Manchester Lord Mayor Carl Austin-behan Will Lead Manchester Pride Parade

Lord Mayor of Manchester, Carl Austin-Behan, has been announced as the Grand Marshal at this year’s Manchester Pride’s Parade.

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Manchester Pride

In May this year Counsellor Austin-Behan, 44, became Manchester’s first openly gay Lord Mayor. When sworn into the historic post he said he would use his position to highlight prejudice towards the trans community and work to make HIV testing more readily available in Greater Manchester.

Mark Fletcher, Chief Executive of Manchester Pride said: “We are honoured to have the Lord Mayor leading the parade through Manchester City Centre this year. Since taking on the post earlier this year Councillor Austin-Behan has become a figurehead of the LGBT community, particularly in Greater Manchester.

“The parade theme this year is Once Upon a Time and we’re celebrating the many stories, moments, events and occasions they have occurred in order to allow us to reach the level of freedom our LGBT communities enjoy today. It’s hard to believe Councillor Austin-Behan was thrown out the RAF for being gay back in 1997; since then he’s gone on to become the Lord Mayor of Manchester. His own story is one of true inspiration. I can think of nobody better or more relevant to be leading the parade this year as we march ahead into the future.”

Crumpsall-born Carl will lead the parade which is expected to consist of around 3,000 people from across Greater Manchester, with around 115 entries from small community groups, to large commercial organisations all expressing their support to the LGBT community. The Parade will weave its way through the city centre, following a 1 mile route, as tens of thousands of visitors are expected to line the streets of Manchester.

The theme for the 2016 Manchester Pride Parade is ‘Once Upon a Time’. The charity is hoping to turn the streets of Manchester into a fairytale for the day.

Also for the first time this year Manchester Pride will have their own entry in the parade thanks to fund from Arts Council England. The entry which will be designed by Walk The Plank will feature people from across the LGBT community walking together to celebrate the theme.

The Manchester Pride Parade starts on Liverpool Road, passing by the Town Hall and the Gay Village before finishing on Whitworth Street. In recent years it has been led by some of the most prominent faces in the LGBT world including Orange Is The New Black actress Lea DeLaria and national treasure Sir Ian McKellen.

The Manchester Pride Festival is an award-winning four-day event celebrating LGBT life. The event takes place in August, with The Big Weekend running from Friday 26 to Monday 29 August and the Parade on Saturday 27 August.

The Big Weekend tickets are on sale now, priced at £25 for weekend tickets. Day, family and children’s tickets are also available. Tickets are exchanged for Pledge Bands at the festival providing guests with access to the event, including the Main Arena, Sackville Gardens, the Gaydio Dance Arena and the Expo and help Manchester Pride raise essential funds for LGBT and HIV causes in Greater Manchester. For more information on The Big Weekend visit the new website at bigweekend.manchesterpride.com.

Manchester Pride asks the community to wear their bands with pride as they pledge to; help Manchester Pride create a safe, world class LGBT celebration, support Manchester Pride’s commitment to raising essential funds for LGBT and HIV causes in Greater Manchester and support the organisation’s campaign for greater LGBT equality.

Acts announced so far this year include Will Young, Heather Small, Katy B, Tulisa, Groove Armada, Fleur East, international DJ Judge Jules and K Klass Live.

To find out more about the Manchester Pride you can follow the charity on Twitter @manchesterpride or visit the website at manchesterpride.com.