After being cancelled last year because of the coronavirus pandemic, Rochdale in Rainbows is returning with another line-up of spectacular events and activities taking place across the borough to make everyone feel proud of who they are.
The celebration, which raises awareness of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Plus (LGBTQ+) communities will take place from Saturday, 20 November 2021 to Wednesday, 1 December 2021. Rochdale in Rainbows is also a time to reflect on the progress made towards equality while acknowledging there is still so much more to do.
The 10 days will start with a transgender day of remembrance when the transgender flag will be raised by the Mayor of Rochdale at Number One Riverside in Rochdale town centre. Local young people will share their reflections and a minute's silence will be held to remember the lives that have been lost in acts of anti-transgender violence.
LGBTQ+ Progress flags will be flown across the borough and members of Rochdale in Rainbows will host exciting events, including 3 drag queen story hours that were fully booked in less than 24 hours, the official opening of Queer Portraits of Rochdale at Touchstones museum, and a youth games night. There will also be an opportunity to knit your own mini progress flag at Knitty Gritty's knitting workshop and there will be an inclusive church worship.
Technology giant Siemens, also a member of Rochdale in Rainbows, has again supported and fully funded the installation of gender and sexual orientation crossing lights in Middleton, Heywood and Rochdale town centre.
Rochdale Football Club will also be showing their support on 27 November 2021. The players will be warming up in Rochdale in Rainbows T-shirts before the game and wearing rainbow laces to raise awareness and show their support for our LGBTQ+ community.
Councillor Susan Smith, the council's cabinet member for communities and cooperation, said, "I'm so proud of the cooperative nature of Rochdale in Rainbows. It's fantastic that we have been able to organise so many events again, bringing Rochdale in Rainbows back to the borough. I am really pleased that we have extended the celebrations to include World AIDS day. I urge everyone to watch the 3 short beautiful films at Touchstones about 3 ordinary people from Greater Manchester who are living with HIV. There are lots of events to take part in, so please get involved, enjoy and thank you for your continued support."
Carl Austin-Behan OBE DL, LGBTQ+ advisor to the Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham and Rochdale in Rainbows member, said: "It has been great to be able to have this second Rochdale in Rainbows celebration in 2021. There are so many enthusiastic people in the borough of Rochdale committed to celebrating and supporting the LGBTQ+ community. Pride is a time when LGBTQ+ communities come together and reflect on how far we've come, as well as acknowledge how much there is still to do."