LGBT employees go back to school for Pride

LGBT employees at United Utilities will be going back to school this weekend to celebrate Manchester Pride, Class of 2017.

The company’s Identity LGBT+ Network has set its sights on winning the coveted best float award with what will be their biggest appearance at the parade to date.

To match this year’s theme of Class of 2017: The Graduation, the network has converted an articulated lorry into an American High School-on-wheels complete with classroom, locker room and prom area.

Identity LGBT+ Network members will dress as students, cheerleaders, jocks, and a parade troop to showcase United Utilities’ diverse workforce and the company’s support for the LGBT community.

Stars of the show will be Identity LGBT+ Network’s Prom King and Queen.

Lesley Bowden, United Utilities’ Identity LGBT+ Network Lead, said: “I’m really excited to be attending Manchester Pride this weekend and proud to be representing United Utilities for our third consecutive year.

“Our previous parade entries have been low-key, however we are determined to make this year’s entry one to remember with music, cheerleaders and a great party atmosphere.

“It’s great to know that the senior management who have attended Manchester Pride with us in the past are so supportive of our efforts to make our entry really stand out this year.”

As part of a rebrand during LGBT History Month, Identity LGBT+ Network grew its membership from around 80 United Utilities employees to more than 350.

The organisation is part of company’s commitment to being an outward looking, fair and inclusive employer.

Ian Richardson, a Systems Analyst and Identity LGBT+ Network member, said: “Many employers claim they offer equal opportunities for everyone who works for them, regardless of sexual orientation, race, ability or gender identity.

“But with United Utilities, they don’t just say it, they live it. Their support of us taking part in Manchester Pride is just one way in which they demonstrate how inclusive the company is.”

Lesley added that visitors to Manchester Pride would have no problem identifying United Utilities’ float.
“We’re going to be loud and proud,” she said.

“People will hear us coming from a mile away. We’ll be handing out water pouches from our float and encouraging visitors to get involved. So, when you see us, come and say hello, stop us for a photo opportunity and grab one of our water pouches. Everyone is welcome, which is what Manchester Pride is all about.”

Manchester Pride Class of 2017: The Graduation is part of Manchester Pride’s Big Weekend Festival. It will take place at 12.30pm on Saturday, August 26th, at Liverpool Road, Manchester city centre.