Sunday, August 29, 2010

Pride Festival 2010

This was my first Pride Festival in the UK, it was quite a contrast from the Washington DC Pride which was heavily political with many people protesting against Proposition 8 and The Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policies in the US Army.

Manchester Pride seemed a lot more fun, and gay and straight people from around the country were all involved just having a party! There seemed to be more straight people than gays in some areas.

This didn’t mean that I didn’t enjoy Washington DC’s. I enjoyed being in America and at a more serious Pride and being involved fighting and protesting for the rights which sadly many Americans still don’t have like we are lucky to have here across the UK. Plus the Washington DC Pride finished with a rock concert in front of the Capital Building, which you can’t argue with. That is just pure awesome.

The Manchester parade was fantastic. Sir Ian Mckellen fronted it, one of the most famous gay actors in the world, and is from Manchester! This followed by the cast of Coronation Street, drag queens and others entertaining floats!

On the Sunday I decided to go along to the markets along Canal Street. It seemed strange having to need a wrist band to walk somewhere I walk through so regularly for free. I was speaking to one lady who lives on Canal Street, who said it took her an hour and a half to get a residents pass to get into her own house! Once I was in I grabbed some lunch and meandered along the stalls; from jewelry to dildos; they had it all.

The afternoon was spent watching the bands and having some beers in the lovely sun (which in Manchester is a rarity which needs to be appreciated before it goes away for another year). The bands were all local and absolutely fantastic. They had an interpreter for the deaf on stage; correct me if I’m wrong but I wondered what deaf people were turning up and watching lyrics? How very strange. Maybe everyone in the audience were signing and not dancing?

In between bands there was a live DJ playing all different types of music from dance to Motown to rock and roll. Everyone was dancing and people were so friendly, a real community. It was unlike gay clubs and bars; you didn’t feel like people were coming onto you, it just felt friendly and comfortable and just wanted to enjoy the day, the sun and the people. The beer went down well too!

I’d encourage anyone to go to the day events. Many people I knew were just going for the nightclubs, which to be honest you can do any weekend, and it’s a lot cheaper when its not Pride. I went for the bands and the events and had a terrific day!

Today (August 25th) is Michael Jackson’s birthday, and would have been his 52nd. I wore my MJ t-shirt to the festival, and it was so wonderful how many people came up to me to high-five me or just talk about Michael and how much they loved his music. He still lives on despite being gone. Long Live MJ!

‘Born to amuse. Born to inspire. To Delight. Here one day. Gone one night. Gone too soon.’ – Michael Jackson, (1958-2009)

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