This weekend’s bumper Pride celebrations are going to be extra special for one Manchester councillor.
That’s because Deputy Lord Mayor Coun Carl Austin – a former Mr Gay UK – is tying the knot on Saturday with fiancé Simon, although the pair admit they hadn’t planned on getting hitched on the same weekend as Pride.
Manchester Pride, which is this year celebrating its 25th anniversary, will again see thousands of visitors from across the UK flock to the city for an action-packed weekend of events and activities.
And keen not to miss out on the fun, Coun Austin will be spending much of his post-wedding weekend back in the Gay Village where the likes of Texas and Dannii Minogue are due to perform as part of the Big Weekend event.
He said: “Manchester Pride is always an unbelievable weekend that celebrates the city’s long history of acceptance and diversity – something of which I’m very proud to have contributed to over the years.
“We hadn’t planned our wedding to be over the biggest weekend of the year – it just fell that way – but what better way to never forget your wedding anniversary than to share it with the whole of Manchester’s LGBT Community.”
Coun Austin, who will next year become the city’s first openly-gay Lord Mayor, will also attend The Candlelit Vigil in Sackville Gardens on Monday night at 9.15pm.
The vigil is an opportunity for the city to come together and remember all those who lost their lives to HIV and join together to fight the epidemic worldwide.
Manchester Pride is the UK’s leading celebration of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender life and will also feature the annual parade through the city on Saturday afternoon.
The parade will start at the junction of Liverpool Road and Deansgate at 1pm before snaking its way onto Peter Street and Oxford Road before crossing Portland Street, Princess Street, Whitworth Street and Fairfield Street.
Coun Austin added: “Anticipation for the ‘Big Weekend’ is already at fever pitch and personally I can’t wait for what is going to be a very special Pride.
“Not only will we see thousands of revellers enjoy the festivities but me and my fiancé Simon will enjoy our own celebration when we get married on Saturday. Rather than parading down the city’s streets we will be parading down the aisle.”