Bisexual Visibility at Manchester Pride
Last year I took part in Manchester Pride Parade for the first time by joining BiPhoria’s walking entry. It was an amazing, exhilarating experience but I left with a lot of ideas of things I wanted to try for the parade in 2014.
The parade at Manchester Pride is massive. Thousands of people line the streets to watch behind metal crowd barriers. Over 100 entries take part and many of the larger groups and businesses have decorated floats, marching bands, goodies to hand out to the crowds and amazing costumes (e.g. people on stilts). Things which are sadly beyond the scope of smaller walking entries comprised of a 10-20 people like BiPhoria.
Last year whilst we were walking in the parade I noticed a lot of puzzled looking people, and I could hear some in the crowd asking those stood next to them who we were. However I did notice that the bisexual flag was being photographed a lot, and people really responded to the bubble swords I’d brought; often asking for photos of us/the flag with bubbles in!
For the parade this year I wanted to build on what worked well for two reasons:
- To prevent the bisexuals from getting lost amongst all the larger, more well known entries.
- To help people realise who we are and why we’re there.
So I made two A3 sized signs and taped them onto broom handles for people to carry and brought two sets of poi. This worked really well as I could see/hear people reading the signs. When someone asked who we were I heard the reply of “They’re the bisexuals!” One of our party was even filmed twirling poi by a camera crew from Channel 4 before the parade started, and a few of us managed to stand behind him holding our banner! (Though I haven’t been able to find footage of this anywhere yet.) Another member of the group brought little pots of bubbles which again went down very well. Lots of kids kept shouting us over so they could have a go at blowing some bubbles for themselves. So cute!
The signs meant we could put out a more visible message against biphobia, and increase awareness that bisexuals exist and have their own group/scene in Manchester. I hope it made people think and helped challenge some of the assumptions made about us and our sexuality. I’d like to use the signs for BiTopia in the Nottinghamshire Pride Parade next year.