With Pride events happening across the UK, many LGBTQ+ people and allies will be thinking about attending different celebrations and political events. There has recently been an increase in violence at LGBTQ+ protests and events, mainly by people who aren't really there because of the cause, they just want to make trouble.

We have created this resource to give LGBTQ+ young people practical advice on staying safe at protests and marches, as well as at events like Pride.


Stay cool and hydrated

With temperatures set to reach 30 degrees in many areas this summer, it’s important that you stay safe when out and about, and especially if walking long distances.

Remember to:

  • Stay hydrated. Bring a large water bottle if you can carry it, or money to buy water along the way. Many cafés and bars will give out free tap water if you ask them
  • Wear sun cream. The British Association of Dermatologists recommends you use sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30
  • Try to keep out of the sun between 11am to 3pm, when the UV rays are strongest
  • Wear cool, flowing clothes, a hat and sensible shoes like trainers or sandals with arch support. Take plasters with you if your footwear starts to rub!

Mermaids also have some advice on summer safety for people who wear binders.

And here’s a reminder from the amazing Munroe Bergdorf:

 


People on certain medications can have a strong reaction to sun and heat

The NHS have issued important guidance on heat stroke and heat exhaustion.

They advise that you should call 999 if you or someone else have any signs of heatstroke:

  • feeling unwell after 30 minutes of resting in a cool place and drinking plenty of water
  • not sweating even while feeling too hot
  • a high temperature of 40C or above
  • fast breathing or shortness of breath
  • feeling confused
  • a fit (seizure)
  • loss of consciousness
  • not responsive

Heatstroke can be very serious if not treated quickly.

Put the person in the recovery position if they lose consciousness while you're waiting for help.

People who take psychiatric medication are often more sensitive to sun and heat. Click here for more information on which medications might have an impact, and what you can do to stay safe in hot weather.

Some people on hormones may experience hot flushes which are made worse by the hot weather. Follow the advice above to stay safe!

 


Sexual Health

Many people will want to explore their identities and connect with other people, especially in positive atmospheres like Pride. If you’re dating or hooking up with people then have a look at our guide to dating safely.

LGBT Foundation have some great resources including Sex Guides, advice on Chemsex and Sex Work post-Covid. You can also contact them in confidence if you need advice or are worried about your sexual health.

Many organisations hand out free Safe Sex packs at Pride, so make sure you take as many as you need! You can also find your nearest sexual health clinic to get free advice and contraception.

 


Safe use of drugs and alcohol/looking after friends

If you are determined to take drugs, be aware that you cannot be certain what they contain and so moderation is key. Talk to Frank has lots of useful information and advice about different drugs.

Make sure you have friends with you who are aware of what you have taken and how much of it. Ideally you should ensure that at least one of your group remains sober so that they can take care of you should things go wrong.

If you are drinking alcohol make sure you have eaten properly and that you alternate with water so that you stay hydrated.

Make sure your phone has plenty of battery for making calls, consider using a ‘Find My Friends’ app (available on Appleand Android) for the day and agreed a place or landmark to meet at should you get split up.

If you or your friends get into trouble at an event you should go to the nearest Help Point or First Aid tent. Speak to a steward or security staff if you’re not sure what to do.


What to do if things go wrong at a protest, march or event

  • Ensure that when attending events such as protests or marches you don’t go alone. Plan to go with a group of friends or reach out to local community groups to see if you can attend with them.
  • As stated above, it’s a good idea to make a safety plan with your friends before the event. Decide between you a safe space to meet if you get separated or if the situation is becoming violent and you need to leave.

  • Ensure your meeting space is somewhere you’re all familiar with & can get to easily, consider using the ‘Find My Friends’ app for the day and make sure your phones are all fully charged – consider taking portable battery packs with you, just in case.

  • Ensure that you carry enough money to get home safely too. Sometimes taxis and public transport can be disrupted when large events are happening so make sure you take extra precautions and make a plan b just in case such as checking which transport is definitely still running, booking a taxi in advance, or arranging somewhere close to the event to stay for the night.

  • Be careful around any police dogs or horses – animals can be unpredictable.

  • Look after yourself and the people around you. Certain people may have more difficulty navigating their way to safety in large crowds, such as children, older people or those with disabilities. Everyone has an equal right to be present at a march, protest or other event, so support each other if you can.

  • Trust your instincts. If you feel that a situation is escalating, or you feel unsafe - leave. Remember, your safety is more important than anything else.


What to do if you are stopped or detained by police

If you are stopped you should:

  • Stay calm and treat the interaction as you would any other conversation. Do not respond with verbal abuse as this could be viewed as aggressive behaviour that could escalate the situation

  • Ask for the officer’s details – in particular, make sure you see the officer’s badge or warrant card, and note down their collar number

  • Ask what grounds you have been stopped on

  • In most circumstances, you don’t have to stop or answer any questions. If you don’t, and there’s no other reason to suspect you, then this alone can’t be used as a reason to search or arrest you. If you’re uncertain, you can ask the officer whether you are being detained or whether you are free to leave and walk away 
  • If the officer has reasonable grounds to believe you are carrying illegal drugs, a weapon, stolen property or something that could be used to commit a crime (such as a crowbar) then they can search you. Ask what they think they might find (this can also let you know if the areas they are searching are appropriate). An officer can ask you to take off your coat, jacket or gloves. They can also ask you to remove clothing worn for religious reasons, or other items of clothing but if they do this they must take you to a more private area out of public view

