Read time:5 minute, 13 seconds

Representatives from Manchester Pride,  Manchester Airport and Greater Manchester Mayor’s LGBT+ Advisor create video of support for Mumbai Pride March, plus opportunity for two people to win flights to Mumbai Pride next year.

Manchester today gave its backing and a message of support to the first Mumbai Pride March since homosexual acts were made legal in India. The message is a clear sign of further collaboration between the two pioneering cities.

Manchester Pride, Manchester Airport and Andy Burnham’s LGBT+ Advisor have all filmed a touching video to congratulate the country on its success with law 377, which saw homosexual sex become decriminalised in September last year.

It comes on the back of the launch of flights between the two cities in November and a leading Northern business delegation traveling to India to forge ties in December.

Sunday 3rd February marked the first Mumbai Pride March since the law was changed. To mark the occasion and launch of the video, Jet Airways (who fly direct from Manchester to Mumbai) have offered two lucky winners the chance to fly out to India next year for 2020’s Mumbai Pride.

Manchester has long been a pioneering city for LGBT+ rights, with drag shows performed as far back as World War Two, which were popular with American troops stationed nearby.

It is also the birthplace of Alan Turing who in 1952 was prosecuted for being in a relationship with another man. During the 1960’s it saw the birth of its gay scene and the North West Homosexual Law Reform Committee founded by Labour councillor Allan Horsfall.

The 1970’s saw the university’s Lesbian and Gay Society form The Manchester Gay Alliance. 1984 saw Manchester City Council form the Equal Opportunities Committee. The numerous equality posts created included a Gay Men’s Officer and a Lesbian Officer, first occupied by Paul Fairweather and Maggie Turner respectively.

Two years later saw the birth of Manchester Pride following a £1,700 grant from the council to put on a two-week celebration. During the 1990’s Mantos opened, the first gay bar in the area not to be hidden away. The 90’s also saw the trailblazing TV show Queer As Folk set in Manchester, which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year.

In more recent times Manchester also saw national LGBT+ radio station, Gaydio, make its first broadcast from the city in 2006, and just three years ago it elected its first openly gay Lord Mayor, Carl Austin-Behan.

Harish Iyer, one of the co-organisers of the Mumbai Pride Parade (Queer Azaadi Mumbai), said:

“We may be in different parts of the world, but the feeling of being ‘othered’, being ostracised, being neglected, and even the joy of being accepted and reclaiming our rights – unites us together. I am happy that our siblings and potential lovers in the other end of the world are waving their pride with all their might for us.

“The theme for this year’s Mumbai Pride is more of a mission – #PrideForAll. All of us in the Queer world are not exactly faced by the same challenges. Many are subjugated not just because they are Queer, but also because of their race, their caste, the colour of their skin, nationality or because they are refugees. We have a lot of work to do. And we will do it together. Thank you Manchester.”

Mark Fletcher, Chief Executive for Manchester Pride, said:

“We wish a huge congratulations to Mumbai on celebrating their first Pride since the decriminalisation of homosexuality in India.

“We’re proud of the work that we and other Pride organisations carry out across the world and it makes me personally very happy to see such important steps towards equality happening.

“There’s always more work to do but these first big steps will begin to pave the way.

“We visited a number of Pride celebrations across the world last year and we’re excited to welcome the team from Mumbai to our world famous festival and to come and to visit them next year.”

Seb Thompson, Press Office Manager at Manchester Airport said: “Manchester Airport is committed to diversity and inclusion, which is why for many years we have supported Pride here in Manchester, and many others across the UK.

“We’re award winning for our LGBT+ initiatives and are delighted to be able to show our support to Mumbai Pride, especially now as the two cities are much closer with our new direct flight with Jet Airways.”

Carl Austin-Behan, former Lord Mayor of Manchester, and now LGBT Advisor to the Mayor of Greater Manchester, said:“I am absolutely delighted that Mumbai is celebrating its first pride since homosexuality was made legal. This is just the first stage on their journey and everyone in Manchester is behind them. We too are a city of firsts and have led the way in the LGBT+ arena over the decades.

“We send our love and hugs to all our LGBT+ siblings in India and hope they all have an amazing Mumbai Pride. Now we have a direct route there I hope the two cities can work closely in the years to come and learn from each other.”

Mumbai Pride March is an annual pride parade that is held in the city of Mumbai. It, along with the Pride Week, is organized by Queer Azaadi Mumbai, a collective of organisations and individuals working for the rights of LGBT+ community. The participants of the march include people from the LGBT+ community as well their straight allies, from India and outside. In addition to being a celebration of queer pride, the pride march and related events are a platform to ask for equal rights.

Section 377 of the penal code in 42 former British colonies criminalizes all “unnatural” sexual acts including homosexual acts. The provision was introduced by British colonial authorities in the British Raj. On 6 September 2018, the Indian Supreme Court unanimously ruled that Section 377 is unconstitutional as it infringed on the fundamental rights of autonomy, intimacy and identity, thus legalising homosexuality in India.

To watch Manchester’s video of support click here

To enter the competition to win flights with Jet Airways to Mumbai Pride 2020 click here or check out Manchester Airport’s Twitter @manairport

About the author


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Latest articles