'Gay Pride' 2008

A bit about what is going on around the UK this summer to celebrate 'Gay Pride' in Blackpool, Sheffield, Manchester, London and Brighton

Richard Dyer

Date published: 24th Apr 2008

A bit of history
On June 27, 1969 a group of men rioted following a police raid on the Stonewall Inn, a Gay bar at 43 Christopher street New York city. The late Miss Stephen Whittaker  a transgender rights activist and founding member of both the Gay Liberation Front and the Gay Activists Alliance , is credited by many as the first to actually strike back at the police  and, in so doing, spark the rebellion. Further protests and rioting continued for several nights following the raid. The Stonewall riots are generally considered to be 
the beginning of the modern gay rights movement.
Gay Liberation Front  and Gay Activist Alliance in the early post-Stonewall era, coordinated the first month anniversary rally and then the "Christopher Street Gay Liberation Day March" on the 28th of June  1970 to commemorate the first year anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellion. First year anniversary marches organized by other groups were also held in San Francisco and Los Angeles in 1970.
Brenda Howard, a militant activist who has been involved in LGBT rights actions for over three decades ,
originated the idea for a week-long series of events around what is now known as Pride Day; this became the first of the extended annual LGBT Pride celebrations that are now held around the world.
The movement has three main premises: that people should be proud of their sexual orientation and gender identity, that sexual diversity is a gift, and that sexual orientation and gender identity are inherent and cannot be intentionally altered.   "Gay Pride" 2008 is set to be bigger and better than ever before with carnival parades, music, comedy, drag performances... a great chance to get dressed up and party in the street ! Here is just some of the events you can get involved in the UK this summer. 
Pride Blackpool
Blackpool is the place to be come the weekend of the 17th and 18th May 2008. Pride Festivities will commence with the superlative Promenade Carnival Parade of 'Camp & Colour' culminating at the Pier. On the Pier you will find a Dance Arena - Federation, and a main stage with appearances from The Sheilas, Same Difference, The Funny Girls, Hannah Jones, Kelly Llorenna, Rowetta and Pete Burns (and many others).
On Sunday a variety of local DJ's will be performing on the pier in the dance arena including Basil Newby, Miss Carm'n'Storm and Mozz Morris. There will be the Mr Bear 2008 Finals and a women's area which will be going on over both days .
Also there are market stalls on the pier which (if they are anything like last year) will be excellent.
South Yorkshire Pride (Sheffield)
The Pride main event promises a wide variety of attractions, performers, information stalls and a welcoming and inclusive environment with something for all ages. It will take place from 12-6pm in Cemetery Park on Saturday the 7th of June.
The main stage will have live acts to cater for all tastes, here are just a few;
Brighton based new Brit rockers AXE KID. Led by the sexy spunky sibling power pair Kid Max and Axe Girl, the super colourful rock-riot-peroxide-pop-electro-five piece have exploded onto the scene in an array of pink lightning bolts. They have previously played at Manchester, Nottingham and London Pride, gigged with The Gossip and Banarama around Europe to audiences of over 14,000 people and are playing this year’s Glastonbury festival.
Vigo- a brand new boy band. They recently performed at Soho’s Pop Show Halloween party. Expect a healthy dose of pop songs, some good looking guys and some sexy dance moves.
Random Pam fuses together DJing, live instruments, singing and effects to produce an eclectic mix of original tracks and cover versions. They have previously played at Homoelectric, Headlined the Electro Stage at Hide & Seek Festival, Manchester and the Get Bent Festival at Contact Theatre, Manchester 
Other acts include; Bison, Cavali, the Karen Mulcahey, Nazdrove, Nic Harding and Susan Hedges.
There will also be a cabaret performance Anja Bach, the live final of the Pride Idol Contest, dance pieces from members of the LGBT Youth Initiative and Sheffield's own LGBT choir will be opening the event and performing a full set later in the afternoon. If that wasn't enough there will be another stage dedicated to
Women's performance featuring Poets, comedians, cabaret, burlesque, blues, punk, djs and mirkin making workshops!
Manchester Pride
For ten glorious days and nights, Manchester Pride 2008 will once again painted the city with a great range of vibrant and colourful events, and turn the Gay Village into a hotbed of fun, music and party over the Big Weekend.
