Meet the Queer Asian collective making waves at Manchester Pride festival

Manchester Pride is back this year with its most diverse celebration yet as it elevates the talent of people of colour in the LGBTQ+ community.

As part of the celebrations the event will host its first ever Queer Asian Takeover – giving people of Asian heritage in the LGBTQ+ community the opportunity to showcase their artistry and culture in the festival, on Saturday 26 August.

The takeover came about when the CEO of Manchester Pride spoke to the leader of the House of Spice, a group of queer performers, about the discrimination they face.

Mark Fletcher, Manchester Pride CEO, said: "The discrimination that’s faced by queer people of colour in proclaimed queer spaces and in general society is still a real issue.

"Last year, we saw some harrowing incidents that took place not far from here [Canal Street] for one of the house collectives that we are proud to be championing and elevating this year.

"When you see those type of problems occurring, and those incidents still taking place in this city, where I'm from, it hurts and it cuts deep.

"What we’ve done is responded to what exactly our communities wanted to do to find opportunities to take a more equitable approach to make sure that queer people of colour and trans people and non-binary communities are further supported and provided opportunities."

Manchester Pride is a ‘party as protest' which mainly takes place in the heart of Manchester's Gay Village. Credit: ITV Granada Reports

In 2022, there was a 41% increase in anti-Lesbian, gay and bisexual hate crimes and a 56% increase in transphobic hate crimes. 

A stonewall survey revealed that queer people of colour often face multiple forms of discrimination, with more than half having experienced racism within the LGBTQ+ community.

Mother of the House of Spice, Lucky Roy Singh, is the host and curator of the Queer Asian Takeover.

Lucky, who is also an Indian Sikh drag queen, said the discrimination they face inspired them to help curate the takeover.

They said: "I experience racism on a daily basis and it is a real issue for me and that is one of the main reasons why I decided to move forward with the project."

House of Spice are a group of performers of Asian, Middle Eastern and North African heritage. Credit: Lucky Roy Singh

The House of Spice will be taking to the stage in Sackville Gardens in Manchester's Gay Village over the weekend.

They hope the event will help people of all backgrounds to feel like they truly belong.

Lucky continued: "This stage is going to be that joy, that representation, that inclusion, that diversity that is a need and people are going to get to see what our culture can bring, what our artistry can bring and what our fashion can bring."

Lucky said: “It’s really important to see people like myself on stage because when growing up I didn’t have it unfortunately and that’s been my drive and passion to get this done because I want a younger person to look and see that representation and know it’s okay to be queer and identify as themselves."

"It’s really important to have that notion that we do belong, we do matter and we should be here to take up space."

The Queer Asian Takeover is showcasing over 22 performers and house collectives, including Val The Brown Queen, Club Zindagi, Gracie T, and headliner DJ Gok Wan. 

Manchester Pride is a four day festival which begins on Friday 25 August and ends Monday 28 August.