It’s A Gay Knockout returns to Manchester Pride for a ninth year

By Tom Midlane

It’s time to don those towering heels and shimmy on down to the village as It’s A Gay Knockout returns to Manchester Pride for its ninth year.

Taking place at Canal Street’s Taurus Bar on Thursday 25 August, the free event sees various local LGBT sports clubs and community organisations face off in a series of challenges loosely inspired by the chaos-fuelled TV show.

This year’s It’s A Gay Knockout features a ‘tranny tug-of-war’, the obscene-sounding ‘chuck your sausage in my ring’ and the death-defying ‘high heel egg-and-spoon race’ – which sounds like a health-and-safety nightmare, though Taurus manager Nosheel Rahi assures me there’s never been any serious injuries.

 “We’ve had a few eggs dismantled and a few broken heels but no broken legs or ankles thankfully,” says Nosheel.

Groups taking part in the festivities include Village Manchester FC, Village Spartans RUFC, Manchester Sharks water polo team, LGBT swimming club The Northern Wave and the magnificently named Salford Ladies United Temperance Society (SLUTS).

It’s A Gay Knockout has become a Pride institution, as Nosheel reflects on nearly a decade of fun and outrage: “We’ve been open 10 years and the first year we weren’t quite sure what our version of Pride was going to be, but we found our feet in the second year – that would be 2002 – and we’ve never looked back since.

“It’s gets bigger every year, and more teams want to enter – it’s ‘organised unorganised’ fun if that makes sense!”

The event is hosted by Taurus co-owner Michael Pollard (known affectionately to regulars as ‘Polly’) who will come dressed for the occasion.

Says Nosheel: “I’m not sure who he’s going to come as this year, whether it’s Adele or the late Amy Winehouse – but tasteful is not the theme!”

Forget sophisticated and demure, It’s A Gay Knockout is all about laughter and chaos. As Nosheel sums it up:

 “People having a few too many drinks, trying to walk in heels, no-one quite knowing who’s going next, people volunteering, the amount of people who turn up.

“We wish we had a bigger space outside because every years there’s more people turning up. We sort of channel it as the unofficial start of Manchester Pride, but it’s definitely our start to Manchester Pride.”

It’s A Gay Knockout, Taurus Bar, Thursday 25 August, 9pm


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