In the age of ‘Abolish the Police’ mixed with ‘Anti-Lockdown and Anti-Mask’ rhetoric and the appropriation of ‘Freedom of Speech’ to spread hate and misinformation – what does freedom mean today?

This fraught, important topic is paramount both to human rights and social justice, and Manchester Pride believes that it is more crucial than ever that we come to terms with its meaning, value, and liberating opportunities.

Following the success of 2020’s online event as part of Manchester Pride’s Alternative Festival, the free to attend Human Rights Forum returns in its digital format, taking place online on Monday 30th August at 15:00 until 18:00.

The Human Rights Forum will engage directly with Manchester Pride Festival’s theme ‘Freedom,’ and use this as an opportunity to promote learning, activism and growth.

Providing an open and honest space for conversation, our aim is to ensure that the event is accessible to all, with a BSL interpreter and live captioning, against the backdrop of a post-COVID landscape. The event is free to attend, and all that participants will need in order to join is a computer or similar device, and an internet connection.

Under the umbrella theme of Freedom, the forum will host 2 separate panels on the following topics:

  1. The Intersectional and International Power of Pride, exploring the international landscape of LGBTQ+ equality and why Pride is still so important and relevant in fighting for freedom, not just in the UK but around the world. 

  2. Queerness as Resistance, how LGBTQ+ identities and experiences have been steeped in resistance against the ‘norms’ set by society and how we can continue to break down barriers and boundaries to create a more equitable world. What is normal, and what does authenticity really mean? 

Panel 1 is hosted by Reeta Loi, named one of Forbes’ 100 founders for her pioneering brand Gaysians, creating much needed access to services and resources, and a collective voice for the South Asian LGBTQIA+ community. 

Panel 2 will be hosted by Ben Pechey, self proclaimed fashion icon and activist. Ben has made a name for themself speaking candidly on the issues close to their heart, from body positivity to gender to climate change and all that’s in between.

Our host of panelists range from local academic leads in their fields, such as trans author Shon Faye, Black, queer HIV activist Marc Thompson and Kay Ulanday Barrett (aka @Brownroundboi – poet, performer, and cultural strategist based in New Jersey).

Manchester Pride said; “This is a really important event for us. Last year gave us the opportunity to develop what we offer as we faced an entirely digital event and now we are able to take what we have learned and incorporate it into the in-person festival to enrich and deepen the conversation around our theme of freedom.

“What’s more we know that some of our audience don’t feel comfortable going out in busy places yet, and some just want to engage in a different way.  The Human Rights Forum is for them.

“What will make the forum as successful as the inaugural event, is a captive and open audience to join this powerful group of panelists. There will be time to ask questions, answer polls, and interact in a chat forum throughout the event.”

The link to register for the event is here.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here