One of my favourite things about being a photographer is that I get to shoot a lot of grass-roots community events. Most of these tend to be Bristol-based, so it was lovely to take my camera along to Trans Pride in Manchester when I attended last weekend.
In some ways, the whole weekend felt like a chance to reconnect with my roots, but recontextualised in such a way that allowed me to incorporate who I am today into that environment. I grew up just outside a small town near Sheffield, but I only realised I was trans after moving down to Bristol as an adult. Being able to celebrate that part of myself while physically being in the North - in a city not too far from where I grew up - felt unexpectedly special.
Manchester Trans Pride itself was brilliant. The march seemed really well attended - I ran up the length of it to take photographs more than once, and there were WAY more people than I expected! The whole thing was also really well organised and accessible feeling, with wheelchair users invited to the front to set the pace, and a shorter route also planned for anyone unable to march the whole distance. Not having been to Manchester in quite a few years, I'd forgotten that the city has a tram network, and I was really impressed by how well safety was managed. Part of the march went through Canal Street, and it was amazing to see everyone applauding as we came through - especially the big group of furries!
As with any pride march, I tried to ensure I was taking a mixture of different photos - some that captured emotion, and others which didn't feature any faces at all. When you're photographing LGBTQ events I think it's always important to be sensitive to the fact that some people won't want to be photographed. At marches and protests in particular I usually aim to take some shots that are close-ups of signs, or where people are turned away from the camera. Trans Pride Manchester also provided pink wristbands for anyone who didn't want their photo taking, which made them a bit easier to spot! (And relatedly, if anyone sees themself on this page and would like me to take their photo down, please just pop me a message!)
I only spent about 40 minutes or so actually taking photos; I'd been really keen to get some, but I wasn't there as a photographer in an official capacity, and was basically just doing it for fun! By the 40-minute mark I mostly just wanted to join in with the chanting and wave my flag around. 🙃
The march was followed by a whole day of panels, workshops and talks at the Proud Place - an LGBTQ community centre in Manchester which seems completely brilliant. (Can we get an LGBTQ community space in Bristol, please? We're sorely lacking one at the moment!) I wasn't able to attend all of these, as we were heading across the Peak District that afternoon to stay with family, but I'd absolutely love to go along to whatever them come up with next year!
All in all, it was really lovely to attend a trans pride event outside of Bristol. There were obviously a lot of different emotions at the march, but I think some of the photos I captured were really joyful. I'd really love to use them in the next issue of Trans Portraits UK - the theme for which is trans joy!