Flying the rainbow flag for Pride in Hackney

Historic announcement to mark LGBT History Month in Hackney

THE rainbow flag will fly from the top of Hackney Town Hall for the first time this summer to mark the capital-wide Pride festival and celebrate the borough's LGBTQI+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Intersex plus) community.

So it was apt that this historic development was announced by Mayor of Hackney, Philip Glanville, at a launch of LGBT History Month in the borough. It is just one of a host of ways that Hackney plans to celebrate its vibrant LGBTQI+ community, and work with local people to create Hackney's very own LGBTQI+ festival.

Kick-started in February, and continuing throughout the year, the council will be helping to generate, curate and promote a series of community-led events and projects, designed to support equality, inclusion and cohesion in the borough.

The plans build on the council’s collaboration with world-famous artist Stik, who last year created a Hackney Pride banner for the central London parade. Its sale next month by art auction house Christie's is set to raise thousands for a local LGBTQI+ charity or project.

The festival launch at Hackney Museum on 1 February, was attended by more than 100 people from the local LGBTQI+ community, and featured moving speeches from Mayor Glanville, Stik, performer I’m Empire, and Emma Winch, Hackney Museum’s heritage manager.

A key objective of this year’s festival is to ask the community to help address a gap in Hackney Museum’s collection of records, artefacts and first-person narratives that capture the borough’s fascinating LGBTQI+ history.

Since the launch many people have come forward with donations and a LGBTQI+ History Youth Group has been set up, which will help collect and archive these materials. People can also get involved in this crowdsourcing project, by using online citizen-historian site Historypin.

The festival also aims to be a call-to-action, bringing together the local community to inspire new collaborations and events. Projects now in development following the launch include: a summer ball at Stoke Newington Town Hall; business brunch; fashion show; history walks around the borough; an oral history project; family focused picnic in a Hackney park; film screenings; gardening club; schools event with Hackney Empire; and the biggest Hackney representation at the London Pride parade ever.

Mayor Glanville, who is taking a leading role in the festival, said: “Hackney is well known for its diversity and we have a fascinating history of welcoming everyone. A Hackney LGBTQI+ festival will not only remember the history of the hard-won victories of yesterday, but will celebrate the community of today, and ensure our values of inclusivity are shared with future generations.” 

Anyone who would like to get involved in a Hackney LGBTQI+ festival, volunteer support, share ideas, or donate a historical object, can e-mail:; or call: 020 8356 3261.