Gay Pride Birmingham History Time!

Here at Manplay.com, we want to not only give you a chance to date, but we also want to tell you everything you need to know about gay pride Birmingham. We know that you want to show yourGay Pride when you’re out and about and even when you’re online. Before you go out to any pride event - why not take a look at the whole history of the world of Gay Pride in the U.K.? Gay pride isn’t just a celebration of sexuality, diversity and culture. It also represents something much deeper and something more political. Manplay.com will guide you through how to have fun at gay pride Birmingham because you have the chance to connect fast and totally take the festival by storm!

The Beginning

Gay pride Birmingham has had the prestigious history of being amongst the first gay pride parades outside the United States. Organizers from the Gay Liberation Front aimed to parallel London’s first gay parade and pride week. The first pride parade took place in 1972 and has had one or two years in which it didn’t take place. This was considered amongst the first pride festivals in the world.

The very first parade in Birmingham was not a parade to necessarily celebrate gay rights and gay equality, but it was a way for gay people in the city to show their solidarity with each other and show to locals that they were there to stay. Birmingham was mostly conservative at the time and in reaction the parade took on the form of a rally more than a parade. The first parade went through the city and featured dancing along with a two gay days in central Birmingham. The march went along New Street and finished at Birmingham Town Hall, where people made a stand and essentially had a small rally. These were organized by the Birmingham Gay Liberation Front. These weren’t necessarily celebratory in nature, but focused more on the political aspects of gay liberation. It would have been hard to celebrate in England in the early 1970s. There was not hostility towards the marchers, but instead confusion, amusement and sheer curiosity. More often than not pride organizers found their political protests that took place outside pride celebrations were met with hostility, however much to their surprise their actual marches did not have any opposition.

Rebranding The Pride

There was a hiatus on the event in the mid 1970s. After a few years without any gay pride Birmingham festivals, 1983 saw the return of the march and an extension on the number of days the festival lasted. This time, organizers, specifically Brian Wigley, who was a popular promoter in the city. Wigley managed to secure what was described as Five Days of Fun and it departed from the initial political statements that were chosen to be adopted in the first few years of the festival. This was changed not only because the growing changes in attitudes in the city but also because organizers really aimed to make an impact commercially.

Initially gay pride organizers and purveyors such as bars and clubs in Birmingham wanted to avoid the political statements that could be made from gay parades and gay festivals, so initially they were reluctant to engage, however, once Wigley secured a five day period in which to have a festival in and around Birmingham’s gay village. Events took place during the day and night mostly in the gay friendly neighbourhoods. The final event was titled a It’s a Knockout.

The Five Days Of Fun were a way for clubs and bars in the city to make money, specifically from gay people from all around the Birmingham area. However, based on the success and the attraction that the festival had for tourists, it proved to be an event that forever changed the gay community in the city. It managed to ensure that gay people had a place and time in the city that was based on openness and much more. The Five Days of Fun festival managed to expand gay pride Birmingham and ensured that bars and the community could coordinate to serve and include the gay population. This type of event continued from 1984 to 1996. Despite the celebration much of the Five Days of Fun took place behind closed doors and you would have had no idea that there were events taking place. Much of this closeted fun was a result of the rather closed doors gay scene in Birmingham during the 1980s, which not only had to do with tension with the political elite, but also showed the fear some gay businesses had relative to being pushed out of the city by conservative city council members. This all changed at the beginning of 1990s when the gay village finally became firmly established in the Hurst Street area which had been a largely derelict warehouse area. City councillors saw potential in the area in re-developed it. The high amount of cheap rent and cheap real estate attracted a huge amount of business owners and many bars opened in the area and operated rather successfully.

It’s A Business Too

After several years of gay pride Birmingham being purely commercial, organizers finally reached out to the community. This was a result of Bill Gavan’s feelings about gay business owners and entrepreneurs having no rights in the city. Gavan intended to make gay pride Birmingham a festival that used both local gay community organizations and the city’s gay commercial enterprises to decide how the festival would be organized. Like we said organizers wanted to move away from the commercial side of the whole festival and they also wanted to move away from the political side. They aimed to make gay pride Birmingham and inclusive and community oriented endeavour.

Organizers initially were made up of men, but after some debates, women, trans people and the disabled were welcomed into the organizing committee to ensure that the festival was as inclusive as possible. They required a go ahead from the Birmingham city council as well as help from the West midlands Police. There was little to no opposition to set up the festival. In order to increase the numbers, organizers decided to ensure high numbers at the festival by putting festival on the Bank Holiday Weekend which ensured that festival would not hinder anyone’s work week and this would increase numbers from both single gay professionals, gay families and straight families. The first full fledged pride event took place in 1996, in which twenty gay venues put on non-stop entertainment.

