This bank holiday weekend marks the Manchester Pride Big Weekend
Manchester Pride is one of the world’s leading pride events – celebrating the diversity of the region’s LGBT communities and raising money for local LGBT and HIV organisations.
This year the festival is dedicated to the LGBT communities of St Petersburg. Last year, the Russian city – which Manchester is twinned with – introduced repressive anti-gay laws that which have now been adopted across Russia. Festival goers and parade spectators are being encouraged to send messages of support to the city by filling in special luggage tags. The tags will be displayed over the weekend before being passed to Manchester City Council for delivery to their counterparts in St Petersburg.
Greater Manchester’s Police and Crime Commissioner Tony Lloyd said: “We’ve come so far in this country in how lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people are treated – it’s something we can be genuinely proud of and acts as a beacon of hope for those LGBT people who are living in oppressive regimes elsewhere. The fact that I, along with senior police and rank and file officers and staff from GMP and across the country, will be marching in the Pride parade is a clear demonstration of how equality is now embedded into the fabric of our society.
“Manchester Pride is both a celebration and a symbol and I’m proud that Greater Manchester Police takes such an active role in supporting the event. I hope everyone attending this weekend has a safe and enjoyable time.”
Staff from Tony’s office will be at a stand at the Pride Expo in the Gay Village throughout the weekend to talk about Tony’s work and listen to any concerns that LGBT people have about policing in their area. They’ll also be giving out stickers with the simple message: “stay safe – stay proud”.
Hundreds of police officers and staff will march with Tony in the parade on Saturday, in the world’s largest display of active police participation in a Pride parade. The event is organised by the Police with Pride group, which comprises police from GMP and other North West police services.
Progress on the equality agenda in the UK was one of the themes discussed at a Manchester Pride Fringe debate hosted by Tony earlier this week. At the event, community leaders, police, activists and LGBT people considered how far things had moved on, and how the police and community could work together better to deal with issues such as hate crime, particularly against trans people, and safety in Manchester’s world-famous Gay Village.
The event was supported by Manchester City Council, The Lesbian and Gay Foundation, Manchester Pride and Manchester City Council. It will be broadcast by Gaydio, the UK’s leading – and Manchester-based – LGBT radio station at a later date.
For more information about Manchester Pride, and what’s on over the Big Weekend, visit their website.
Details of road closures over the Pride weekend are also available here.
Manchester Pride concludes with what many consider to be the centrepiece of the event, the George House Trust Candlit Vigil in Sackville Gardens. The vigil commemorates those who have lost their lives to HIV and looks at how Manchester people can play their part in the global fight against the epidemic. Big Weekend tickets are not required for the event, but it’s advised to get there early.