This year the festival will take place from the 15th to the 25th of august, although the programme has not yet been released here are a few of the highlights from last year so you can get an idea of what to expect;
The Manchester Pride Parade saw an estimated 150,000 people line the streets of the city centre to watch the Parade which had 80 entrants each with elaborate and carefully crafted floats, the winner last year was the Sparkle entry with a bright pink bubble-blowing tank and Sparkle Army in tow.
The Pride Games brought a week of great sporting events - from just-for-fun taster sessions through to highly competitive tournaments. Over 1,200 participants took part in the athletics tournament, aquathlon, 10k run, triathlon and, for the first time, a Youth Games.
The amazing culmination of Manchester Pride 2007 was undoubtedly the 78-hour party of The Big Weekend. All the bars and clubs in the Village pulled out all the stops to ensure over 40,000 party goers had the time of their life!
The Big Weekend Main Stage played host to some fantastic artists including amazing performances from The Gossip, Belinda Carlisle, Gareth Gates and a heavily pregnant Angie Brown! Over on the Sackville Park stage, a selection of accoustic artists, cabaret performances and orchestral pieces provided a great atmosphere to sit back and chill out.
Regular features returning for another year included the ever-popular Market with a great range of fun products and the Lifestyle Expo with over 40 exhibitors showcasing the best of LGBT organisations, community groups and businesses.
The Village Hall  was a newcomer for 2007, providing a safe and friendly community space for LGBT Youth, Pride Games, Sparkle and the Womens' Space whilst Dwell provided a luxurious chill out tent for party goers to rest their weary feet!
London Pride
One of Europe's most dynamic and popular pride celebrations, London Gay Pride officially takes place at the end of June with the Pride London (On June 28, in 2008), but this is actually the culminating of a 15-day Pride London Festival that runs throughout the final two weeks of June featuring the very best of LGBT arts, entertainment and sports. Last year there were over 300 exhibitions, film screenings, sporting events, concerts, theatre, comedy and cabaret performances, as well as special galas and one-off parties.
Details regarding Pride 2008 will be posted here as they become available. In 2007, the Pride London Parade kicked off at 1 pm from Baker Street just south of Marylebone Road (near the Baker Street tube stop) and proceeded down Baker, before turning east on Oxford Street, south on Regent Street at Oxford Circus, and then continuing down to its terminus, Trafalgar Square, where there was a Main Stage Rally  that included a welcome from London's mayor, Ken Livingstone (at just after 3 pm) followed by hours of festivities and performances (Sarah Ludford, Darren Hayes, Kerry Ellis from Wicked, and more.)
Numerous gay clubs, hotels, pubs, and restaurants will also be holding events and offering special promotions during London's Gay Pride.
Pride in Brighton & Hove
The summer festival kicks off on Saturday 26th July with events all over the city, leading up to the main parade and park event on Saturday 2nd August. Full listings will be available here in June. This year's theme is Pride's Around The World! Here are some highlights;
The annual Pride Dog Show - from the 26th of July until the 4th of August.  Tons of dogs bring their owners along to register for both novelty and pedigree classes. The is the UK's campest Dog Show and is a Kennel Club registered event. It's a great day out, the show has dogs, a BBQ, bar and trade stands with all proceeds to Pride.
The Carnival Parade - setting off from Madeira Drive, the Pride Parade is a highlight of the Pride weekend. Expect this year's to be more exciting and colourful than ever before as local organisations and groups take to the streets in this year's Pride Around The World theme. Expect floats and walking tableaux with distinct global flavours!
This year's Parade Route will start at Madeira Drive, travel along the seafront to West Street, then turn at the clock tower down North Street, past The Pavilion and then up towards London Road and Preston Park.
Get your viewing places early as thousands line the route of the Parade which sets off at 11.30am.
The Pride Park Celebrations - join in the huge festivities and join thousands of revellers at Preston Park for the big day. There's all your favourites back again this year, including the Big Top Dance Tent, Cabaret Tent, numerous performance and beer tents, community spaces, The Market, Fun Fair, Pride Members' Enclosure and much much more. See separate listings nearer the time for full details of line-ups in individual performance and dance areas.