As part of the Love is GREAT campaign, the UK government will participate in local Pride events in 10 cities across the U.S. to highlight the UK as a champion of LGBT equality and a global leader in human rights across policy, business, arts and culture, and tourism.
The UK is recognized as one of the most progressive countries in the world for LGBT rights and a welcoming destination for all. To celebrate this, between June and October 2016, the British Embassy Washington, the UK Mission to the UN, and each of the eight British Consulates will participate in marches and events in their consular regions – Atlanta, Boston, Dallas, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Salt Lake City, and San Francisco.
The UK is the first foreign government to participate in Pride on such a significant scale. This will be the British Embassy’s fourth year participating in DC’s Capital Pride; in 2015 the British Ambassador was the first-ever Ambassador to walk in the parade.
In 2015, the UK received the highest score in Europe for LGBTI rights, with 86% progress toward “respect of human rights and full equality,” according to the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association.
The country has had civil partnerships for over a decade, and equal marriage passed in 2014, under the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013. In 2002, same-sex couples were granted equal rights to adopt. Since 2005, transgender people can change their legal gender in the UK, granting them a new birth certificate and affording them full legal recognition of their acquired sex. Today, there are 35 LGB MPs in the Parliament of the United Kingdom, which in 2016, was the most in any parliament around the world.
The work of the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) supports this commitment to LGBT equality in British diplomatic posts worldwide, including the British Embassy Washington and British Consulates in eight cities across the U.S. The FCO is proud to have a number of LGBT Heads of Mission posted around the world, including in countries such as Greece, Israel, Mauritius, and Ukraine. This year marks the 25th anniversary of FLAGG (Foreign Office Lesbian & Gay Group), which actively works to ensure that being LGBT is no barrier to a successful career in the FCO. This year the U.S. network has launched FLAGG USA.
LOVE IS GREAT
The Love is GREAT campaign was launched by VisitBritain, the national tourism agency responsible for inspiring the world to explore Britain, in 2014 to welcome the new same-sex marriage law in England, Wales and Scotland and reinforces the fact that Britain is an all-embracing choice for LGBT visitors, with unique experiences – from city breaks to countryside escapes – which are easily accessible and open to all regardless of sexuality.
To coincide with U.S. Pride events, VisitBritain has launched a nationwide competition for a chance to win a trip to Britain to experience the array of choices the destination provides for LGBT travelers. Contestants can enter on the Love is GREAT page visitbritain.com/LGBT for a chance to win a trip for two to London and Dorset.
The prize includes round-trip economy flights to London; two nights’ accommodation in The Montague on the Gardens, London and two nights’ accommodation at the Summer Lodge Country House Hotel, Restaurant and Spa in beautiful Dorset, courtesy of Red Carnation Hotels; round-trip train tickets to Dorset and London Travel Cards for four days.
The competition opens June 9 and closes October 16, 2016, with the trip to be taken between November 2016 and March 2017. Blackout dates apply. Full terms and conditions are available here. Open to U.S. residents only. All may enter regardless of sexual orientation.
Additionally, the VisitBritain website lists an array of choices for the LGBT traveler, including Pride parades, LGBT arts and cultural festivals, LGBT sports and activities clubs, Britain’s best gay and lesbian nightlife, plus a vast spectrum of gay-owned and gay-welcoming accommodation throughout England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland. It also contains mini gay guides to cities including London, Brighton, Birmingham, Belfast, Cardiff, Edinburgh, and Manchester.
This year is a milestone for LGBT experiences in Britain, including LGBT film festivals BFI Flare and Iris Prize Festival, the London Gay Men’s Chorus, the 20th anniversary of Birmingham Pride, GMFA Gay Sports Day and Britain’s top-ranking gay football team Stonewall FC – all of whom celebrate special anniversaries in 2016.