Security guards refuse free entry to the Manchester Pride AIDS candlelight vigil (video)


The candlelight AIDS vigil on the final night of Manchester Pride has always been a key event and, to some people, the most important part.

Candlelight AIDS vigil at Manchester Mardi Gras 1998

Our documentary report, coming soon, was filmed at Manchester Pride 2007.

Partly shot with the camera at a distance and using a hidden microphone, it shows how people without tickets were made to queue on the street for 40 minutes to get into the Vigil, while ticket holders walked in ahead of them. Some of these people were there to remember lost friends, lovers and relatives and they were treated with disrespect.

You’ll also see on-camera how, despite years of denials by the Pride organisers, some security guards tell people there is no entry to the fenced-off gay village for the Vigil unless they buy a Pride ticket.

When Pride was turned into a pay-to-enter event there was supposedly the guarantee that people would be able to attend the Vigil without a ticket. However, ever since, there have been stories of people being turned away. Now here is the proof.

In the preview clip above, our reporter asked repeatedly and was told a ticket had to be purchased. Finally (and not shown in the preview above) a second guard did come over and gave the correct information. But most ordinary people would have given up and walked away by that time.

Plus, see how the security that the ticket is supposed to pay for, was seriously lacking, just two months after the Glasgow airport terrorist attack.

No surprise, as many people believe that the fences at Pride are as much about penning LGBT people in beside various businesses (many of which increase their prices during the weekend) as they are about keeping undesirables out.

The full video will be online in the next few weeks.

UPDATE (8 July 2008)

It seems that ill-informed security people are becoming something of an issue at Pride events. At the recent London Pride 2008, transgender and transsexual women were told by official stewards that they had to use the disabled toilets and couldn’t use the womens. This is a huge issue for this section of the LGBT community and it is quite unbelievable that an incident of this kind should happen at Pride in London.

UPDATE (27 August 2008)

We decided to shoot extra footage on the final night of Manchester Pride 2008. We wanted to see if the concerns that we had after last year, had been addressed. We had raised the issues with the Pride organisers and the local MP. We genuinely hoped that we would find no problems in 2008 and would be able to report that fact at the end of the video.

We expect to have the finished video online soon.


  • Steve says:

    I visit the vigil each year to remember my parter of 23years who died of AIDS related illness 10 years ago. I do not buy a wrist band, as I have limited income as I have lived with HIV for 25years and have many AIDS defining illnesses. I find this article misleading and inflamitory, the barriers are removed well in advance of the Vigil. If you turn up early you have to wait, its only fair, no one is ever refused after 9pm. I find much of your information to be totaly biased. Profit made by the village businesses in this weekend help them survive when profits are lower. Business and Profit are not dirty words. These business employ many Gay people and give many a wage. If you dont like whats on offer do as I do, have your own fund raiser, mine is a barbeque in my garden… we all have a great time and give what we can afford. Steve

  • gary says:

    I realise it is a sensitive issue. We made this video after years of hearing of people being turned away from the Vigil because they hadn’t bought a ticket. We fully support the Vigil and want everyone to be allowed in and to be treated with respect. As the Pride organisers have always denied there is a problem, last year we decided to get hard evidence on camera.

    I have to contradict what you have written. There is nothing misleading in either the article above nor the video and you will see indisputable evidence when the full video goes online.

    Last year the barriers were absolutely not removed before the Vigil, as you will see in the video. Our reporter was refused entry at one gate and we were told by a member of the public that he had also been told he must buy a ticket. These are both on film as you will see.

    We found a queue of people without tickets on Sackville Street. They had been told to arrive at 8pm and were kept standing for 40 minutes. They were allowed in at about 8.40pm. No one was allowed in after the Vigil had started at 9pm (which is fair enough).

    In my opinion businesses should finance the event, as they benefit to the tune of £22 million of extra business due to Pride each year.

  • Me says:

    Name and shame the ones you insist that profit and give nothing back, let them answer you comments..

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