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Here at the LGBT young people’s organisation, The Proud Trust, we have been gearing up for another year of Manchester Pride celebrations! We are proud to be running a host of free Summer events for young people aged 14-25, and their families, before marching and dancing to the theme of “Graduation” at the Pride Parade on 26th August 2017.
For some of our staff and young people, this year’s Manchester Pride is not their first rodeo, but for those who are curious to come along for the first time, we have penned some stories of our own first Pride experiences and come up with some recommendations.
- Meet your community, or make new friends in it!
There’s so much going on around the city centre in the run-up to Pride’s big weekend, so be sure to connect with people around you. One of the best things about Pride is the overwhelming sense of community you feel: to be part of a group, to meet people just like you, or to just be in the same space as so many other people who are all celebrating for the same reason. L, a 14 year old lesbian who attends our youth groups and is attending her first Pride this year, says “I'm looking forward to Manchester pride because Manchester is such a culturally diverse city, and I'm excited to celebrate who I am with similar people”.
Less of a social butterfly? We’ve got it covered. Lots of other LGBT+ folks are also anxious, shy, or nervous to make friends, and there are plenty of spaces that are open and welcoming. If you want to come to any of our events, and you are aged under 25, you can let us know by sending us a text! Sally would love to sign you up to any of our many different events, and she can be reached at 07900680725.
- Bring supplies.
We all know what Manchester weather can be like. Half the time, we bring umbrellas at the start of the Parade, only to need sunglasses by the time it is finishing. Other essentials include badges with LGBT slogans on, glitter, and snacks. Many of our Pride events include free lunch, and if you’re at an event run by our youth worker, Hebe, you can be sure to expect to find some free glitter too!
- Pick what’s best for you.
Some of us at The Proud Trust absolutely love to camp and play sports, whilst others think it is their worst nightmare and would much rather draw and listen to music. Some of us are huge talkers and some of us love quieter spaces. Everyone’s different, and not all Pride events will be your cup of tea. 17 year old J from The Proud Trust is most looking forward to marching, out of all the activities, “I'm really looking forward to Manchester Pride. Just marching. I'll finally find out what it's like to be part of the big LGBT family”.
We’ve got a range of activities going on, so there’s bound to be something for you. We have a BBQ for lesbian, bisexual, and pansexual women on 24th August from 4.30-7pm. We’re meeting for tea and toast before the Pride Parade at 10am on 26th August. Or, if you’re a proud parent, we have an afternoon tea fundraising event at our LGBT Centre on 22nd August from 6.30-8.30pm. You’ll get sarnies, hot drinks and cake for £7.50 each. Send Sally a text if you’re interested, there’s only 25 spaces!
- Play games!
Suitable for sporting superstars and beginners alike. Whether you want to win first place or support your friends in a team, we’ve got the space for you. Chloe is running a Fun Sports Day from 1-3pm on 23rd August at Gartside Gardens, followed by Pride Youth Games at Whitby Hall in Ellesmere Port from 10.30am-6pm on 2nd September. Let her know you’re interested by texting 07519814905.
- Listen to other people’s coming out stories
We all come out in so many different ways. By accident, when we meet our first partner, or sometimes by leading our lives as LGBT without formally telling those around us. If it’s your first Pride and you’re still questioning your identity, you can come along to the Animation Showcase at the People’s History Museum on 22nd August from 11am-1pm. Plenty of young people will be sharing their coming out stories for you to listen to, learn from and relate to!
- Get ready to be IN the Parade!
One of the best parts of Pride for us is preparing the float and the costumes with young people. Every year, we work in collaboration to share ideas and get creative as a team. This year, we are preparing this at our Pride Summer School from 14-18th August 2017, 11am-4pm.
There’s nothing more exciting than waving at the crowds, dancing to music and wearing costumes you’ve designed with friends throughout the Parade! See what one of our young people who went to their first Pride last year has to say:
“It’s awesome being in the parade and just feeling the wonderful sense of belonging and community that Pride gives you. For me, it’s massively enhanced by The Proud Trust’s youth groups.” - D, 14.
- Remember that LGBT spaces can be safe spaces
Pride can be an intimidating place if you’ve recently come out, or if you’re not out to everyone in your life. You might be worried that someone at college might bump into you, or that your parents might find out - we completely understand. Here at The Proud Trust, we can introduce you to people in a similar position and help to keep you safe and not ‘out’ you to anyone. A, 17, from one of our youth groups, has felt supported in going to Pride this year “I decided to go this year as it’s much safer and more fun in a group. As someone who has recently come out as trans, my parents love that I have a safe space to have fun without having to be with them. I’m looking forward to seeing my friends and taking pictures”.
- Get political
Remember, Pride started as a protest! Pride has historically been a place to bring people together and celebrate diversity. Our youth worker, Chloe, shared her first Pride experience: “I was 16 when I went to my first pride in Birmingham. I was really excited as it was the first 'gay thing' I'd ever been to and such a big event! I went with my friend (who was a big tall goth lesbian and I thought she was so cool!!) and we watched the parade and went into the area where all the clubs, stalls and rides were. I saw lots of other brown LGBT people too which was amazing because, as a young brown gay person, this wasn't something I'd seen much anywhere! The music and atmosphere was great and I met a handful of new people on that day - someone who became my best friend and later girlfriend! We are still close friends now!”.
Being a young LGBT person today can feel very different to 10 or 20 years ago, but there are still challenges to be faced. At The Proud Trust, we are committed to working together to empower each other and impact society in a positive way. On 8th and 9th August, we are running a Young People’s Rights course with 42nd Street. We will explore how young people can feel powerless in an adult’s world, what young people’s rights are, and how we can use our rights responsibly to build a more cooperative and caring culture. We believe we can have a positive change on the lives of others, and this free course explores young people’s role in society. This is especially great for if you’re still figuring out your identity, as a more political way to prepare for Pride season.