As we come to August, the month of Manchester’s LGBTQ+ pride parade, I thought I would take a look at Pride in Manchester over the years.

Manchester has always been a hotbed for new ideas and beliefs and its people have never been afraid to stand up for what they believe in and what they think is right.

An example of Mancunians standing up for what they believe is right is their reaction to Section 28- a law that basically meant that schools could not teach their children that homosexuality or same sex marriage and families were acceptable, Manchester refused to abide by this homophobic law and their people took to the streets in protest. The campaign against this reviled law “Never Going Underground” led to the UK’s largest ever protest for LGBTQ+ rights that took place right here in Manchester.

Whilst I was looking through Manchester Central Library’s Archives+ Flickr account I found these photos which highlight Manchester’s pride and solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community:

Family and Friends of Lesbians and Gays GB124.G.FFLAG
Gay Unity
Up to 120 local lesbians and gay men came to NWCLGE meetings in the Town Hall to plan this rally. NWCLGE adopted the ‘Never Going Underground’ symbol for its campaign against Section 28.

Other examples of Manchester’s support of the LGBTQ+ community is it’s gay village, on Canal Street. Originally an area known as a Red Light District, Canal Street became associated with the LGBTQ+ community in the 1990s when its first gay bar, Manto, was opened by Carol Ainscow. Support for Manchester’s gay village increased when Manchester City Council officially recognised Canal Street as an area for the LGBTQ+ community. (See Archives+ Flickr album Now It’s the Gay Village.)

canal street 1970s
Canal Street 1970s

The council was involved in pioneering work in the advancement of lesbian and gay rights with a HIV/AIDS unit, sympathetic press and many magazines and newspapers written in support of LGBTQ+ rights such as The Mancunian Gay and it’s work continues to this day. Manchester Pride in August is one of the biggest annual LGBTQ+ events in the UK, maybe even in the world. The founding fathers of the LGBTQ+ rights movement, such as Colin Harvey and Allan Horsfall, set up one of the oldest and most influential LGBTQ+ charities right here in Manchester. It was originally called the North Western Homosexual Law Reform Committee but changed it’s name to the Committee for Homosexual Equality in 1969 in order to achieve more.

Nowadays, Manchester is one of the most accepting cities for LGBTQ+ people to live in or to visit.

Manchester evolved from being the city that was home to Britain’s first research unit for the ‘treatment of homosexuality’ to having an influential role in LGBTQ+ equality. From refusing to abide by homophobic and oppressive laws from the government to designating a specific area just for the LGBTQ+ community to feel safe in, Manchester’s history is a history rich with acceptance, pride and protection for the people in its community.