In pictures: Pride in London through the years

As thousands of people prepare to join this year's Pride parade through central London, BBC News takes a look at some of the most striking images from the event's 45-year history.

Man putting on lipstick Image copyright Steve Eason
Three trans men at a Gay Pride Parade, London, 6th July 1996 Image copyright Getty Images

The first official UK Gay Pride Rally was held in London on 1 July 1972. The date was chosen as it was the nearest Saturday to the anniversary of the Stonewall riots of 1969, which saw people protest against a police raid at the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in Manhattan.

In 1976, a picnic was held in Victoria Gardens by the Houses of Parliament during what was then called Gay Pride Week.

transvestite having her picture taken with a member of the Household Cavalry at Buckingham Palace during Lesbian and Gay Pride, London, 24th June 1995. Image copyright Steve Eason
A lesbian couple hold hands during the annual Gay Pride march through central London, July 1993. Image copyright Steve Eason
Transvestites with big hair Image copyright Peter Macdiarmid

In 1981 the Pride March was moved to Huddersfield for one year only, in support of the Gemini Club, which police had once called "a cesspit of filth".

In 1983 the march was renamed Lesbian and Gay Pride and in the 1990s became more of a carnival event.

Pride London was formed in 2004. Since then, a political rally has been held in Trafalgar Square straight after the parade.

A woman is seen during the march for Gay Pride on July 2, 2005 Image copyright Jeremy O'Donnell
girls in red hats Image copyright AFP
2000 Image copyright Steve Eason

The march in 1996 saw gay men make a statement about religious attitudes to homosexuality by impersonating the Pope and members of the Mafia.

This year's parade is set to be the biggest yet, with more than 300 groups marching and more floats taking to London's streets than ever before. There will also be for the first time a seated grandstand - tickets for which have already sold out.

Man pretending to be the pope Image copyright Steve Eason
Men having a picnic Image copyright Peter Cade

The 2017 theme is Love Happens Here - and marks 50 years since homosexuality was decriminalised in the UK.

Pride in London has issued advice for those planning to attend: "We recommend you come ready for a day of exciting parade watching.

"Bring snacks, refreshments, suntan lotion, sunglasses, a raincoat, and glitter".

Pride marcher with wings Image copyright Dan Kitwood
A marcher dressed as Marilyn Monroe during the annual Gay Pride march in London, July 1994 Image copyright Getty Images
High heels and sports socks Image copyright JUSTIN TALLIS

The parade starts at 13:00 BST and takes a 1.4-mile (2.3km) route from just north of Oxford Circus on Regent Street, down Regent Street and through Piccadilly Circus.

It then heads down Pall Mall towards Trafalgar Square, and finishes in Whitehall at around 16:30 BST.

Women at the Gay Pride Mardi Gras parade in London, 3rd July 1999 Image copyright Steve Eason
men kissing Image copyright NICOLAS ASFOURI

If you miss it on Saturday, or haven't had enough Pride, there's an event on Sunday in Vauxhall - Pride in the Park, which is run in conjunction with UK Black Pride.

A couple on Horseguards Parade, London, on the annual Gay Pride march in July 1994 Image copyright Getty Images
Man with "God made me gay" sign Image copyright Scott Barbour

All photographs subject to copyright.

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