Bury Pride seems to have hit the right spot with most people this year, whether you want local, relaxation or fun, everyone is having a great day. And of course, a break from Covid. We spoke to a few MyGenners, who shared their thoughts on the day.
Lynn, 70 from Fallowfield, is really glad the local Prides are opening up again, she found living on her own during lockdown very oppressive. Now she can relax, meet friends and is just “chilling in the Pride atmosphere.”
She also feels it is important to support these events, as there are still many unresolved and important issues out there, needing to be addressed.
She mentions the governments ‘curfuffle’ over Conversion Therapy – the medical profession stopped this over 50 years ago, she says with a wry chuckle, why are others now insisting they understand mental health?
Next we met up with Sr Rolymeover-on-the-Haigh, 61 from Bury and Sr Martini Bianco Anytime-Any-Place-Anywhere, 62 from Manchester. They belong to the Order of Perpetual Indulgence, (and more of that later.)
Sr Rolymeover is very happy that the first Pride of the season, and after lockdown, is in Bury, her hometown. She attends every year when she can and always knows she’s welcome. “There is a definite ‘family feel’ to Bury Pride” and finds the larger events too big. Here there is a “community atmosphere”. She meets people she hasn’t seen for a while and likes that the money raised will all be spent locally and finds “Pride a riot”.
Sr Martini Bianco is from Manchester also finds the smaller Prides more fun, more relaxed and less commercial. Living in the centre of Manchester, she realises that it can be quite easy to be out there, so smaller Prides are supporting people to be themselves, an issue that is close to both their hearts.
Sr Martini worked all through lockdown in a hospice, so it’s especially good for her to be able to relax and have fun at these inclusive events.
We then caught up with Philip Landells, 62 from Denton, who is part of the LGBTQ+forum, and is happy to give something back when helping with this and the Bolton Pride later in the season.
He’s absolutely delighted that it is going so well, with over 2,000 tickets sold in advance, there are people here from the whole rainbow community, and he’s spoken to visitors from as far a field as Accrington and Bacup in Lancashire.
He works with hate crime groups and is passionate that everyone’s voice is heard. He also echoed Sr Martini’s point – not everyone feels safe going into central Manchester, whereas Bury is becoming increasingly more welcoming, with a good relationship with the police and its own gay bar, House of Bridget on Silver Street.
“You don’t have to be alone in Bury”, he says. Pride is about reaching out to the young, the vulnerable and older people. Seeing the diversity and inclusivity of Bury Pride Philip knows it is fulfilling those sentiments, and adds, “It’s been lovely, just seeing how happy people are”.
The Order of Perpetual Indulgence
David and I were both intrigued by the Order of Perpetual Indulgence, so we asked the Sisters for a bit more information.
Founded in San Francisco around 1979-1980 in response to the increasing AIDS crisis, hoping both to raise funds and awareness, it is now worldwide, with the Manchester House being founded around 24 years ago, and Sr Rolymeover took orders 20 years ago.Their mission is to support people to be themselves, not feel bad about who they are.
People can talk to them, seriously or have a laugh – “if we make one person smile a day, we’ve done our job, if we make 100 smile, we’re doing a cracking job”.
They take their vows very seriously, taking them once as a novice and a second time as a black veil, in perpetuity. The ceremony is carried out in Sackville Gardens in front of Alan Turing’s statue, who is their patron saint. The ceremony is public, and has often led to more support and new entrants. Sr Rolymeover says that it is a very moving experience.
Their vow is “To expurgate stigmatic guilt and promulgate universal joy. To be a listening ear, to care for our community as we would wish to be cared for.”
Although there is a definite element of tongue in cheek about it all, they obviously are very serious about helping people, promoting inclusivity and happiness. And what’s a bit of bling on a wimpole, I’m sure Audrey Hepburn would have approved?
We wandered around after our interviews, soaking up the atmosphere, the drumbeats, the whirling kilts of the Gay Gordons, face paint, rainbow flags everywhere. Willowey tall ladies comparing size 13 stilletoes in the loos. Children, grandparents, millennials to MyGens.
What’s not to like, what’s not to love?
For more information on local Pride celebrations this year click here.
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