Liverpool Pride takes places over the last weekend in July and is a colourful celebration of all things LGBT+ – and this year has a new home in Tithebarn Street. Tony McDonough reports
Liverpool’s Pride festival 2018 has secured the backing of new patrons, including war hero Flight Lieutenant Caroline Paige – the first transgender officer to transition and serve openly in the UK Armed Forces.
She joins radio presenter Pete Price, Liverpool singer/songwriter, performer and founder of Sense of Sound Jennifer John, Labour MP Angela and Bishop of Liverpool Paul Bayes in supporting the event, taking place over the weekend of 28-29 July.
The free festival, now in its ninth consecutive year, is a colourful celebration of all things LGBT+ and this year’s theme is #AllTogetherNow. This year it has a new home in Tithebarn Street.
Organisers believe the location will prove popular with festival-goers given its proximity to the city’s gay quarter and nearby Pownall Square, the site of Mersey Pride in 1995.
Liverpool Pride has grown to become one of the city’s major annual events. Last year a record 8,000 people joined the Pride march and more than 50,000 people enjoyed two days of entertainment to celebrate lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities.
This year’s event also marks a decade since the death of gay teenager Michael Causer, who lost his life on 2 August 2008 after a vicious homophobic attack. The Liverpool Pride March officially starts the Liverpool Pride weekend on Saturday 28 July, starting from St George’s Hall and finishing at Moorfields.
Singer Sophie Ellis-Bextor will headline the Barclays Main Stage, located close to the Superlambanana. The line-up also include includes international drag star, and winner of Celebrity Big Brother 2018, Courtney Act; cast from Kinky Boots which comes to the Liverpool Empire in spring 2019; Queen Zee; Osvaldo Supino; The Major Tour; Melissa Totten; Rogue Minogue, and House of Suarez.
Headline sponsor of Liverpool Pride 2018 is Barclays and other sponsors include Manchester Airport, Homes For Everyone, the Mayor of Liverpool and media partners are Radio City, Diva Magazine, The Guide Liverpool and Gay Times.
Flt Lt Caroline Paige, from Cheshire, joined the RAF as a male officer in 1980 and worked as a fast jet and battlefield helicopter navigator, serving in the Gulf War and in Bosnia.
In 1999 she became the first transgender officer to transition and serve openly in the UK Armed Forces, working on the frontline in Iraq and Afghanistan before retiring in 2014.
Liverpool Pride co-chair John Bird said: “Liverpool is a culturally rich city with so many incredible individuals who bring so much to it.
“As a charity, we wish to recognise members of the LGBT+ community and its allies who support the community, our charity, and are prolific figures in their fields, and that support us in furthering the message of Liverpool Pride’s campaign in tackling homophobia, biphobia and transphobia.
“We’re incredibly proud to welcome Pete Price, Caroline Paige and Jennifer John into that fold, as they have been incredible pillars for us (and the wide community) over the years, and we want to thank them in a special way.”
Ahead of Pride weekend there are a host of live performances and events at city centre locations. For full details on the festival and associated events click here.