Celebrating Pride with Thomas Cook Airlines


Manchester Pride festival takes place annually and is one of the longest running pride events in the UK and a few weeks ago, I was invited to walk the parade with one of the events biggest sponsors, Thomas Cook Airlines.  There's nowhere that does Pride quite like Manchester - the city is known for championing social diversity and has always shown tremendous support for the LGBT community, in particular, Canal Street that draws thousands of people each week to celebrate the Manchester LGBT night life.

It was an emotional experience walking the parade knowing that it has only been fifty years since homosexuality has been decriminalised and these people celebrating their way of living would have been prosecuted for just living their lives half a century ago. Fast forward fifty years and the streets were lined full of supporters, the crowd seemed never ending as we walked the one-hour long parade and it was such a warming experience, bringing all different communities together for such a fantastic cause.


When the parade had finished, we then made our way to the Thomas Cook Airline stage to watch the evening entertainment. We were lucky to be given VIP passes so that we had a clear view of all the bands and we could meet some the incredible people behind the scenes of Pride.  In the area, we saw the cast of Corrie supporting Be More Martyn, which is a charity set up to commemorate the life of Martyn Hett who died in the Manchester bombings and there were numerous celebrities, including Gok Wan (who I accidentally walked straight into).

My highlight of the entertainment had to be N-Trance as their music was the soundtrack to my early teenage years. I screamed my lungs out to 'Set You Free' and thoroughly enjoyed reminiscing over my childhood with my husband. Other bands that played included Lisa Maffia,  a DJ set by Gok Wan and headliner of the evening Example.

For those thinking, should I go to Pride if I'm straight? I would say 100% yes. The atmosphere is incredible, the parade is magnificent, it's a really fun event and it's a chance to learn more about your local LGBT community. Although the LGBT community is more socially accepted these days, there's still a lot of hate crime that goes on and we need more people to shout out loud that it is acceptable and that people should have a right to love who they want.  The Pride event is fundamentally based on love and that is what makes it so special.


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