Since it began in 1995, Manchester Pride has grown into the UK’s largest pride event. The four days of the August Bank Holiday weekend sees teams of thousands descend on the city to party and watch performances from the likes of Texas and Danni Minogue.

But with a tagline of Taking Pride Back To Its Roots, just a short walk from Manchester’s famous Gay Village, this year a team of volunteers are running a free two day event for the LGBT community called Political Pride. It’s designed to be an alternative to the commercial, mainstream weekend programme taking place around Canal Street.

Catherine O’Donnell, one of the organisers of Political Pride explains where the idea came from.

“It was originally conceived by LGBT Youth North West. They have a lot of young people who take part on their float in the parade every year but after it’s finished there is nowhere for them to go as they’re under 18”

“So this is an alternative space for them or people who don’t want to drink or those who want to think about what Pride was originally’’

With a weekend of events including international film screenings by Queer Story Showcase, spoken word performances, workshops and discussions, activism is very much at the heart of Political Pride.

‘’One of our events is a panel discussion called Where Do We Go From Here? For example, after same sex marriage, there are still problems with that legislation especially for the trans community. So we are thinking about what are the next things to fight, not just in the UK but globally as well. There is still obviously a lot of homophobia”

“We want to connect historical events to what’s happening today and inspire for the future.”

Amongst all the serious discussion, the organisers are also keen to stress that there is much fun to be had at their weekend of events, especially bearing in mind that with Manchester Pride taking place around the bars and clubs of Canal Street, they’re programme is very much created with young families in mind.

“There is a picnic in the park. And we have an indoor space too so if it rains it doesn’t matter!

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And there will be a lot of arts and crafts. We’re going to be doing some banner and badge making, thinking about the political side of art and how it can be used to make protest materials.

Plus great news for fans of Great British Bake Off. Political Pride is presenting an opportunity to show off your skills. With a twist.

Catherine O’Donnell explains,

“On Sunday we have a cake competition. There will be prizes for the best tasting cake but also for the best political slogan. It will be very competitive. Make Cake Not War!!!”

With support from Proud 2 B Parents, LGBT Youth North West and Manchester Metropolitan University, the overtly activism focused side of Political Pride will certainly not be to everybody’s taste. But on a weekend when the gay community are at its most visible in the city, an opportunity to hear different voices and perspectives can only be a positive step.

Political Pride takes place in venues in Manchester City Centre on 29th and 30th August.

More details can be found on their website http://politicalpride.weebly.com

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