For the first time since 2019, Stockport Pride returned to Stockport Town Centre for its fourth parade and festival. At the centre of the event was the march which started at Red Rock and progressed through the town centre, ending at the marketplace in the Old Town.
As well as the march through the town, the crowds were able to enjoy the vast array of performances on the Martyn Hett Stage, positioned in Castle Yard within Stockport’s Market Place. The stage was named after Martyn Hett, one of the 22 victims of the Manchester Arena attack in 2017, who has been described by his mother as someone who lived life to the full, someone kind, brilliant and always standing up for the underdog – certainly someone who embodied the values of Pride. Celebrating the plethora of local talent that Stockport and Greater Manchester has to offer, the performers ranged from DJs, local drag acts, singers and dance groups all from the local area.
The Stockport-born, award-winning actor Nathaniel Hall, who appeared in the Channel 4 drama series ‘It’s A Sin’, also spoke at the event. Nathaniel Hall is a HIV activist who has written is own show about his experience of growing up HIV+ from the age of 16. During the event, Hall took to Twitter to share his thought, commenting that he was ‘feeling seriously proud of my hometown’ and looking forward to the future to say that ‘with visibility like this, the kids will definitely be alright.’ Following the speech he made during the event, Hall was called a ‘gorgeous human’ and ‘an inspiration’ by one mother who took her daughter to the event, and also called ‘heavenly’ and ‘ICONIC’ by another fan.
Alongside the celebration and exemplification of the LGBT+ community in Stockport, Stockport Pride also ensured the safety of their attendees was paramount. Their ‘Quiet Space’ was open between 11AM and 6PM for vulnerable adults who needed peace and quiet during the event as well.
Unfortunately, there was a counter-protest during the event. It has been reported that photos of J. K. Rowling and Margaret Thatcher were left on one of the craft stalls. In recent years J. K. Rowling has come under fire for controversial comments she posted about the transgender community particularly her views on the relationship and differences between sex and gender. Whilst the extent of the support for the Stockport Pride event demonstrates how far the fight for LGBT+ rights has come, it is such examples of counter-protest which simultaneously highlights the continued necessity of Pride events.
Pride marches around the country are more pertinent than ever this year since 2022 celebrates 50 years of Pride in the UK. Stockport Pride is amongst the Pride events now in excess of 150 which take place across the UK. Named the largest Pride event in the UK in 2021, Manchester Pride Festival will be taking place in the city centre across the August Bank Holiday weekend. Follow this link to find out more about the history of Manchester Pride and how you can get tickets for the upcoming event.