Crooks and villains march against Manchester Pride in ironic protest to win back ‘the heart of the village’

By Ruth Dacey

Protesters dressed as robbers, crooks and villains will march against Manchester Pride on Saturday following another drop in the organisation’s charity donations.

The event has been organised by Adam Prince and will start at Sackville Gardens, continuing to the head offices of Pride and through the Gay Village.

It comes after the organisation announced they only gave £34,000 in charity donations from their last Big Weekend, 35% lower than last year’s figure with total donations having dropped continuously since 2009.

Adam told MM: “The model in place at the moment needs a complete overhaul and must work alongside the Village Community Alliance organisation which gives back power and voice to the community.

“At the moment the whole event is being dominated by businesses and corporations which is the last thing it should be about.”

Pride announced that they would introduce a three-part plan to boost fundraising which will review existing events with a view to reducing costs as well as introducing more activities throughout the year.

However David Henry, Director of Queer Youth Network, believes that the damage has already been done as life-saving charities have lost out to essential donations.

“Pride has become more and more detached, it’s become about making money but not for the charities who have been pushed aside,” the 30-year-old said.

“The impact is clearly visible, for example the HIV hardship fund has been directly hit and this is a cause that people depend on for finical help, so lives are being put at risk here.

“The board have had their chances and have let people down.”

Julia Grant, former Gayfest CEO in 2000 and 2001, stated that Pride have failed to honour previous declarations and there remains deep-rooted problems within the board.

“People need to wake up because we have heard this all before and nothing has been done,” the previous Legends nightclub owner said.

“The reaction has not been strong enough for me, I would go all guns blazing into their office and throw people out the window.

“It’s absolutely crazy the group that are running Manchester Pride have never even been elected by the gay community, instead that have been chosen by the council.”

However Pride have said they are committed to looking to work alongside a range of sources including the city council, members of the community and businesses to improve the event.

Yet Ms Grant insisted the whole model for the event has to change as it has alienated parts of the LGBT community.

“They have made such a mockery of an event and turned it into a pop music festival where charitable donations seem to be the last thing on their minds which is absolutely disgusting,” she added.

“Anyone over 45 would feel disenfranchised from the way Pride is run because there’s nothing for them in the village now. Also the unemployed and the youths are being pushed out because they can’t afford it.

“If the gay community in Manchester does not get a grip and react suddenly there will be other laws and practices coming in which will restrict them and they will lose some of what they gained over the years and that will be a crying shame.

“I will be there protesting in all my glory. It’s not just protesting about Pride I’m fighting for my history and my past. I remember the village having a heart, and we need this back.”

Adam, who was part of the Facts About Manchester Pride Group that recently staged protests outside Pride’s office, believes the Gay Village as an area is in danger for the future.

“There’s a very volatile and hostile feeling around the village at the moment and there isn’t enough resistance to the drinking and drug culture which is drowning out the heart of the Gay Village,” he said.

“Political apathy is no longer a choice because one of the most important LGBT areas in the country and Europe is being destroyed and slipping through our fingers.

“It’s time to stand up and fight back. People need to be aware of what’s going on out there and get these answers to the many questions that we have.”

The robbers, crooks and villains themed protest will meet at 2.30pm in Sackville Gardens on December 7.

For more information on the event, click here.

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Image courtesy of anthro_aya via Flickr, with thanks.

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