Blog: A moment of pride for the river

Pride Month - Blog 1

At the start of Pride month, Robin Mortimer, Vice Chair Maritime UK and Chief Executive of the Port of London Authority (PLA), welcomes the contribution of the tidal Thames LGBT+ community to the river – past, present and future. 

The iconic new Woods Quay, in the shadow of Waterloo Bridge, was a double source of good news last week. 

Firstly, the quay, home to Woods Silver Fleet, was welcoming back visitors for the first time since the pandemic struck.  

With summer finally showing signs of life, it was great to be on the river socially again, for the first time in months.

And the event was a real milestone for the river community – with representatives and supporters of the tidal Thames’ LBGT+ community gathered on the quay to celebrate the start of Pride month.

Organisations linked to the river, from Teddington to the North Sea were involved, ranging from the London Fire Brigade and the Met Police, to the RNLI, Thames21 and Uber Boat by Thames Clippers. 

It was a first for the river – and felt like a celebration of that. 

Over the centuries the tidal Thames has always welcomed  - and relied on  - people of all backgrounds from around the world.  So promoting diversity – in all aspects – builds on a culturally diverse history.

Now we need to be more vocal in supporting and promoting acceptance of the LGBT+ community – whether working on the river or visiting for sport, recreation or cultural events.

The PLA as an organisation is strongly committed to making sure that everyone should feel comfortable to be themselves at work, and not feel that part of themselves must be kept under wraps in some way. 

That’s something I feel strongly about, and I know many colleagues do too – because we want the river to be a great place to work, whoever you are.

That’s why this month we are proudly flying the Pride flag on our vessels and buildings.  

This is about giving a clear message – as so many other sectors and organisations have - that LGBT+ people are totally welcome members of the river community.   

I am looking forward to more events this year, as the COVID restrictions lift.  The Thames is a great place for a celebration – and the more people who can experience that the better!

We invite you all to join Maritime UK's next Pride in Maritime Network on 23 June 2021 which is open to members of the LGBT+ community and allies. 

Guest blog written by Port of London Authority in partnership with Diversity in Maritime