Manchester Pride Parade Movie, Lockdown latest, Pride train competition … and William Dorsey Swann

News, Pride parade

Here’s the full Manchester Pride Parade Movie:

Lockdown latest

Matt Hancock, Health Secretary, reviewed the local lockdown and the current restrictions across Greater Manchester were eased in Bolton, Stockport and Trafford. Wigan was brought in line with national restrictions last week, while Oldham is subject to stricter measures than the rest of the region.

Unfortunately, until restrictions are lifted in Manchester, Out In The City cannot meet.


Avanti West Coast launches pride train

Avanti West Coast is launching the UK’s first fully wrapped Pride train entirely staffed by an LGBTQ+ crew for its first official service.

The train operator has adopted the most recent iteration of the Pride flag which sees the addition of the colours black, brown, light blue, pink and white to bring people of colour, transgender people and those living with or who have been lost to HIV/AIDS to the forefront highlighting Avanti West Coast’s progressive commitment to diversity and inclusion.

West Coast Main line, Avanti West Coast Executive Director Commercial, Sarah Copley said: “I’m delighted to be launching our new Avanti West Coast Pride Train which represents everyone in the LGBTQ+ community.”

Pride train? You name it

Avanti West Coast have created a head-turning train especially for Pride. It’s so vibrant and colourful you can’t miss it. But one thing it’s missing is a name – which is where you come in. They would love your input, so send your winning suggestions by 13 September!

What if your entry is chosen? Well, it’s not just a big tick to go on your bucket list. But you’ll also get the star treatment at the train’s official naming event, and fly the flag at Pride next year.

Enter here

Editor’s comment: Trainy McTrain Face is not allowed.

Forgotten icon?

William Dorsey Swann was a gay liberation activist. Born into slavery in 1858, he was the first person in the United States to lead a queer resistance group and the first known person to self-identify as a “queen of drag”. Imagine the queenery of this icon.

He was a slave in Hancock, Maryland and was freed by Union soldiers after the Emancipation Proclamation went into effect. During the 1880s and 1890s, he organised a series of balls in Washington, D.C. He called himself the “queen of drag”. Most of the attendees at his gatherings were men who were former slaves, and were gathering to dance in their satin and silk dresses.

William was arrested in police raids numerous times, including in the first documented case of arrests for female impersonation in the United States, on 12 April 1888. In 1896, he was falsely convicted and sentenced to 10 months in jail for “keeping a disorderly house” (running a brothel).

After his sentencing, he requested a pardon from President Grover Cleveland. This request was denied, but he was the first American on record who pursued legal and political action to defend the LGBTQ community’s right to gather.

He was known to have been close with Pierce Lafayette and Felix Hall, two men who had also both been slaves and who formed the first known male same-sex relationship between enslaved Americans.

When William stopped organising and participating in drag events, his brother continued to make costumes for the drag community. Two of his brothers had also been active participants in his drag balls.

Imagine how intelligent and ambitious this man had to be to come up with drag balls in the 1800s! Imagine how many terrible concepts he had to unlearn by himself to be a confident gay black man who does drag in the 1800s!

Imagine how courageous he had to be to fight for LGBT people as a former slave in America in the 1800s!

William Dorsey Swann is the original queen, the original drag mother, the original activist. Tell his story!

Lockdown latest … and photos of older lesbians and gay men in Italy

News, Pride parade

Lockdown latest

Matt Hancock, Health Secretary, is expected to announce the results of the latest local lockdown review at some point today.

Last week he said local leaders in affected areas would be able to recommend which parts of the region should and should not be subject to restrictions.

Greater Manchester Mayor, Andy Burnham, has said there will not be a blanket lifting of the current restrictions across Greater Manchester.

Local lockdown restrictions are in place across all boroughs apart from Wigan, which was brought in line with national restrictions last week, while Oldham is also subject to stricter measures than the rest of the region.

Mr Burnham told a press conference on Wednesday that local leaders in Greater Manchester would be recommending that Stockport and Bolton follow Wigan out of lockdown this week – but whether that happens will be down to the government.

He also said they would be recommending that restrictions in the rest of the region remain as they are.

We should find out from Matt Hancock what decisions have been made at some point over the next few hours.

Until restrictions are lifted in Manchester, Out In The City cannot meet.


Manchester Pride are THRILLED to announce the FULL LINE-UP for Alternative Manchester Pride Festival!
Join us from the comfort of your home for an incredible weekend of activism, arts & culture, community, youth and family offerings, partying + MORE 🎉 United We Stream
Out In The City is part of the parade at 12.30pm and interview at 3.00pm on Saturday, 29 August.


