Oldham will host its very own OWLympic tournament tomorrow as part of the town’s annual Pride festival.
The 8th annual event will take place tomorrow, the day after the London Olympics opening ceremony, and promises to be an activity packed, fun-filled event.
The Pride parade will be headed by Fifi Olivia, a giant pink animatronic owl as the owl is the civic emblem of Oldham, lending itself to this year’s Oldham Pride Owlympic theme.
X-Factor star Sami Brookes will be performing on the day, and Oldham Pride favorites including ABBA Fusion, Cavali Jay, the Prairie Dogs and the Gay Gordons will return to the stage.
New to Oldham Pride are Charlie B, Valentino King, the LadyPuffs and Mason.
There will be fun sporting activity competitions with Owlympic medals for the winners, including the chance to demonstrate your ball skills with a goal shooting target, a hoola hoop competition, plus Wii fitness games.
Councillor Barbara Brownridge, Cabinet Member for Co-operatives and Community Development, said: “Oldham Pride continues to go from strength to strength and this year the line-up is stronger than ever.
“As well as providing an entertaining day the Pride festival has an important message to reinforce how prejudice and homophobia are still issues that need to be addressed and challenged daily.”
There will also be a wide range of LGBT and other advice and information stalls, including a survey of the health and wellbeing needs of Oldham’s LGBT community.
The LGBT Forum will be launching a petition to challenge homophobia in Oldham schools.
There has been an increase in homophobic and transphobic name calling, not directed towards children who are homosexual or transsexual, but the homophobic language is being used to harm people.
Colin Avery, Co-leader of the LGBT Forum said: “Name-calling can lead to a crisis point where people believe that a person’s life is not as important as other peoples, so we need to raise awareness of this problem.
“They say that sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt, but actually it is the name calling that starts off all this bullying.”
To recognise recent positive developments and achievements that improve the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people, Oldham LGBT Forum are also awarding their own Owlympic medals.
The bronze and silver prizes have been awarded to the Equality Act 2010, and the Civil Partnership Act respectively.
The Equality Act aims to end discrimination on the grounds of sexuality and gender realignment, and the Civil Partnership Act recognises and celebrates the rights of same sex people to have their relationships recognised by the state.
The gold award goes to Oldham Pride and its supporters; even in times of austerity Oldham Pride gets pride of place.
Some members of the LGBT community have criticized the London Olympics for not doing enough to incorporate the LGBT athletes into the world’s most popular sporting event.