Transgender people from across Britain are gearing up for a weekend celebration of unity as Manchester plays host to Sparkle 2012 in July.
The annual celebration, run by transgender charity ‘Sparkle’ is now in its eighth year and aims to bring together the transgender community and spread awareness among the public.
Bars and clubs in Canal Street, as well as the Manchester Conference Centre, will host a series of events, from cabaret to live music to a gala dinner.
Sparkle event co-ordinator Bella Jay spoke of the importance of the festival and the message it aims to spread.
“Sparkle 2012 will bring everybody together. All sorts of people make up the transgender community and it is the one time where everybody comes together in one place and one time,” she said.
The weekend commences with a special welcoming party at Taurus, Canal Street on Friday 13 July.
Taurus has been involved with the festival ever since the first event took place in 2005.
A spokesman for Taurus said: “The festival galvanises all of the activity that takes place across 12 months and it is an annual celebration that brings together everything that happens on a day to day basis throughout the year.”
Later on in the evening, Eden will also play host to a special event, dubbed ‘Keep Sparkle Sparkling’, featuring burlesque dancers and a fashion auction.
The auction, sponsored by transgender clothing store Dee Selecta, will see all proceeds go to the Sparkle charity.
Sally Swings, a shop assistant and make-over specialist at Dee Selecta, explained how the event has grown in size over the years.
“It is huge – over the last few years it has gotten bigger and bigger. Places like Dee Selecta and Sparkle have made people so much more aware – you get people from all walks of life attending, not just Transgender, because it is a lot more accepted in Manchester nowadays.”
Paul Oliver, assistant manager of Eden said people can expect a fun-filled night, with cabaret, comedy and a chance to raise some funds for such a worthy charity.
If Friday night’s entertainment is anything to go by, Saturday’s schedule looks set to see the celebrations crank the volume up a notch or two.
Sackville Gardens be transformed into a live music venue as transgender and non-transgender artists alike take to the stage.
Those in attendance will be able to swap their high heels for their dancing shoes and groove along to trans-band Kinky Minx, singer-songwriter Chrystine Moon and Nikki Pebble and much more.
Sparkle organiser Bella was keen to highlight why Sparkle festival will be staying in Manchester in the years to come.
“It’s brilliant – everything is so compact and close together.
“You have the gay village and all the bars that are transgender-friendly, but you have also got the hotels all around the periphery. Everyone involved in helping us put on this event have been so supportive,” she said.
Sparkle 2012 is a free event, open to all and takes place on the weekend of July 13-15.
Due to licensing laws, events in bars and clubs will be strictly 18+.
For more information on Sparkle 2012 visit their website here.