Pride in London has today launched an exclusive miniseries that celebrates LGBT+ history, telling the highs and lows of activism, acceptance and love in the city.
Marking 50 years since the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality in the UK, Pride in London asked 13 prominent and celebrated figures from our LGBT+ community to discuss important moments in their lives with presenter Riyadh Khalaf, and visit places important to them - in the back of Pride in London’s black cab.
The series, ‘Love Happens Here - A journey through London past and present’ is available from today on the Pride in London YouTube channel.
In one of the highlights of the series Sir Ian McKellen and Jaymi Hensley, the lead singer of Union J, poignantly discuss generational differences and the need for role models. Sir Ian opens up about the impact of the law changing to allow men to have sex legally, the need for activism, recognising LGBT+ history and the horrors of what’s taking place today in countries like Chechnya.
Each of the 12-minute episodes give a unique insight into each person’s experience as an LGBT+ person; coming out, safe spaces, what it’s like to be Bisexual or Trans, being open in public, as well as exploring the different experiences for people of different ages, races and physical ability. The interviews were all filmed on journeys around London as part of Pride in London’s ‘Love Happens Here’ campaign, and to mark the importance of key places in the city.
Listen to Coronation Street street actor Charlie Condou talk about meeting his husband in the gym and growing up in Soho, and the DJ and trans-activist Munroe Bergdorf tell stories about playing the legendary Madam Jojos.
Learn how actor and comedian Liz Carr fell in love thanks to the BBC, and of her experiences as a person with a disability in the LGBT+ community.
Visit the site of the first ever Pride march with Peter Tatchell, and hear how the Chair of UK Black Pride Phyll Opoku-Gyimah was inspired to start her event, and the ongoing battle against racism in our community.
Model Maja Simonsen talks about being a bi-girl in London, and Nicol Edmonds, soloist at the Royal Ballet, talks about his experience at Pride and about moving from rural Devon to London.
Dr Ranj Singh, one of the most prominent doctors on our TV screens, talks about overcoming a tough coming-out experience to being able to celebrate and enjoy his true self. He discusses the devastating impact of mental health, and the important issues around sexual health in the LGBT+ community.
Performance Artist David Hoyle visits the Retro Bar and talks about how his activism has inspired his work, and how he became motivated in reaction to the Government’s response to the HIV and AIDS crisis in the 80s.
Comedian Rosie Wilby and dancer Robin Windsor tell stories of coming out, their first experiences at Pride, as well as discussing the big issues that the community faces today, including homophobia, homelessness, prejudice - and self acceptance too.
The series, made with the support of Pride in London volunteer and Deputy Director of Marketing Iain Walters, was directed and produced by production company Brown-Eyed_Boy, with the support of the Library and the LGBT+ industry group, Intermedia.
Co-chair of Pride in London Alison Camps said:
“This series tells an amazing story about the diverse richness of LGBT+ life in London, charting experiences from today and many years before. I'm so grateful to everyone who played their part in making this happen - as with all that we do at Pride in London, collaboration is everything.
“Being able to share our stories is an extremely valuable asset for the LGBT+ community as we connect to our history, and come together to build a vibrant and exciting future too.”
Presenter Riyadh Khalaf said:
“Getting the chance to partner with Pride in London was such a pleasure and a passion project. As a young gay man who is new to this incredible city, it was such an eye opener to hear real life accounts about how Queer life in the capital has morphed and changed through the years, for better and for worse.
“What made it all the more surreal was hearing it from iconic members of the community such as Sir Ian McKellen and David Hoyle. These unfiltered, raw and candid Taxi chats will hopefully give an unparalleled look into the fascinating LGBTQ history this city holds and a positive view of what we have ahead of us.”
Gary Reich from Brown-Eyed-Boy said:
“At Brown-Eyed-Boy, we're always looking to tell compelling, diverse and interesting stories. When we saw an opportunity to bring to life LGBT+ London, past and present, and to truly explore this rich and vibrant community we couldn't resist.
