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Ian McKellen kicks off Pride in London celebrations

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Jun 26, 2014 | 8:22am EDT

Sir Ian Mckellen helped kick off the 2014 gay pride celebrations in London on Wednesday (25Jun14). The Lord of The Rings actor was the guest of honour at the Pride in London Gala Dinner, which was held at the official residence of Lord Mayor Fiona Woolf. The event marked the launch of the Pride in London festivities, which include a parade on Saturday (28Jun14) and performances by singers Sinitta and Samantha Fox and Eurovision Song Contest winner Conchita Wurst. McKellen gave a speech at the gala launch, and spoke about a meeting with late actor Sir Alec Guinness, who was long rumoured to have been bisexual, in which the Stars Wars legend urged him not to become an active member of the gay rights drive. According to Gaystarnews.com, McKellen the crowd, "Alec Guinness took me out to lunch and said, 'You really should not, as a leading actor, have anything to do with anything political... I beg you not to do it.' That was self-hatred." During the speech, the actor also voiced his hope that a top soccer player in Britain will 'come out' and break down taboos over gay stars in sport, adding, "My preference is that he is cute." Guests at the dinner included pop star Will Young, who tweeted throughout the event and hailed McKellen's talk as "fantastic".

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