Wish It Was a Coming Out: older gay people in Italy – in pictures

Photographer Melissa Ianniello’s long-term project investigates the double taboos of homosexuality and old age in Italy. The subjects of her intimate projects are a group of gay men and lesbians between 60 and 90 years old, captured as couples or alone in their own homes.

Umberto Davini, 68: Altopascio, Tuscany

Umberto has been a great traveller since he was young – he wanted to explore new realities and travel. In the 1970s he set off for India to meet the mystic Osho; it was the beginning of a very special trip that continues today, within him. He is vegetarian, almost vegan, loves nature, and for some time has dedicated himself to a new passion, photography. He enjoys photographing the stones that have been eroded over time or smoothed by the waterways, and tree trunks pulled on to the beach by waves.

Vittorino Panzani, 76, and William Belli, 69: Trento, Trentino-South Tyrol

Vittorino and William have been together for 47 years. Both came out at a very young age and immediately after started to actively participate in the LGBT movement. Over the years they have never missed the Pride festival and have travelled all over the world. They live in Trento, where they have been working for over 20 years as antiquarians, and were married in a civil union.

Maria Laura Annibali, 74 and Lidia Merlo, 72: Rome, Lazio

Maria and Lidia have known each other for 17 years. Their love blossomed at a mature age, but it struck like a classic bolt of lightning. It was Lidia who won over Maria: on top of a relentless courting full of sweet nothings and poetry, she wrote a dedication to Maria one night on the wall in front of her house: “I am passionately and hopelessly in love with you.” They began dating and soon after became an official couple. They recently married in a civil union.

Victor Palchetti-Beard, 67 and Gianni Manetti, 70: Florence, Tuscany

Victor and Gianni have been a couple for 43 years. Victor came to Italy in 1975 during his university years. Shortly after arriving, he met Gianni through shared friends and it was true love – but as an American he could not stay long in italy. So Gianni’s mother decided to adopt Victor in order to help her son start a family. However, this family cannot be made official with a civil union because the pair are brothers from a legal point of view.

Edda Billi, 86: Rome, Lazio

Edda was born in Follonica, in the coastal area of Maremma. She was a teenager when she fell in love with a older girl who drove a jeep and loved poetry and literature. It was this young woman who introduced Edda to the world of books and culture. The pressure that Edda’s family put on her because of her sexual orientation led her to move to Rome. She has become an emancipated woman: a poet, and activist with the separatist feminist movement. Even today, Edda refers to herself as being in love with women and with life.

Pasquale Ferro, 63: Ischitella, Campania

Pasquale was born in Naples. He had a difficult childhood, full of misery and violence, and he was denied the opportunity to attend school. Despite that he was able to redeem himself over the years. He discovered he was gay and came into contact with the homosexual scene in Naples. He began writing and doing theatre, letting himself get inspired by the street and its stories. In time he became a playwright and also worked as a journalist.

Paolo Melato, 71: Rome, Lazio

Paolo came out as gay when he was 30 years after the break-up of a heterosexual relationship. From that moment he started to see different men, generally younger than him, until he met his greatest love: a doctor. They stayed together for many years, until he was diagnosed with AIDS and died young. They spent many difficult years together: they had to deal with prejudice and fears in a period in which the disease was spreading quickly and little was known about it. Paolo now lives in an apartment with his dog.

Gianni Picciotto, 72: Perugia, Umbria

Gianni is of Sicilian origin. He came out as gay at a young age. He told his family, who welcomed and accepted him thanks to the help of his mother. While still a minor, Gianni met a man named Pino. Once Gianni had turned 18, they set off for Torino in search of work. They had an intense relationship for 52 years until Pino’s death in 2015. On 14 April 2020, Gianni died aged 72.

Giovanni Rodella, 66: Florence, Tuscany

Giovanni was born in the Mantova area but moved to Florence to do his military service once he was old enough. It was during his military conscription that he discovered he was gay. These were years of liberation for him – once he had overcome his feelings of guilt, he was finally able to come out to himself and accept his homosexuality. A professional photographer, Giovanni is an active participant in political and cultural events of the LGBT movement.

Lara Elia, 46, and Lia D’Urso, 64: Nicolosi, Sicily

Lara and Lia met online in 2009, in the field of lesbian feminism activism. Lia is a retired restorer from Catania, and Lara was born in Africa to an Italian father and English mother but was raised in Rome. She is a journalist who deals with scientific dissemination. They live in a small villa in Nicolosi where they divide their lives between their passion for gardening and love for their pets. They are avid activists who never miss Pride.

