of participation from the British military.

More than a million people are expected to descend on the capital for the parade and associated celebrations.

This year's parade, from Hyde Park Corner to Whitehall, pays homage to the original 1972 march.