If you live in London, this year's 'Pride', held on Saturday 27 June, would have been hard to miss. Corporate sponsors were falling over themselves to attach rainbows to their logos. Adverts lined tube escalators proudly declaring this or that company's sponsorship of the event. Media coverage was extensive.
The London of 1972 was rather different. Being gay may not have been illegal it had graciously been decriminalised in England and Wales five years earlier with the passing of the Sexual Offences Act, 1967. (It took Scotland until 1980, and Northern Ireland until 1982.) But kissing your same-sex partner in public was likely to result in getting your collar felt. And not in a sweet, sexy kind of way.
But on this day in 1972, the Gay Liberation Front organised a Gay Pride march from Trafalgar Square to Hyde Park. Around 700 people turned up, and, despite being "swamped by a very heavy, aggressive police presence", according to Peter Tatchell, marched through the streets and had a picnic in the park.
Subscribe to MoneyWeek
Subscribe to MoneyWeek today and get your first six magazine issues absolutely FREE
The date was chosen because it was the nearest Saturday to 28 June, the anniversary of the Stonewall Riots in New York, sparked when police stormed the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar.
Since then, Pride London, as it is currently called (London Pride' having already been taken) has ballooned into a huge party with 750,000 people. And there are now some 40 separate Pride' events across the UK.
It's big business, too. The organisers get £100,000 of public funding, but corporate sponsorship makes up the rest £600,000 this year. And it's not just out of the goodness of their hearts. The Pink Pound' both its spending power and the propensity to shun companies seen as not queer-friendly is worth something in the region of £70bn-£80bn, according to Retail Week.
Also on this day
1 July 1874: the first commercial typewriter goes on sale
Ben studied modern languages at London University's Queen Mary College. After dabbling unhappily in local government finance for a while, he went to work for The Scotsman newspaper in Edinburgh. The launch of the paper's website, scotsman.com, in the early years of the dotcom craze, saw Ben move online to manage the Business and Motors channels before becoming deputy editor with responsibility for all aspects of online production for The Scotsman, Scotland on Sunday and the Edinburgh Evening News websites, along with the papers' Edinburgh Festivals website.
Ben joined MoneyWeek as website editor in 2008, just as the Great Financial Crisis was brewing. He has written extensively for the website and magazine, with a particular emphasis on alternative finance and fintech, including blockchain and bitcoin. As an early adopter of bitcoin, Ben bought when the price was under $200, but went on to spend it all on foolish fripperies.
Three fund ideas for your stocks and shares ISA
If you have yet to maximise this year’s £20,000 ISA allowance, here are some funds worth considering.
By Katie Williams Published
Holiday scams warning: £12.3m stolen by fraudsters
Action Fraud has revealed thousands of people were hit by holiday scams in 2023. Here's how to protect yourself from fraud.
By Henry Sandercock Published