From politics to Manchester Pride parade queen

  • Published

An independent candidate who stood in the 2009 Doncaster mayoral election is to be the parade queen at a gay and lesbian festival.

Michael Felse has been chosen to lead the event at the 2011 Manchester Pride festival at the end of August.

However, he said his alter ego Ethol Mary would look "more like a Grimsby docker than Lady Gaga."

Mr Felse stood as an English Democrat candidate in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire two years ago.

Although he was brought up and lived in Rossington, Doncaster, Mr Felse now lives in Manchester working on community projects for the gay, lesbian and bisexual community.

He said: "It's considered to be an honour to be the Pride Queen and for some strange reason this year it is going to be me."

Mr Felse has been working as a welfare officer at a swimming club in Manchester called Northern Wave encouraging youths to become more confident.

He said he was "dared" to enter the race to become the Parade Queen for Manchester Pride which takes place in August.

Mr Felse's character, Ethol Mary, will lead over a hundred floats through Manchester on Saturday 27 August.

'Family don't know'

Mr Felse said his family was unaware of what he was planning: "I've had little time to go back and see my family in Doncaster. They don't know about this.

"I wonder if they'll see this and see Uncle Michael as 'Ethol', but I don't think they'll be surprised."

He denied that it made "politics look silly".

"I don't think I'll be taken as a joke. It's really important that we don't suddenly think that everyone fits in one box, everybody is different but it is how do we engage those choices.

"I think it isn't making politics silly, it's saying, no, let's have a bit of fun."

As part of his work in the gay community he has arranged for the Sheffield Eagles rugby league team to have a float.

He added: "It really does help the bridges across the country.

"There are a lot of young people who have suffered from homophobia and hate crimes.

"We have a lot of things to tackle. We have to change the way society works. You have to build trust and respect."

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