Written by Lynsey Oxton
The rainbows returned as Pride season continued here in Manchester this weekend, painting the town red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple!
And it wasn’t just the rainbows that brightened the city, Manchesters most famous resident got a colourful makeover too!
Manchester Pride has been a much loved annual festival (and one of the longest running in the UK, no less) since 1985. Lasting four days over the Bank Holiday Weekend, the Manchester Pride Live festivities kicked off on Friday evening in the Gay Village with live music, a funfair, sing-along cinemas and lip-sync battles….
Although I didn’t attend myself, I did manage to catch the preparations – and it definitely looked ready to host the many thousands that would descend on Canal Street only a few hours later!
The Pride Parade took place on Saturday afternoon, starting at midday. I managed to find a top spot on the corner of Deansgate, right near the starting point – the perfect vantage point, camera poised….
This year’s theme was ‘Deep Space Pride’ – a future world of equality – celebrating 50 years since the Stonewall Riots in New York.
Despite baking in 28 degree heat (who says Manchester only ever rains?!), the next three hours as a spectator were nothing short of brilliant; happy faces and vibrant colour everywhere – and some awesome tunes to boot! You couldn’t fail to love it!
It goes without saying that a Pride parade is not complete without drag queens and kings – and Manchester has one of the biggest drag scenes on the planet! This year’s parade saw contestants from RuPaul’s Drag Race add to the glamour-fest.
In fact, being fabulous was the order of the day. Afterall, if you got it, you gotta flaunt it (it would be rude not to).
Manchester’s favourite soap, Coronation Street also made an appearance in time honoured tradition, complete with sparkly stars for Deidre, Vera and Jack (RIP). Respect! ✊🏻
At Pride, EVERYONE is welcome, irrespective of gender, sexuality, race, religion, age – and furry status.
Throughout the event, Greater Manchester Police did a sterling job controlling the crowds (and also helping pick up the freebies that didn’t quite make it over the crowd barriers – gracias!). Some of the biggest cheers during the march came for the Police, National Crime Agency and the Emergency Services, without who we would no doubt have more hate crime and related deaths. Well done guys!
Whilst Pride is great fun with a strong party spirit, it shouldn’t be forgotten that this is still a protest for LGBTQ+ rights. How can we still live in a world where, in parts, just being yourself is considered ‘punishable’ by death penalty? It just makes no sense. And it’s appalling. And that is why marching for Pride is so important.
So, after an achy jaw from smiling, a rapidly dying phone battery, a bag load of freebies and a sunburnt shoulder, I made my way home. Much as I’d have liked to stay and soak up the atmosphere longer, I had an afternoon restaurant booking with my name on it!
I’ve put together a Manchester Pride video too! Find it on my Instagram @lynseystravelblog