The ultimate attraction as the carnival that took place on the Sunday, where visitors described the scene as surreal and unbelievably exciting. Various musical headliners sang at the show along with comedians and stage acts performed during the carnival. These proved to be big hits along with food stalls and most importantly health outreach vendors who provided information about sexual health. Many people in and around Birmingham were amazed that the organizers were successful in ensuring that the festival ran smoothly and was able to be pulled off in the short amount of time that not only ran smoothly but was able to attract plenty of people from across the Midlands. From 1997 onwards, the gay community had a strong place in Birmingham that ended up having extraordinary support from all fronts.

Gay Pride Birmingham: The Stats

Gay pride Birmingham has had some of the highest number of attendees of any gay pride event in the country. It has had constant support from thousands throughout the Midlands. Since 1997, gay pride Birmingham has managed to have at least 20,000 attendees each year. In 2013, the festival had over 60,000 attendees and 75,000 spectators. This a reflection of the way in which the festival has managed to expand. Families make up at least a quarter of spectators. There have been reports of controversial protests by anti-gay groups, yet actual hate crimes that are committed have been very minimal. Overall, the exponential growth of gay pride Birmingham as well as the continual sponsorship from various corporations looking to get involved with the community goes to show that Birmingham’s gay pride festivities are amongst the best in the country. The festival also manages to happen much earlier than it does in other cities which raises the number of attendees.

Events At The Festival

Events at gay pride Birmingham have changed from year to year and this year is going to be < ahref="http://www.birminghammail.co.uk/whats-on/music-nightlife-news/birmingham-pride-2016-promises-biggest-11259088/">wild yet there have been constant refreshing performances from artists from all over England. The famed carnival replaces the classic pride march that we see in so many other cities, yet since 2010, the pride parade itself has been a way for gay men and women to raise issues regarding homosexuality, such as homophobia as well as sexual health.

Past Gay Pride Birmingham Events

Past events at gay pride Birmingham have included some stage acts as well as live music and DJs. In the early years of gay pride in Birmingham, you would have found most events in bars and clubs in the gay village that did not cater to families and other people. This all changed in 1996, with the introduction of sponsorship, when organizers sought to engage with regular Birmingham citizens, much the way that many gay people aimed to be sought after in everyday life, which included the workplace and much more.

The Carnival

Like we said before, the carnival is one of the key features of the Birmingham pride parade, because not only does it involve a march but it also offers spectators more interaction with the actual fun that is taking place. The parade itself offers a more sombre and less party filled atmosphere. The carnival has a funfair and circus attitude with performers and participants from all walks of life. If you like bright colours and flashy costumes, the carnival will be much more suited to your needs for fun.

Musical Acts

Some of the best British musical acts from all genres of music have performed at gay pride Birmingham and some of the headliners for the year include Andy Bell, the one half of the very successful synth pop duo. Katy B, the famed R&B singer made a splash in 2013 and has proven to put on an amazing show each year. The group Lawson will also have a performance. DJ Fresh will perform on the main stage and play some new tracks specifically dedicated to the festival. MNEK, the grammy-nominated singer/songwriter will play some of his hits at the festival. Dakota will also make an appearance. Naturally, no pride festival wouldn’t be complete without the incredible pop group The Vengaboys. The The Spice Girls are also scheduled to make an appearance. The strong music festival likeness that the gay pride Birmingham has, goes to show why the attendance is so high.

Stage Acts

There are various stage acts that have been big hits in the past, but a few that will be included are drag shows at the Cabaret Marquee, along with shows from Topping & Butch as well many more.

Art Exhibits

The high number of queer artists in and around Birmingham has proven to be a big apr of the festival, where organizers have reached out to artists in order to provide the city with a massive art crawl that runs the entire weekend the festival is on. The key with these pride art exhibitions is the fact that they re open to everybody which is reflective of the atmosphere that various organizers have aimed to provide for attendees. Several artists have seen Birmingham gay pride as a means to launch their careers.

A Street Market

The street fair and street market have been big hits in the past and organizers have aimed to continue to make them a prominent fixture at the celebration. They are important because they show the growing number gay business and gay friendly workplaces in and around Birmingham. These markets also have some non-profit organizations that have aimed to create awareness about sexual health as well some welfare groups stepping in to let the community know about the future of homosexuality and equality in the city of Birmingham.

The Pride Parade

Every pride parade around the world has the annual fixture of a parade and in Birmingham, originally they had stuck with just the carnival, but then in 2010, they decided to bring it back. As we stated earlier, the point of the pride parade was to ensure that people from all walks of life could be involved. It was a chance to showcase some of the corporate sponsors and it consistently marches through the city to create awareness with slogans and banners. Many of the pride parades are a way for sponsors to show that they are reaching out and typically you don’t have told dress up the way you have to at the carnival.

Some Helpful Links

Overall there is plenty to do during gay pride Birmingham, but there some external links you can take a look at to give you some more ideas about the future of gay pride in Birmingham.

1. The Birmingham Pride Homepage
2. A Fascinating Article About Gay Pride Birmingham History
3.Gay Travel’s Guide About Birmingham Gay Pride
4. Birmingham’s City Page Outlining Everything You Need To Know About Gay Birmingham
5. LGBT Birmingham’s Homepage With Plenty Of Info On Being Gay In The City

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