The transgender and non-binary communities deserve a safe space to celebrate and meet and support others going through similar experiences and adapting to living life how they always felt they should. Enter Trans Vegas 2019, a trans creative arts festival! From Sat 29 Jun to Mon 3 Jul, Manchester will dedicate different venues around town to activities and events for the Trans community, with some free to enter. Funded by the National Lottery and Arts Council England, Trans Vegas will see “exciting and diverse Trans-led events offering a platform for Trans people get to tell their own stories in beautiful venues across Manchester”, making this unique and rightly progressive event an absolute must-visit. With that in mind we’ve put together a few things to look out for during Trans Vegas 2019…

Sat 29 June
Trans Vegas launches at The Refuge in the iconic Principal Hotel on Oxford Road, namely starring The Cocoa Butter Club, described as “a spirited soirée of burlesque, spoken word and vogueing celebrating Trans performers of colour”. If for some reason this hasn’t made your ears prick up in anticipation, the celebration will also have a focus on the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots and the gay rights activist and self confessed drag queen Marsha P Johnson, who had a huge part to play. Expect emotion, liberation and lots of drinks between 9pm-2am!

Sun 30 June
Manchester’s independent cinema, theatre and art venue HOME welcomes ‘Trans Creative at the Movies’ on the Sunday of the festival, offering a look at mainstream cinema from a Trans perspective, including a panel discussion consisting of Juno Roche, Kimberley Clark and Victoria Gigante. This film event seeks to reclaim “some space in cis-led cinematic history” and promises to put forward interesting and important Trans perspectives in a cinematic environment.” Later the same day, across town at the historic Royal Exchange Theatre some of the most exciting Trans and Non-binary performers will bring comedy, music and monologue to tell their stories truthfully and in their own way. Trans and Non-binary people are invited to join the 100 strong cast this year through the website. This work has never been seen before and stars well loved Trans community heavyweights such as Kate O’Donnell and Jo Clifford. This highly anticipated leg of the festival requires a ticket so book quick!

Mon 1 July
Monday is Manchester Art Gallery’s turn to host a Trans Vegas event with its stylish ‘Trans Men Wear It Well’ exhibition and discussion. £5 tickets to the event include a glass of wine or soft drink whilst you peruse the gallery’s new couture acquisitions dating back to the 19th Century. The 7pm discussion will cover “why men can’t wear what they want and how this links to Trans rights being a struggle for equal rights for all genders”, promising to broaden minds and introduce intellectuals and principal trailblazers both in the Trans community and fashion industry.

Tue 2 July
‘Trans Spirit’ is a free wellbeing session included in the Trans Vegas festival, offering activities from yoga and meditation to singing as a unique opportunity to come together and recharge your Trans spirit. This relaxed 7pm-9:30pm activity aims to provide some respite and build on already strong Trans characters, meaning you leave feeling supported and lifted up – plus, it’s free!

Wed 3 July
To give the festival the send off it deserves, ‘Stand By Your Trans’ brings the event to a close on Wednesday, filling the Front Room at Royal Exchange Theatre with live performances by Trans people and their allies. This uplifting finale welcomes music, poetry, comedy and “the unexpected” as well as open-mic opportunities which anyone can take part in. Entry depends on how much you want to pay on the night and let’s face it, you can’t go wrong with a good sing-song and a room full of love!

29 Jun – 03 Jul, various venues across Manchester, prices vary,

Sat 29 Jun - Wed 3 Jul
Emmeline Banks
Published on:
Mon 1 Jul 2019