Oxford Pride History

how it all started

With a colourful queer history dating back some 600 years, Oxford Pride continues the tradition of celebrating Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Asexual people and persons of other sexual orientations, gender identity or expression, and sex characteristics in Oxfordshire by providing information, education, and entertainment in a welcoming and inclusive environment.


at the beginning...

The idea of starting a Pride event in Oxford began in 2002 at the celebration of the Queen's Golden Jubilee when the two gay pubs on Paradise Street, The Jolly Farmers and The Castle Tavern, held a street party with barbecues, games and entertainment. The event was so popular that people began talking about organising a local Pride event


1st pride day

On Saturday 3rd May 2003 Oxford saw its first Pride Day held in Oxpens Meadow by the River Thames. In 2005 Oxford Pride moved from May to July in the search for better weather


1st Pride Parade

The first Oxford Pride Parade took place on Pride Day in 2008. Starting in the Castle Quarter, people marched with flags, banners and whistles, past the LGBTQIA+ pubs on Paradise Street and St Thomas Street, past the Coven nightclub, then continued on to the event at Oxpens.


official pride date

The date was changed to early June in 2009 to the weekend after the bank holiday when Birmingham Pride usually took place. This change also encouraged more involvement by staff and students from the universities, who were invited and took part in the first 10-day Arts and Culture Festival.

becoming a charity

Oxford Pride successfully restructured to become a registered charity in 2012. This provided potential new funding opportunities to help with the relentless task of maintaining free community events.


Moving to city centre

Oxford Pride relocated into the city centre in 2015, returning to Paradise Street and expanded throughout the Castle Quarter with the rainbow flag flying from St Georges Tower. The Pride Parade route changed in 2016, starting at Radcliffe Square, then winding its way down Broad Street and Cornmarket towards Paradise Street and the Castle Quarter.


New Logo

In 2018, inspired by the literal meaning of Oxford - known as a place for Oxen to cross the river since 900AD - a new logo was developed. The vibrant head of an Ox incorporates colours from the many flags representing sexual orientation, gender identity and expression.


An even bigger pride

2019 was a very successful year for Oxford Pride with events every month and Pride Day expanding into Leiden Square in the Westgate Centre. Commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellion (New York, 1969) the Oxford Pride Festival began on May 17 (IDAHoBIT) with flagstones painted at Bonn Square followed by a reception at the Randolph Hotel.


Global Pandemic

The global pandemic affected all Pride organisations around the world and Oxford Pride, like many others, were only able to hold online events in 2020 and 2021.

the big comeback

Oxford Pride returned to the streets in 2022. This was the largest and most successful year for Oxford Pride so far. The event saw many young people experiencing their first Pride after the pandemic years. New venues and offerings such as an indoor family zone with artist led crafts and a quiet zone in County Hall were introduced to increase inclusivity.

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