Breaking Barriers, Building Equality
Manchester was a wash of bright colours and rainbow stripes over the August Bank Holiday Weekend, as Manchester welcomed back its first Pride Parade since 2019. After months of planning, we were excited to be joining the thousands marching through the city centre streets as well as hosting several events across the weekend.
2022 sees the 50th anniversary of the very first Pride March in the UK in 1972. Hundreds of people marched from Hyde Park to Trafalgar Square. Now Pride parades can be found in villages, towns and cities across the UK. However, now, more than ever, the LGBTQIA+ community needs support.
Kick starting the weekend of events, we parked up in Exchange Square with the iconic rainbow JCB for our annual outreach day. Discussing the changing attitudes and perceptions in the industry, we spoke to families and people in the industry who were interested in the built environment industry and career opportunities available in the sector. We had lots of children excitably borrow our hard-hats for photo opportunities as we all danced away to Selfridges Pride theme music playlist.
In the evening, we teamed up with Stride Treglown to host an evening of food, drinks, and networking, at their Manchester Studio in Castlefield. The evening will be an opportunity for LGBTQ+ people from across the built environment industry, and their colleagues, friends, and allies to catch-up, make new connections and celebrate Manchester Pride. We had a great time listening to a representative from AKT talk about the work the charity does to support young LGBTQ+ who are facing homelessness and, with the aid of a raffle, raising money for the charity.
On the Saturday, we started the morning by gathering at AECOM's offices on New York Street, where we stuffed our faces with breakfast butties, covered ourselves in glitter and decorated our hard-hats. The Pre-Parade Breakfast gave us the opportunity to get ready together, meet other people in the industry and walk down to Castlefield where the Parade was starting.
Over 75 representatives from different companies across the North West marched under the Building Equality banner. Making our way down Deansgate, Peter Street and Oxford Road, we danced and spread the message of peace, unity, pride and equality. We marched in solidarity with our trans colleagues, friends, and family, who are seeing an increase in transphobia and threats against their human rights in the UK and further afield.
After the Parade, ARUP opened their doors to their Piccadilly Plaza office for a Post-Parade Party where we got the opportunity to sample Nell's delicious pizza and raise money for another charity, George House Trust, who have been providing HIV support, advice and advocacy services to improve health outcomes since 1985.
“Getting to be part of Manchester Pride again this year, after a two-year hiatus, was a fantastic experience. We were so proud to walk through the crowds of people, who lined the street, with placards declaring our support for the LGBTQIA+ community. We firmly stand with our trans colleagues, friends and family. We are LGB with the T. This year we again sponsored and attended Sparkle Weekend, the world’s largest free to attend Trans Pride festival celebrating gender diversity in Manchester’s own Sackville Gardens.”
- Joelle Ivett, Associate at Arcadis and Co-Chair Building Equality (Greater Manchester)