While people often refer to Manchester as the “Rainy City,” a sea of rainbows swarmed the area during Pride. Manchester Pride has been going strong since 1985, and this year, we were lucky enough to witness the festivities. Spreading kindness in the LGBTQ+ community was the name of the game.
Random Acts at Manchester Pride
Events Manager Alex Vincent set up shop at a table. We provided visitors with kindness bingo and swag for anyone who completed the tasks. The squares included actions like “Make a stranger smile.” and “Befriend someone who is here alone.” It is easy to get lost in the swarm of people at Pride, but our activities encouraged people to really connect with each other.
History is an incredibly important part of Pride. Between the Stonewall Riots and the accomplishments of areas that adopted Pride, it took work for the movement to spread. We provided a scavenger hunt that allowed attendees to connect with the history of Pride in Manchester. The “Queen” of the event even stopped by for a visit.
Alex noted, “My biggest reflection on the event was the overwhelming desire people had to be kind; people were excited about completing an act of kindness and would come back with their friends. Very few wanted their face on Twitter, even less wanted a prize, but we had people of all ages taking part, being kind and sharing kindness.”
The LGBTQ+ Homeless Epidemic
Joe, a rough sleeper (a British term for someone affected by homelessness), was one of the most impactful connections we made. Despite his own struggles, Joe came to Pride to spread awareness about the homeless epidemic in the LGBTQ+ community. According to the National Coalition for the Homeless, a 2017 study concluded that 40 percent of homeless youth identify somewhere on the LGBTQ+ spectrum.
Young members of the LGBTQ+ community fear disownment by their families if they come out. But many kids suppress their identity to prevent this from happening. This often leads to a decline in mental health. While Joe came to Pride to raise awareness about these issues, he still managed to complete a kindness bingo despite having nothing himself.
Finding a Family
Pride offers kids and adults alike a safe environment to be themselves without judgment. It is common for parents of LGBTQ+ kids to come to Pride with signs saying things like “Free mom hugs” or “Free dad hugs.” The number of young people who take them up on their offer with tears in their eyes indicates how often parents disown their kids for their sexuality or gender identity. For many Pride attendees, the community has become their loving and accepting family, and that is a beautiful thing.
How You Can Help
If you’d like to help the cause, check if there are LGBTQ+ organizations in your area or school. Many organizations even specialize in homelessness in the community. You can also reach out to your Regional Representatives here at Random Acts for some inspiration or advice. As always, thank you for making the world a kinder place.