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Manchester Pride

Import: NEWS: A Letter to Manchester Pride – Why are you giving less money to Gay Charities?

By Creativity, JournalismNo Comments

(Image Credit: NightFall404 @ Flickr)

James Stevens was a regular attender of Manchester Pride’s Big Weekend. He describes himself as a ‘proud Mancunion,’ as well as ‘proud to be part of the gay community’ and states that he donates to local gay charities and support groups every year.

But he recently wrote a letter to Manchester Pride expressing his concern and anger at less money being raised and given away to gay charities. His letter, which he also shared on Facebook states: ‘Every year, without fail, I have heard the amount raised for local charities decrease until this year when it stood at £52,000.’


Manchester Pride

John Stewart, Chief Executive of Manchester Pride stated that there were a number of ‘inaccuracies’ in Stevens’ letter.

He stated that the money raised for gay charities was ‘£52,000 in 2012, £105,000 in 2011, £115,000 in 2010, £135,000 in 2009 and £105,000 in 2008.’

Stewart added that ‘The greatest amount disbursed by Manchester Pride (and, indeed ever disbursed since August Bank Holiday fundraising in the Gay village was established) is £135,000 in 2009.’

Manchester Pride’s figures showed a significant drop in the amount raised for gay charities of £53,000 from 2011 to 2012.


(Image Credit: Man Alive! @ Flickr.)

In Stevens’ letter he asks about the reasons for the falling amount raised and given to gay charities:
‘I have heard many excuses for this decreasing donation: the “payment” of big acts who would otherwise not have attended, to pay for security, insurance and all sorts… I say this is nonsense… I dread to think what it would cost those attendees should these sponsors drop out. Are their own donations falling? Is this the reason you see fit to cut your own donations by so large an amount?’

Stewart from Manchester Pride said that the expenses of organising and running the Big Weekend event was partly the cause for the drop in donations to gay charities. He said:
‘Major festivals do not organise themselves, nor does the cost of providing entertainment on 3 stages, security etc pay for itself. We have to cover the costs of hosting what remains the UK’s leading Pride event.

The amount raised for charity is almost entirely dependent on level of tickets sales, as costs have to be covered. Once costs have been met, the entire surplus is then donated to charity.

Hence a 10% drop in ticket sales does not lead to a 10% drop in the charity amount, but a much larger percentage drop, as an effect of this gearing.’

Stewart also blamed austerity for falling income from Sponsors and festival attenders, stating:
‘Clearly, with austerity biting, people have less money to spend, as do sponsors, and Manchester Pride is not immune from the effects of this.

Clearly, we would like to raise a substantial amount for charity every year, but have to recognise that, in a challenging economic climate, attending a four day event is a considerable commitment for our patrons.’

Stewart stated that of the money raised 25% goes to the Lesbian & Gay Foundation (LGF) for the free condom and lube scheme that sees free condoms and lube distributed to venues across Greater Manchester. He stated that 25% goes to the George House Trust (GHT) for the support of their HIV welfare fund, that gives grants to people living with HIV to pay for essential items such as clothing and bedding, or top help pay bills. He said that the other 50% was distributed to LGBT and HIV community groups and organisations across Greater Manchester through a funding application system.

Stewart stated that the decision to give 25% to the LGF and 25% to the GHT taken many years ago, and reflects the origins of Pride in Operation Fundraiser. He said that the decision was looked at again by the Trustees last year, and agreed to continue the split for another 3 years.

Stevens’ signs off his letter by writing: ‘I am extremely disheartened to say that I can no longer, in all good conscience, support Manchester Pride in light of what I have witnessed happen over the past few years.’ You can read James Stevens’ full letter here.

It should be noted that in Stevens’ letter he mentions about Manchester Pride loosing it’s charity status. Stewart in response to this stated that: ‘Manchester Pride has NEVER lost it’s charity accreditation.’

Published by: The Gay UK on Tuesday 24th September 2013.

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Import: Manchester Pride Fringe Festival: Art Exhibitions & Cultural Events

By Creativity, Gay, Gigs & Shows, JournalismNo Comments

Manchester Pride Fringe Festival is a wide-range of events throughout August that are separate from main event: The Big Weekend. We’ve had a glance at the programme and chosen our five must see art exhibitions and cultural events:


Gays of Manchester

Gays of Manchester
Date(s) & Time: Tuesday 20th – Tuesday 27th August. Various times.
Venue: TBC
Cost: FREE
Gays of Manchester is an exhibition shown by George House Trust (GHT). Six gay men in Manchester founded the GHT in 1985 with the aim to support people living with HIV.

The exhibit brings together portraits of the diverse LGBT community of Manchester and pays homage to their support of people living with HIV. This exhibit is likely to be enlightening and leave you introspective.
Booking: Not required. Just turn up when it’s on.

The Polari Mission: Bona Eek
Date(s) & Time: Friday 16th August 2013 – Sunday 2nd February 2014.
Venue: John Rylands Library, 150 Deansgate. M3 3EH.
Cost: FREE
Polari is one of the world’s most endangered languages. This bold, yet secretive language has deep roots within gay history. Artists Jez Dolan and Joseph Richardson shed light on Polari and share their mission to save the language. An exhibit that is expected to be informative, ignite within you a passion for Polari or at the very least give you an appreciation the language.
Booking: Not required. Just turn up when it’s on.



Date & Time: Throughout August
Venue: Taurus Bar, 1 Canal Street. M1 3HE.
Cost: FREE
Nick Franklin, Manchester’s Artist of the Decade (2001-2011) presents his sixth art exhibition. Nick’s work is varied including traditional canvas paintings, cartoon stylistic works and post-modern multi-material 3D pieces.