  • You do not have to give your name or address unless the officer points out an offence they suspect you have committed. However, not providing your details may lead to you being detained for longer
  • Ask for a written record or receipt of the search. If the officer cannot provide one, they should give you information on how you can get one. You can collect the receipt for up to 3 months following the search at the police station – it’ll be easier to do this if you have the officer’s collar number
  • If you are arrested you should request a legal advisor as soon as possible – you can ask for a duty solicitor or can contact a specific representative (for more information on this, see Green & Black Cross Bustcards at the link below). If you are under the age of 17 an adult must be present. This can be a member of your family, a guardian or a social worker

  • If you think you have been mistreated and want to make a complaint, you can do so by calling 101, in person at your local police station, online at Make a complaint | Independent Office for Police Conduct, or via a community rights organisation such as Y-Stop, citizen’s advice or by contacting a solicitor

If you are stopped, you can record the interaction on your phone so long as it does not interfere or obstruct the officer – this is an offence so be careful. If you are with a friend you could ask them to record the interaction instead so as not to obstruct. If you would like to record, politely and calmly tell the officer that you are going to take out your phone first (if you reach into your pocket without warning this runs the risk of being misinterpreted as a threat).

Some officers do not like being filmed and might ask you to stop – however they can only take your phone from you if they suspect it has been stolen. You can download the Y-Stop app for use in recording. If your phone is taken from you during filming, the footage will automatically be sent to them.

If you are attending a protest, march or other event where police may be present it may be useful to print & bring a bustcard with you for accessible information on legal representation & guidance if stopped while at a protest. Green & Black Cross have prepared useful cards that you can print depending on your local area.

You can check the government’s website for more specific information about police powers.

 


Other ways people can get involved in community spaces activism and campaigning if they don't want to join these kinds of events

Many grassroots and community groups, such as the Outside Project in London, organise smaller Pride events. You can also find information on local Pride events here.

Renowned for iconic, queer throwdowns Queer House Party is the award-winning virtual LGBTIQ+ party that brings you the best drag, performers, and DJs from London and beyond all in an accessible online community space, broadcasted live to wherever you are.

Eventbrite advertises hundreds of free and low-cost virtual and in-person Pride events from all over the world!

You can use your social media channels to amplify activist voices and spread awareness of the events so that others can attend.

You can write to your MP: WriteToThem - Email your Councillor, MP, MSP, MS, MLA or London Assembly Member for free

You can also consider fundraising for related charities and/or making a donation.

Mermaids have some great advice on amplifying your voice

The London LGBTQ+ Centre, Proud Trust and many other LGBTQ+ centres across the UK, also offer space, sober spaces for LGBTQ+ people. Find your local youth group here and get in touch to see what they’re planning for Pride.


Quotes:  

In a world of online activism and a society where we still face hate and discrimination, Pride can offer us a physical platform to celebrate, unify and protest - to make sure we are all heard and we secure the rights we all deserve.

- Tim Sigsworth, CEO of akt

I am always so impressed with the vigour, enthusiasm and passion of young lgbtq+ people, who understand the urgency of our current moment with such clarity. i'm inspired by a younger generation of lgbtq+ people who, faced with a world that is constantly pushing back against them, keep pushing forward, showing up and showing out. "

This generation will absolutely not be silenced, and as someone who's been fighting for Black LGBTQ+ people and QTIPOC to have their voices heard, I am encouraged that the work many of us have done for generations is not only appreciated, but will be carried forward and built upon to ensure we all live in the world we deserve.

My heroes are the many, often invisible, Black women who came before me and who fight alongside me now, and you: the young LGBTQ+ people.

Do not give up. Do not be silenced. Me and many others are not only rooting for you, but standing right there next to you.

- lady phyll, founder of UK Black Pride akt patron

It’s important to remember as a young person that your safety and well-being must always come first- if you’re burned out encourage those around you to show up to events whether it be digital or online. Our allies are important – encourage them to pass the mic and amplify your voice.

If you do not feel safe in a space, quietly leave if you do not feel up for vocalising why you don’t feel safe and just say you’re tired if you need a quick pass to leave without questions asked. Encourage those more privileged to fight for you so you can preserve your energy for surviving and trying to thrive in the world.

- Phoenix, Fundraising Assistant (Kickstarter)

To my fellow autistics and anyone else who may suffer from overstimulation.

Pride is a time of celebration and with that comes lots of sensory input. Loud music, bright colours, streets full of people combined with the summer heat can be a little overwhelming. My best piece of advice is taking it easy and be kind to yourself. If you are going to Pride with others let them know the difficulties you face, and perhaps suggest an accommodation for you, such as a quick escape to a quiet corner in a coffee shop, or time alone with noise cancelling headphones.

Please ensure that you are taking moments to check in with yourself, to keep hydrated and fed, as the excitement can overwhelm these needs. But most of all remember that you do not HAVE to leave the house to celebrate Pride, perhaps an online movie night or taking part in an Online pride event and remember that your safety and comfort is more important than any social pressure to attend.

- Erin, Digital Services Assistant (Kickstarter)