Happy Pride Month my loves! No matter how you identify or who you love, June is the month to celebrate all things LGBTQIA+, and Manchester is an amazing city to do that in! With an exuberant collection of LGBTQIA+ friendly bars, clubs and venues, including a whole street nicknamed ‘Gay village’ and an ever-growing Pride event, Manchester is an excellent place to discover who you are and celebrate that!
June is recognised as Pride month due to the anniversary of the Stonewall Riots in 1969, which were a key turning point for the LGBTQ+ community and where it stands today. A year after these events saw the first organised march – back then named Christopher Street Gay Liberation Day – which was attended by nearly 15,000 people, which since has blossomed into the Pride marches and events we recognise today.
Manchester’s first Pride event was held in 1985 with support from new Labour party councillors who had recently been elected. In two years this event grew so that in 1986 the City Council provided £1700 towards the event. The local bars that took part worked together to raise money for local AIDS organisations with the support of the gay community, and it was with this fundraising in mind that the events kept growing and an official charity was born. Today that charity still works endlessly to not only provide an incredible event for the LGBTQ+ community but to also raise money and awareness for issues the community still faces. They also provide grants and bursaries to various organisations in Manchester that are working for the cause.
Manchester Pride is a giant event, focusing on six key elements of the Festival – Equality, Arts & Culture, Community, Party, Activism and Youth & Family. They host countless events that will ensure all of these key elements are met, meaning the Festival can be educational and empowering, as well as celebratory. Some of their key events include The Gay Village Party, MCR Pride Live, the Pride Parade, Family Pride, and to close off the event the Candlelit Vigil, which is free to attend and allows celebrators to have a moment of reflection on what the events are for.
All things going well, Manchester Pride are still planning to go ahead with their Festival this year, a celebration that is sure to be filled with even more joy than normal after the year we’ve all faced. Whether you want to attend the Gay Village Party or grab a ticket to MCR Pride Live, there’s going to be something for everyone to enjoy. You can find more information about their event here.
Whether you’re discovering how you identify on this crazy planet, or you’re learning how to be a better ally to your LGBTQIA+ friends, the ICTheatre family encourages acceptance and inclusivity within its walls. Manchester is a wonderful city to do this in – and the same can be said for Brighton, where our other campus resides. ICTheatre has student support mentors on hand if you ever need someone to talk to, and a friendly ear is never far away.
If you fancy doing some more research in the spirit of Pride Month, I’ve gathered some resources as a place for you to start:
Over at our partner college Screen and Film School, some of the faculty have compiled a list of what they consider to be the most essential LGBTQ+ films and TV shows; you can read all about them here!
The Gay Village
If you’re looking for somewhere to feel safe and free to be yourself, you’ll want to take a visit to one of the many venues in the Gay Village! A rich history that feeds into everything pride related, Gay Village is a hub of LGBTQ+ friendly bars, clubs and restaurants. Be sure to stop by to support some of the many local businesses – more information can be found here.
If you have any worries about coming out or finding your identity, or even if you just want more knowledge, The Proud Trust is an excellent charity for supporting LGBTQ+ Youth in Manchester. You can find out more and how to contact them here.
Trying to figure things out, or want more resources to better understand your peers? You can find a whole host of information on the Be You Project’s website here.
Whatever way you may choose to celebrate this month, I wish you all a very happy Pride. Out and proud, still figuring things out or celebrating your LGBTQIA+ friends, Pride is a month for love and support. All of us here at ICTheatre wish you all the best, and we look forward to continuing to celebrate everyone on this planet, whoever they are.
Author: Charley Morgan, ICTheatre Graduate 2020