Anna Palla, 63: Cagliari, Sardinia

Having spent half her life in search of money and success, Anna decided to undertake a spiritual journey. This allowed her to free herself from her old “idols” and led to her own renaming. Today she feels like a free woman. She has found within herself what she was mistakenly looking for elsewhere.

Monica Maestri, 63, and Ornella Brugnara, 72: Trento, Trentino-South Tyrol

Monica and Ornella have been a couple since 1988. They met through mutual friends, even though at first Monica lived in Bologna and Ornella lived in Trento. Although they never had a real coming out experience, they have never tried to hide their relationship. They are fond of going to the mountains and cycling holidays, and love attending lesbian-themed cultural events.

Zeno Zappi, 65, and Massimo Coralli, 56: Imola, Emilia-Romagna

Zeno and Massimo have been together for 12 years. They are very close to their families who have known for a long time that they were gay. They live openly as homosexuals. They are united not only by their love, but also by their shared passion: creating jewellery from recycled material. This led them to open a business; most recently, they have tried to promote their artistic laboratory and their creations through street markets.

Tina Meriggi, 78, and Lorenza Accorsi, 72: Milan, Lombardy

Tina and Lorenza met at the over 40s social group held by ArciLesbica in Milan. At that time, Tina was almost 60 years old. Despite their age, their relationship was full of passion from the very beginning. It was during their first holiday at a nudist campsite in Normandy that they truly fell in love. Three years after they first met, Tina retired; from then on, they started to travel a lot, more than before, seeing the world together. In 2018 they were married in a civil union in Milan.


Me and My penis

A former police officer is confessing to being unable to drive without his penis becoming aroused. “Is it the rumble of the road on your balls?” he wonders aloud, while another young man in the group says: “I actually think my dick is in control [of me].” A third guy, in his 30s, describes his first attempt at masturbation: “I kind of hit it from side to side and it felt nice after a while.”

If these sound like the sort of stories you don’t often hear on mainstream TV, then that’s the point. Channel 4’s one-off show Me and My Penis aims to break the taboo around the male sex organ and start a frank conversation about masculinity.

Me and My Penis is on Channel 4 on 31 August.



Manchester Pride – Campaign, Celebrate, Engage

Pride parade

Manchester Pride – Campaign, Celebrate, Engage – 25 August 2018

The Manchester Pride Parade is one of the most highly anticipated events, with thousands of people marching proudly together through the streets.

I did see three members of the group marching in the parade, which took more than two hours to pass by, but I was just watching. The crowds were so big that it was difficult to find a good place to stand and get good photos (… so apologies now for the poor quality). On a personal note I enjoyed the entries by Manchester Lesbians Stand By Your Trans, George House Trust and the leather and rubber men, but the NHS and the fire brigade got the biggest cheers.

Later, I went to Superbia, a free of charge, diverse, accessible, intelligent and welcoming programme of new queer art including ‘Not Going Shopping’, a brand new sound installation from Abigail Ward; Conor Collins’ HIV+ blood portrait of Princess Diana; new MMU graduate art, new film and more. There was a packed out interactive talk, by Superbia Project Manager Greg Thorpe, who took us on a history tour of Pride, from the 1969 Stonewall rebellion in New York, to Europe and beyond, to Pride around the world today, using imagery, video, activist profiles and memoirs to remind us why we still march today.

Happy Valley Pride

Pride parade

Happy Valley Pride at Hebden Bridge – 16 August 2018

Two members of the group made it to Hebden Bridge to join in with the Happy Valley Pride. Lynn joined a “Cabaret & Drag” workshop and Sandra bought a fab dress for £1 and two rings.

Contact was made with “Over the Rainbow” – an independent social group for LGBTI+ aged 50+ who meet once a month on the second Saturday of each month from 1.00pm to 3.00pm in Todmorden Library. There are discussions on a wide range of topics in an accessible venue. They also arrange meals out, visits to the theatre and local places of interest and plan quarterly Queer related free films at the Library which are open to the general public.

They have a Facebook page “Older LGBTs – Calderdale” and can be contacted by telephone 07901 854 823 (answerphone) or email:

Us oldies need to stick together, so I am sure that we will link up with this group in the future.

Oldham Pride

Pride parade

Trips & Adventures – 28 July 2018

Oldham Pride is a annual celebration of the borough’s LGBT community and has been going for 15 years.

The Rainbow Parade left Tommyfield at 12.15pm, making it’s way through the town centre for an afternoon of fun in Parliament Square.

Five of us from Out In The City joined the celebrations led by a brass band and featuring Out & About (Oldham’s Older LGBT group) as well as the Gay Gordon’s (see video).