Monday 30 August 2021

Manchester Pride has become a purposeless Bacchanalia

Profit before purpose

The August Bank Holiday Weekend in Manchester has for long been set aside for the celebration of Manchester Gay Pride, though the Gay has been dropped from the name to make the festival that starts from Friday through Monday more widely celebratory or possibly more commercially palatable to the mainstream.

One can see that our city has had an influx of patrons who are here to revel and party along with anything else they can get up to. Yet, I cannot say we are as residents that the Manchester Pride apparently represents are happy with the state of affairs. Manchester Pride is now a business.

More profit without purpose

Yet, the roots of LGBTQI+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transsexual, Queer, Intersex and other related identity groups) Pride are in agitation, protest, activism, and campaigns against persecution, prosecution, discrimination, injustice, abuse of power and authority, violence, harassment, unfairness and the denial of common rights and privileges enjoyed by mainstream society. [Wikipedia: Pride parade]

At the beginning of the month, we learnt that Manchester Pride will no more be supporting key community support charities as the LGBT Foundation’s condoms and lube initiative and George House Trust that supports people living with HIV. [BBC News: Manchester Pride ends support for safer sex scheme]

Losing the reason for existence

For years, we have enjoyed the celebration and supported the activism to ensure the humanity of LGBTQI+ people are respected and not violated by political, civil, religious, social, or economic groups whilst also ensuring influential interests do no negate the progress in human rights gained in the last half-century.

The freedoms we have in the West compared with the absence of such in many countries around the world where LGBTQI+ people face persecution and capital punishment calls for constant sober reflection, the causes fought for and won here still need the support of the free to gain traction and victories where those like us have none.

This is not to agitate against festivities; indeed, we must celebrate, but not lose purpose or focus on community support and partnership locally and beyond. Sadly, Manchester Pride has become a project without a cause and as it is now, bereft of purpose.

This is not our pride

In my 8 years of living in Manchester, each year the Pride parade was passed in front of my apartment block, I bring a folding chair out of my home to sit and watch the apparent celebration of all. The parade did not happen because of the pandemic last year and this year, they have concentrated on partying on the premise that artists who have had a bad pandemic year need more support.

Even though I have never attended any of the concerts, I have contributed to Manchester Pride until 3 years ago when it became obvious that representation and community engagement was less an impetus for their existence. Having built on the success of LGBTQI+ activism, they have now abandoned that for the commerce and profit at the expense of those they portend to represent.

There is no doubt that there is a need to arrest the decline of purpose with a change of the trusteeship, executive, and management of Manchester Pride, the sooner, the better for the good of all. This is not our pride; it is just a Bacchanalia that has usurped an LGBTQI+ identity.

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