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From politics to Manchester Gay Pride Parade Queen

Category: England

Published: 9th Aug 2011 12:17:11

An independent candidate who stood in the Doncaster mayoral election in 2009 is to become a gay pride parade queen.

Michael Felse will be this year's Parade Queen at the Gay Pride festival in Manchester this month.

Mr Felse said his alter ego Ethol Mary would look "more like a Grimsby docker than Lady Gaga."

Mr Felse also stood as an English Democrat candidate in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire in 2009, during the general election.

Mr Felse who was brought-up and lived in Rossington, Doncaster, for a number of years is now living in Manchester working on community projects for the gay, lesbian and bi-sexual 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's Gay Pride festival which takes place in August.

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

I think it isn't making politics silly, it is saying 'No lets have a bit of fun'”

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 is saying 'No lets 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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