“We used the idea of a taxi as a way to explore London, letting the community share stories across communities and generations. The story of LGBT+ London, it's troubled history and its bright future needs to be told, and we're so happy we could play a part in telling it.”
The links to each individual episode, with biogs of each person taking part are below. Everyone involved in this project gave their time and experience for free.
Managing Director & Executive Producer: Gary Reich
Head of Production: Jo Kay
Producer: Donna Harle
Producer: Martin Joyce
Asst Producer: Georgia House
Director: Joe Stephenson
Director of Photographer: Nic Paton
Taxi: Sherbert Media
Venue: Library Club
Hair and Makeup Team: Seventa Image Academy
Lead Makeup Artist: Juan Lopez Alvarez
Lead Hair Stylist: Teresa Weller
Hair Stylists: Kelly Summerfield and Andrew Smith
Hair & Makeup Products: Ten Image Professional UK, Milk_Shake Hair UK
Presenter: Riyadh Khalaf
Riyadh Khalaf is a seasoned presenter and YouTube content creator from Dublin, Ireland.
His media career began at age 16 when Riyadh built his own pirate radio station from his bedroom. Since then he has presented and produced award winning radio in Ireland (SPIN 1038, SPIN South West, 98FM) and Australia (KIIS 1065, KIIS 1011) including his appearances as entertainment reporter on the massive Kyle & Jackie O Show.
He has also presented original online content for MTV UK, The Guardian and RTÉ. Since moving to London in 2016, Riyadh has landed his first series on BBC Three 'Queer Britain'. The six-part documentary series exploring key sensitive issues in the LGBTQ community has garnered critical acclaim and an incredibly positive response from the public.
Riyadh’s YouTube channel has amassed over 307,000 subscribers and more than 32 million overall views. His comedy, LGBT and socially experimental videos mixed with his quick wit and Irish charm have made him an online favourite for young viewers all over the world. His viral videos have been featured on BuzzFeed, MTV, MSNBC, CNN, BBC, Channel 4, Huffington Post, Vanity Fair, E! News, MailOnline, Upworthy, The Guardian and many more.
Peter Tatchell has been campaigning for human rights, democracy, LGBT freedom and global justice since 1967. He is a member of the queer human rights group OutRage!, and the left-wing of the Green Party.
Through the Peter Tatchell Foundation, he campaigns for human rights in Britain and internationally.
Peter’s key political inspirations are Mahatma Gandhi, Sylvia Pankurst, Martin Luther King and, to some extent, Malcolm X and Rosa Luxemberg. He has adapted many of their methods to his contemporary non-violent struggle for human rights – and invented a few of his own.
Phyll Opoku-Gyimah also known as Lady Phyll is a co-founder, trustee and executive director of UK Black Pride.
Opoku-Gyimah sits on the TUC race relations committee and is currently trustee of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights charity, Stonewall.
Charlie Condou (born Charles Lomax David Miller 8 January 1973) is an English actor and writer best known for playing midwife Marcus Dent in the soap opera Coronation Street.
Condou was listed number 11 in the World Pride Power List 2013. He is a Patron of the charities Diversity Role models and the Albert Kennedy Trust, and a volunteer for the Terrence Higgins Trust. Condou also works closely with Stonewall.
In 2013 Condou set up the company "Out with the Family", which puts on events for LGBT families.
Munroe Bergdorf is a transgender model and DJ. She was born in Essex but moved to Brighton to study. She was listed number 34 in the Rainbow List 2015 and number 3 in the Pride Power List 2016.
Munroe has been featured in a national advertising campaign for Uniqlo. Bergdorf was named Marie Claire’s New Beauty Icon in their Redefining Beauty feature and as one of ES Magazine’s New Feminist Icons. She’s featured in a BBC viral video "Things Not to Say to A Trans Person" and the CNN documentary My Transgender Life. Bergdorf regularly donates her time to trans youth charities and Stonewall.
