Central Chambers: Marching for Pride and Protest

On the Saturday of the Bank Holiday weekend, Central Chambers once again took to the streets of Manchester to participate in the Pride march. While the event is undoubtedly a celebration, it’s foremost a protest, a stand against the prejudices faced by the LGBTQIA+ community. Benjamin Knight reflects on the march itself and why ‘parade’ doesn’t always feel like the right word.

Benjamin Knight on Manchester Pride 2023

At Manchester Pride 2023, Central Chambers took a bold stand, emphasising the importance of protest amidst celebration. For years, we’ve been the only chambers to participate as an organisation annually. This year was no different. We extended our invitation to law students, court staff, clerking and admin team members from firms, and other chambers, as well as pupil barristers, both present and upcoming, from all chambers in the north west.

As we marched, we were met with loud and genuine support from members of the public. They didn’t just cheer from the sidelines; they engaged with us, sharing in the spirit of the event. Alongside the LGBTQIA+ members of chambers were allies, friends, and family. Their presence was a testament to the ‘gotta be able to see it to be it’ approach we take in our professional lives.

Manchester Pride 2023 - Central Chambers

Every individual who joined us brought something unique to the experience. From arranging the Pride Breakfast at chambers to carrying the massive speaker that kept our spirits high with tunes, to the banner-carrying, the laughter, and even the occasional cans of premixed drinks. But more than the contributions, it was the breadth of inclusivity they represented that made us proud.

I want to take a moment to thank the allies who marched with us at Manchester Pride 2023. Your presence was a powerful reminder that the LGBTQIA+ community needs you. To our upcoming pupils and those in other chambers, I hope the march was a fantastic opportunity for you to bond and have fun.Music and bopping to Steps on the march!

However, amidst the celebration of love that was the “Queerly Beloved” theme at Manchester Pride 2023, it’s crucial to remember the protest element of the march. In 2023, the LGBTQIA+ community in the UK has seen a significant increase in violence, abuse, threats, and prejudice. Incidents like the Two Brewers stabbing in London are grim reminders of the challenges we face. The divisive rhetoric of politicians is not just polarising society against our community; it’s costing actual human lives. The phoney ‘culture war’ is a tool to divide and damage our community, all in the name of power and avoiding scrutiny.

Outside the UK, the situation is even more dire. The world is regressing. New laws are being introduced globally, reminiscent of the dark days of s.28, marriage inequality, and the lack of freedom to even ‘say gay’. In Uganda, one of the world’s toughest anti-LGBTQ laws was recently enacted. In the USA, anti-queer legislation is on the rise. Even in Asia, countries like Japan, known for their progressive views, are only now passing laws to “promote understanding” of LGBT people, which many argue don’t go far enough.

Manchester Pride 2023 - Central Chambers

People are being murdered for their sexuality at rates we thought were a thing of the past. All these atrocities are being committed to allow a powerful few to retain control over those with no such privilege. Populism is a distraction.

Baby, they're ready to go!

But we stand against that. We always will. Inclusivity, not division. Intersectionality, not compartmentalisation. Empathy, not hatred. Education, not wilful ignorance.

This year, our group was larger than ever before. Next year, will you join us? We promise, we’ll supply the tunes and the fortifying pre-march scran. Keep an eye out for our sign-up invitation in June/July 2024. You can even get an early-bird Manchester Pride 2024 wristband already, but you do not need that to join us on the march.


Central Chambers continues to operate its free and inclusive LGBTQIA+ Law Clinic. It’s the first such barrister-led clinic operated in England and Wales. We have given advice, assistance, a listening ear, and representation at court to many members of our community through this service and will continue to do so in the years to come. You can make a confidential enquiry to this service by clicking here.