New & Comment | Contact

The 2008 Manchester Pride balloon launch was invaded by protesters

The 2008 Manchester Pride balloon launch was invaded by protesters

Manchester Pride 2008 balloon launch invaded by queer demonstrators

Never heard about this protest before? That's because most of the gay media reported the event as if it had gone ahead as planned without a hitch. What else aren't they telling you?

Shout out: are you the person who was asked to remove their hooded top for the photoshoot and who refused and was then excluded, or did you witness this incident? I would be very interested to hear your story. Please contact me.

Queer protesters gatecrashed the opening event of Manchester Pride 2008 in Albert Square. Pride had organised a balloon release by a group of 18 year olds, in recognition of it being 18 years since the first August Bank Holiday event.

Update: in fact it wasn't! Pride hadn't bothered checking. There were jumble sales before 1990, a "Gay Pub and Club Olympics" event in Manchester in August 1985 and "Northern Pride" in June 1986 with a launch in the Rembrandt Hotel. This was all uncovered by FactsMCR and fellow campaigner Paul W.

However, as officials, the city's tourist chief and Manchester's Lord Mayor looked on, protesters surrounded the balloons, unfurled banners and waved placards in protest at the commercialisation of the city's Pride, high ticket prices, low charity amounts and Pride's lack of inclusion.

At the last minute, one of the 18 year olds who had come to be in the official launch was told that she couldn't take part because of her hooded top, which she didn't want to remove for personal reasons. Rather than embrace this as an opportunity to show a 'hooded' teenager involved in something positive, the Pride organisers excluded her because it would spoil their corporate-style publicity photographs.

The following Monday, one of the protesters was interviewed on BBC Radio Manchester's weekly LGBT Citizen Manchester show.

This video includes two minutes of exclusive archive footage of August Bank Holiday 1991, which you won't see at any official Pride event. Some of it is previously unpublished. Plus some black and white photos from Canal Street, August 1990.

Read more here.

Duration: 6 mins


(some of these are in the captions in the video)

Gay Pride history (Wikipedia)

Manchester Pride: history & investigation at g7uk.com

Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender History Month UK

Get Bent! Manchester: a non-profit queer festival in 2007 (and hopefully again in 2009)

Queer Youth Network

There is a Facebook group: 'Pride Is A Protest - Manchester'

Technical details: Sony DCR-HC22E DV camcorder, edited with Sony Vegas Video 5, encoded with Super.