Liz Carr is a British actress, stand-up comedian, and disability rights activist. Carr is originally from the North West, and later moved to London. Carr is a fantastic comedian and has appeared in many tv shows such as Too Much TV, The Crime Thriller Club, and Newsnight.
Carr co-hosted the BBC's Royal Television Society award winning OUCH! podcast with Mat Fraser from 2006-2013 and in 2011 Carr worked as a researcher for the BBC comedy panel show called Have I Got News For You.
Carr is a long-standing cast member of the celebrated BBC crime thriller series, Silent Witness as Clarissa Mullery.
Nicol Edmonds is a Soloist of The Royal Ballet. He joined the Company in 2012 from Finnish National Ballet, and was promoted to First Artist in 2014 and to Soloist in 2015.
Edmonds was born in South Devon and trained at the Elmhurst School for Dance. He graduated into Finnish National Ballet in 2010, where his repertory included Benvolio (Romeo and Juliet) and the title role in The Nutcracker.
Maja is a model and actress who has successfully graced many major magazine covers, including Vogue. Half Danish from her mum's side and half Norwegian from her dad's, she grew up in Denmark, before eventually moving to London.
Rosie Wilby is a comedian, musician, writer and broadcaster based in London.
As a comedian, she has performed at Sydney Mardi Gras, The Comedy Store, Latitude Festival and on Radio 4.
As a musician she has performed at Glastonbury Festival, Ronnie Scott's and on Carlton TV.
Robin studied both Ballroom and Latin dance eventually competing in those disciplines at the highest levels. His skills eventually led him to represent England, amassing numerous World Championships, both on the domestic and international level.
Robin was cast in Burn the Floor, which appeared on Broadway, before heading to Dancing with the Stars Australia and So You Think You Can Dance in Holland.
He joined Strictly Come Dancing in 2010 and became a household name. Robin had massive success in the 2012 series of Strictly Come Dancing with actress Lisa Riley. The pair became the people’s favourite and they took part in the Strictly Come Dancing Live Tour in 2013.
David is an English performance artist, avant-garde cabaret artist, singer, actor, comedian and film director. His performances are known to combine many disparate elements, from satirical comedy to painting, surrealism and even striptease, much of which is aggressive in nature. Hoyle's work has often focused on themes in the LGBTQ community, attacking what he sees as dominant trends in "bourgeois Britain and the materialistic-hedonistic gay scene".
His performances have led him to become "something of a legend" on the London cabaret circuit.
Ranj is a TV personality with a difference; a flourishing NHS clinician, specialising in the wellbeing of young people, and an exciting on-screen talent who can turn his hand to any subject.
He is one of the resident doctors on ITV’s leading daytime series This Morning, co-presenter of ITV’s brand new primetime series Save Money: Good Health, and co-creating host of BAFTA award-winning CBeebies series, Get Well Soon. As well as these flagship shows, Ranj can regularly be seen on other programmes as wide-ranging as: BBC’s Pointless Celebrities, Inside Out, Celebrity Eggheads, Watchdog; ITV’s Good Morning Britain,Tonight; Channel 5’s Big Brother’s Bit On The Side and 5News.
Ranj has regular columns in Attitude, Now and Family Traveller magazines, as well as being an online health correspondent for NetDoctor.
Sir Ian McKellen
Sir Ian Murray McKellen is one of Britain’s greatest actors. He’s the recipient of six Laurence Olivier Awards, a Tony Award, a Golden Globe Award, a Screen Actors Guild Award, a BIF Award, two Saturn Awards, four Drama Desk Awards, and two Critics' Choice Awards. He has also received two Oscar nominations, four BAFTA nominations and five Emmy Award nominations.
Jaymi is the lead singer in the group Union J who rose to prominence during the X Factor. Before The X Factor, he did both ballet and gymnastics, but his career as a gymnast was cut off by a broken wrist. Union J’s debut single "Carry You" was released in June 2013. Their self-titled debut studio album followed in October 2013 and reached number six on the UK Albums Chart.