This week we quizzed Mark Fletcher the CEO of Manchester Pride himself! We asked for all the insider information on this years (2018) Manchester Pride Weekend and about the LGBT+ community.
Why have you chosen ‘The Circus of Acceptance’ as the theme for this year’s Manchester Pride Festival? (anything to do with the greatest showman ☺)
For many years the circus life was seen by many as being for those who were “different” to the norms dictated by society. It became a place where outcasts and those who felt ostracised by the rest of society, finally felt accepted.
Our parade theme this year, The Circus of Acceptance, welcomes everyone, and celebrates the different people who make up our diverse LGBT+ community; celebrating individual quirks, skills, differences and fascinations
We wanted to create a wide sense of fun while making clear that Manchester is a city that welcomes and accepts Pride welcomes all. We are after all, in a city that celebrates diversity!
Why do you feel that Pride events are still needed in a world that has become more accepting to the LGBT+ community?
It’s brilliant to see the progress that’s been made with the fight for LGBT+ equality. However, there are many, many miles to travel before we recognise true equality.
Whilst it’s true that that many Countries around the world have become more accepting, there are many more which have not. True equality has not yet been reached.
Pride celebrations provide an opportunity to celebrate the great strides taken for the advancement of LGBT+ equality, whilst also drawing focus on the many challenges still uniquely faced by LGBT+ people.
What can we expect from the Manchester Pride Festival as a whole this year?
This year is set to be a huge celebration. The Festival has a diverse offering which caters for many different tastes. Whether you want to join in to show support by simply watching the City’s largest annual parade, experience one of the free events hosted at The Superbia Weekend at 70 Oxford Road, or come along to see one of the many performing artists at The Big Weekend, you’ll be spoilt for choice.
There are new additions at The Big Weekend this year, including a stage takeover by Bongo’s Bingo, a drag brunch and there may be a few surprises.
The City Centre will, once again be a hive of activity buzzing with vibrant colour.
What are you looking forward to most at this year’s pride event?
The parade. I like to walk the route of the parade as people are lining up to watch. Seeing thousands of families with young children coming along to watch the parade and show support provides great reminder of why Pride events are so important.
Are there any special surprise guests planned for the Big Weekend, like last year’s Take That!
I’ve learnt to remain quiet on such topics!
Who would be your ultimate headlining act?
Jay-Z. Obviously this could never happen with the restrictions of the event location. However, given the nature of his family set up (his mum recognises as a lesbian) and the world he works in, he makes for a great LGBT+ ally.
The thought of him performing in a little car park in Manchester’s Gay Village, makes me smile.
Second to Jay-Z maybe somebody from his record label… Rita Ora perhaps 😉
Can you tell us about the ongoing work Manchester Pride do as a charity throughout the year?
Manchester Pride is a charity , and whilst The Manchester Pride Festival is our flag ship celebratory event, there is much more to charity than meets the eye.
Our key goals are to celebrate LGBT life, Campaign for LGBT+ equality, and engage LGBT+ people through culture. We achieve this through the delivery of events and activities throughout the year.
One of the newer innovations for the charity is our “Superbia” programme. Superbia is Manchester Pride’s year round calendar of culture. The programme showcases events for by and about LGBT+ people throughout Greater Manchester with a key aim to reduce social isolation experiences by LGBT+ people throughout the region.
This year you can expect to see a lot more campaigning from Manchester Pride as we work with other Pride organisers throughout the world to unite in our stance for shaping a better world for LGBT+ people.