Pride House Manchester is set to host a series of events to stand against the Russia’s anti-gay legislation and show solidarity with LGBT athletes.

A Pride House is a dedicated temporary location to host Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) athletes, volunteers and visitors during the Olympics – the first was in 2010 at the Vancouver Winter Olympics.

The Pride House Manchester Opening features a Same Sex Hand Holding Initiative (SSHHI), where the organisation and its supporters will attempt to circle the gay village hand-in-hand to send an extremely poignant message to those in Sochi. Additionally, an Alternative Olympic Ceremony with speeches, performers and a procession featuring local sports teams and It’s A Gay Winter Knockout – a chillier version of Taurus bar’s annual sports day which has featured three-legged-high-heeled races and ‘the handbag toss’.

A range of other Manchester-based venues will also help play host to the diverse events programme for the sixteen day extravaganza. This includes ‘To Russia With Love’, a series of political plays taking place at Contact Theatre, which So So Gay reported yesterday, as well as ‘A Question of (LGBT) Sport’, Russian tea parties, and the ‘Pride House Manchester Big Debate’.

Lou Englefield, Director of Pride House Manchester said: ‘Following the ban on a Pride House in Sochi, Manchester has joined a global movement of “remote” Pride Houses through which LGBT participation in sport can be recognised. LGBT people are athletes, coaches, administrators and fans. We want to celebrate our participation in the Olympic and Paralympic Games whilst showing solidarity with Russia’s LGBT community.”

Jackie Crozier, Project Manager of Pride House Manchester said: ‘This is a pivotal time for LGBT rights – as daily examples of progression and acceptance are being met with instances of disgusting hate crimes, fear and homophobia across the globe. Manchester has never been one to shy away from speaking out to support its LGBT communities, and in fact all minorities, and therefore it comes as no surprise that our ‘Pride House’ is hosting one of the most extensive events schedules globally.’

For more information on what else will be going on during Pride House Manchester, visit the website, view their Facebook page or follow them on Twitter.