For the third Saturday running I’ve spent the day watching a parade on the streets of Liverpool. Two weeks ago it was the Brazilica Samba Carnival and last Saturday it was the Brouhaha International Carnival. Today it was the turn of Merseyside’s LGBT community to put on their 8th annual Pride Festival, which includes the parade through the city’s s treets. Liverpool Pride has been growing in popularity and size every year since it was founded in 2010 and this year was by all accounts the largest yet. The Pride began in part as a response to the murder in 2008 of Michael Causer – a gay teenager – who was brutally murdered in Liverpool. Michael’s mother and members of his family now lead the annual Liverpool Pride parade in honour to his memory. Liverpool, which took a long time after other cities such as Manchester, to establish a parade now hosts their Pride as a lasting legacy to the short life of Michael Causer.
map from Liverpool Echo
This year, as it did last year, the Pride Festival was centred around St. George’s Plateau and St. John’s Gardens in the city’s cultural quarter. In previous years it has been held at the Pier Head, but this is apparently now too expensive to use. The parade itself begins on St. George’s Plateau and marches along Lime Street and through the city centre – winding its way back to St. George’s Plateau. Music stages and various stalls, fairground rides and food outlets are dotted around the plateau, William Brown Street and St. John’s Gardens. This year, in the light of terror attacks this year, heightened security saw whole areas of St. George’s Plateau and St. John’s Gardens fenced off with security at the entrances doing bag searches. However, large crowds congregated on William Brown Street and other areas without any searches, which seems to me to negate the purpose of the bag searches. Anyone wishing to cause terror could easily have simply targeted an area not fenced off. Thankfully though the Festival passed over with the usual atmosphere of peace, love and fun.
The Guardian this week was suggesting that Liverpool Pride was a rival to Manchester and Brighton and their Pride Festivals. I’ve never been to Brighton Pride, but Manchester Pride is still much larger than Liverpool, having been established for many years longer. Liverpool’s Pride is getting bigger and better each year but still is not the size of its northern neighbour. That doesn’t take away from the enthusiasm shown and enjoyment had by everyone who takes part, or simply watches, the parade and festival in Liverpool each year. This year’s Prides around the country have extra significance as 2017 is the 50th anniversary of the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality in England and Wales.
Above: Me at Pride with Gareth Williams and Tony Stewart