August 27, 2010

IconReclaim the Scene to tackle “commercialisation” of Manchester Pride this weekend

An alternative Manchester Pride event – designed to tackle the “commercialisation” of the city’s main event – will take place this weekend.

Reclaim the Scene will feature performers, music, free food, political stalls, and kids entertainment. It takes place tomorrow (Saturday 28th August) from 2-9pm at the UMIST campus off Sackville Street, just outside Manchester’s gay village.

The Reclaim the Scene collective say they want Manchester Pride to be free, the village to be inclusive and LGBTQ rights to top the agenda. Manchester Pride causes social exclusion, they say, because it fences off Manchester’s gay village to anyone that cannot afford to buy a wristband.

“The way forward [for Pride] is a community-based scene that welcomes all LGBTQ people and provides spaces appropriate to them,” said Reclaim the Scene’s Jennie O’Hara.

“We do not have equality, never mind liberation. Let’s celebrate what we have achieved so far and get more people involved in our future and current struggles.”

Reclaim the Scene say future Pride weekends should include a march with free entry, pointing out that even charities have to pay to participate.

They also say that the majority of proceeds should go to funding LGBT charities and community groups, not businesses.

Manchester Pride – which is charging £17.50 for a four-day ticket in 2010 – has come under fire in recent years, with critics questioning its charitable status. In 2007 only 12% of the event’s total income went to charity, with less than 1% going to organisations other than the Lesbian and Gay Foundation and the George House Trust.

The organisation says that as a registered charity, it does not make any profit from any activity, and that any funds surplus to operating costs are distributed to charities and organisations.

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