‘Inclusive’ EuroPride Manchester Takes Shape

This originally appeared in BCN issue 60.

EuroPride, Europe’s largest Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender festival, will be held in Manchester from 15-25 August 2003, and the organisers promise a week and a half celebrating with energy and imagination the pride within the LGBT community. The event will incorporate Manchester’s annual ‘Mardi Gras’ LGBT pride festival.

The tenth festival was awarded to Manchester by the founding organisation, European Pride Organisers Association (EPOA), with the initial licence being awarded to Marketing Manchester. A EuroPride 2003 Ltd company and Steering Group are in the process of being established.

EuroPride Manchester 2003 promises to be an inclusive event and they claim that consultation is to take place with many community groups, organisations and businesses. However when BCN spoke to the organisers of the Manchester bi groups they confirmed that none of them had been invited to take part in such consultation exercises.

The programme for the extended festival is still being devised, and final details of all events will be posted on the website nearer the time.

An enlarged Mardi Gras, focused in Manchester’s gay village will take place from 22 – 25 August. This will be a time to celebrate and party whilst raising money for HIV/Aids and community organisations. The weekend will kick off with a street parade and will include the Vigil during which people can reflect on friends and family affected by HIV/AIDS. Note this means the central part of EuroPride, Mardi Gras, clashes with this year’s BiCon.

The launch weekend will kick off with activity across the city culminating in a single event in a city centre square. This event promises to be ‘family friendly and inclusive to all Manchester residents and visitors’.

Throughout the ten days, a strong cultural element will concentrate on exhibitions and performance across the city, including film, art, music, heritage activity and theatre.

Heading the sporting element of EuroPride 2003 will be the European Swimming Tournament organised by Northern Wave in the Manchester Aquatic Centre on Friday 22 August. Further sporting events are being discussed with organisations in order to include the many queer sports groups in the region.

Debate and campaigning is also to form a component of the Festival programme. The impending repeal of Section 28 (unless it has already gone) and other issues directly affecting LGBT people will be discussed among community groups, police, local authorities, health organisations and many others.

A conference co-ordinated by Manchester City Council (who are notorious for their poor stance on bisexuality despite extensive lobbying by local bi groups – Ed.) will examine these issues.