Canal Street, Manchester Gay Village empty during the coronavirus pandemic.

Digital Pride 2020: celebrations go online after covid-19 led to cancellation of Manchester Pride

  • With the cancellation of Manchester Pride 2020, our NQ reporter, Fionntan Evans, wanted to find out how people have celebrated LGBTQIA+ Pride
  • People have used digital platforms to support the community and protest for change and equality.
  • The Black Lives Matter movement has inspired others to speak out against racial adversity, as well as giving a voice to trans POC.


2020 marks 50 years since the first ever Gay Pride march in New York. As well as 51 years since the Stonewall riots, which created a catalyst for gay liberation movements across the world on the 28th June 1969.


“New-York-483” by shogunangel is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

It is now July 2020 and Pride month is over. The outbreak of Covid-19 meant all planned Manchester Pride celebrations were cancelled, with people encouraged to socially distance for the health and safety of themselves and others.

Sadly, Manchester Pride will be postponed until June 2021. Those who have bought tickets for scheduled Pride events via will not be refunded. However, any tickets purchased for Manchester Pride 2020 will be valid for next year.

Manchester is a proud, gay-friendly city and Manchester Pride has been an important event in many people’s social calendars since its official launch in 2003. 

The annual pride parties hosted in Mayfield and Manchester’s Gay Village usually attract crowds of thousands. Money from ticket sales go directly back to the community and due to event cancellations, community funding may be jeopardised. 

Canal Street, Manchester Gay Village empty during the coronavirus pandemic.
An empty Canal Street, Manchester Gay Village. Photo by Allen White.

The once vibrant Village is now dormant until it is safe again for businesses to open. As lockdown regulations loosen in the coming weeks, Manchester’s Gay Village will be able to flourish once again.

With lockdown restrictions, online platforms are the best way to get a message across. In light of current social unrest, the Black Lives Matter movement proved how digital solidarity on social media can have a global impact for change. Pride this year is more than ever a protest and not a party. 

Black Lives Matter protest, Manchester. Allen White.
Black Lives Matter protest, Manchester City Centre. Photo by Allen White.

NQ took to Instagram to reach out to the LGBTQIA+ community in Manchester and ask how they celebrated pride this year over lockdown.

“I used my free time over lockdown to support the work of queer artists, musicians and film makers. I was able to use my time wisely and educate myself on the history of the community and the organisations set up to protect us.’

– Freya Potts, 19. Fashion student

“Over lockdown, I streamed digital drag performances to raise money for the Black Lives Matter movement. This year we must use pride to fight for fellow LGBTQIA+ POC members and mainly black trans women.”

– Ben Joseph, 22. Drag Queen

It is thanks to gay and trans POC like Marsha P. Johnson that we can even openly celebrate pride today. Marsha P. Johnson was a key figure in the Stonewall riots in June 1969. She led many riots and protests demanding rights for the LGBTQIA+ community. Marsha’s actions inspired many others around the world to join the fight for equality. Within a month of the protests, the first ever openly Gay Pride march took place.

Pride is definitely a protest! We must continually evolve with the times and stand with the Black Lives Matter movement and trans POC. We must make more people in the community aware that their fundamental rights were fought for by groups that are still very marginalised.

– Laurence Waterhouse, 22. Retail worker.

50 years on, the Black Lives Matter movement evokes similar anger and protest for change. We must leave our dancing shoes at home for now, and instead focus on making the world a more equal and educated place. Use your time at home to educate yourself and others about the past, so we can learn for the future. Support queer businesses, artists and charities with donations to Black Lives MatterManchester Pride Charity and the LGBT Foundation.

Share how you celebrated Pride this year over lockdown in the comments below or on the NQ Facebook page!