As you’re probably aware, it’s well and truly LGBTQ Pride season – not to mention its 50th anniversary year – and happily, our brilliantly inclusive part of East London does this pretty well.
Kicking things off is this weekend’s pocket-sized excellence of Forest Gayte Pride. Now in its fifth year, it takes place over 24th and 25th June. Today (Friday 24th) is the Gala opening, with bisexual writer Sarah Manvel talking about life, connections, and their new book, with nightclub guru Dani Singer on London’s queer nightlife (no tickets required, 6pm until 8pm, The Gate Library, Woodgrange Rd, E7 0QH).
And then on Saturday there’s the community outdoor event itself in Woodgrange Market Place. Expect stalls, music, speakers, DJs and charities (10am-4pm), followed by a party at the nearby Forest Gate Tavern from 5pm to late, with DJs, performers and drag aplenty. Check out the blue plaque to Forest Gayte Pride proudly in situ too – not to mention the Progress Pride flag painted on the pavement outside the station.
Back in E11 the always LGBTQ-friendly Northcote Arms has its very own Queer Beer Fest running throughout July. “Celebrating LGBTQ+ breweries and brewers for the whole month, you can expect yummy summery cask ale, cask cider, draught ale and lagers and a fully stocked fridge,” says landlady Tuesday. Breweries involved are Queer Brewing, Sea Cider Sussex, Forest Road Brewery, Burnt Mill, Mallinsons, The Real Alcho and Pigs Ears Beers. And don’t forget there’s brilliant local drag every Sunday night at 730pm.
And then right at the end of the month – a few weeks after London Pride on July 2nd – is the area’s crowning glory: Waltham Forest Pride. Back after a two-year break, it’s being billed as “the greatest LGBTQI+ celebration the borough has ever seen.” Beginning at noon and running until 8pm in Walthamstow’s revamped Fellowship Square, there’ll be community events, streetfood stalls, several bars, a picnic, speakers, top cabaret performers and more. It’s free to book your tickets on Eventbrite here.
Follow @forestgaytepride, @northcotee11 and @wfcouncil for more. Read my pick of 10 European LGBTQ destinations in The Guardian, published today, here.