Manchester Pride (and a British Bank Holiday) wouldn’t be the same each year without at least one overcast, rainy day; the view from my room across Salford this morning was rather bleak but I still had a huge smile on my face. I was feeling refreshed this morning after getting a good night’s sleep. Spending four hours stood up waiting for Dannii Minogue was worth it but took its toll on my feet, I could barely walk home let alone stay out dancing! Her set was brilliant although I think Kerry Katona stole the show earlier in the evening, poking as much fun as herself as you’d normally see in the press.
I’ve had a great weekend with my friends, celebrating our uniqueness and diversity. There are reasons to criticise the commercialisation of pride events but that shouldn’t stop us from feeling proud about how far LGBT rights have progressed in the UK over the past few years. We should celebrate the fact we no longer need to “march” but can “parade” along the streets of Manchester, supported not only by it’s large LGBT population but our proud straight allies. We’re much luckier than millions of people across the globe who are still persecuted because of their sexuality or how they choose to define their own gender.
I’m looking forward to the HIV vigil this evening, the heart of Manchester Pride, remembering those we have lost to the virus and also spending time reflecting the struggles that those who are living with HIV face every day, especially the stigma and ignorance within our society. I’m lucky that I will be there surrounded with the support of my friends and boyfriend, without them I wouldn’t be as confident and self-assured as I am being so open about my HIV status.
Usually after Manchester Pride I like to have a few days off before heading back to the office, but this year I’m more than enthusiastic to get back to work, I had a great few first days at THT last week and can’t wait for the next few weeks and months, they’re going to be very, very busy but very exciting!