Famous owners of his work include: Kylie Minogue, Peter Thatchell and Phillip Oliver.

Nick’s art is truly wonderful and inspiring. See some photos of his work. This is an exhibition not to be missed.
Booking: Not required. Just turn up when it’s on.

Loud and Clear
Date & Time: Tuesday 20th August 17:30.
Venue: The Lesbian and Gay Foundation, Richmond Street. M1 3HF.
Cost: FREE
This is a lesbian & bisexual woman only event.

Attendees will meet a panel of inspirational women who will talk about: coming out, getting their voices heard and mental health issues. Free food and refreshments will be available, with women being encouraged to think freely.
Booking: Not required. Just turn up when it’s on.


Queer Music for a Desert Island

Queer Music for a Desert Island
Date & Time: Saturday 17th August.
Venue: Wilbraham St Ninian’s Church, Chorlton. M21 0XJ.
Cost: £10
Peter Thatchell – human rights campaigner since 1967 talks about his life and work. Andy Braunston – Pastor of Manchester Community Church also talks about his life and work. Both choose ‘Desert Island Discs’ putting songs along with their stories. At the end of the day there is a question and answer session.

A fantastic opportunity to learn more about the gay rights movement from the veteran Peter Thatchell.
Booking: Tickets can be purchased through the Manchester Pride website.

For other Manchester Pride Fringe Festival events see the Fringe Festival website. Find out more about Manchester in our Manchester Guide.

Published by: The Gay UK on Wednesday 31st July 2013.

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Import: Manchester Pride Fringe Festival: Must See Shows

By Creativity, Gay, Gigs & Shows, JournalismNo Comments

Manchester Pride Fringe Festival is a wide-range of events throughout August that are separate from main event: The Big Weekend. We’ve had a glance at the programme and chosen our five must see shows:


Ennio Marchetto

Ennio Marchetto
Date(s) & Time: Thursday 8th & Friday 9th August 2013, 19:30.
Venue: TBC.
Cost: £15 per ticket.
Ennio Marchetto is described as being a ‘living cartoon’. The Italian’s mime act, with its paper costumes is truly a spectacle to behold and is hugely popular wherever performed.

Ennio Marchetto has been performing for over twenty-one years and to date this is his only UK performance this year. This unique show is an absolute must see.
Booking: Tickets can be purchased through the Manchester Pride website.


If I Can Dream

If I Can Dream
Date(s) & Time: Friday 2nd & Saturday 3rd August, 19:30.
Venue: The Lowry, Salford Quays. M50 3AZ.
Cost: £6-10 per ticket.
Young Liam’s world is full of violence and lies. Liam loved his father, who loved Elvis. The musical tells the story of how Liam uses Elvis songs to cope with a difficult time in his life. Expect this to be upbeat as well as emotionally touching.
Booking: Tickets can be purchased through The Lowry website.



Date(s) & Time: Friday 2nd & Saturday 3rd August, 19:30.
Venue: AXM, Bloom Street. M1 3LY.
Cost: £16 per ticket.
When Grant and his flat-mate Carlos accidently pick up each other’s phones you know it can only lead to comedy. Add into the mix an App called The C*ck Shop and you can be forgiven for letting your imagination run away with you.

Up4aMeet? Dubbed the naked play, has Lloyd Daniels (XFactor) who recently admitted that he’s a ‘bit of a naturist,’ indicating that he might be getting naked for his role in the show.

We’ll be going along to see this, so expect a review after the showing. If you’re not in Manchester on these dates, don’t worry as Up4aMeet? is on a national tour.
Booking: Tickets can be purchased through the Up4aMeet? on tour website.


Someone Borrowed, Someone’s Blue – The Musical

Someone Borrowed, Someone’s Blue – The Musical
Date(s) & Time: Monday 19th – Thursday 22nd August, 19:30.
Venue: Afflecks Palace, 52 Church Street. M4 1PW.
Cost: £8 per ticket.
Drag Queen Sandy Beach has got her upcoming Wedding to organise. But she needs help, so she recruits her big-boned and walking disaster zone sister, Wendy. But with strictly no lip-syncing, can Sandy sing her way out of the inevitable disasters that follow?
Booking: Tickets can be purchased through the New Attitude Theatre Company website.


9 To 5 – The Musical

9 To 5 – The Musical
Date(s) & Time(s): Tuesday 20th – Saturday 24th August. Performance times vary: Tuesday’s 20:00, Wednesday-Saturday’s 19:30, Matinees Thursday-Saturday’s 14:30.
Venue: Opera House, 3 Quay Street. M3 3HP.
Cost: £17.90+
Based on Dolly Parton hits and the film comes a comedy story about friendship, gossip and revenge. Three women office workers take on their sexist, egotistical and bigoted boss to take control of the company.

9 to 5 is crammed with Dolly Parton songs which makes it a must see. If you’re not in Manchester on these dates, don’t worry as this is on a national tour.
Booking: Tickets can be purchased through the ATG Tickets website.

For other Manchester Pride Fringe Festival events see the Fringe Festival website. Find out more about Manchester in our Manchester Guide.

Published by: The Gay UK on Wednesday 31st July 2013.

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TheGayUK Articles – Vintage History: Manchester Gay Village, Top 5 Vintage TV Characters & Book Reviews

By Creativity, Gay, History, Journalism, TV, Online Streaming & FilmsNo Comments

TheGayUK‘s theme this month is Vintage. The articles I’ve written this month are: Vintage History: Manchester Gay Village, Top 5 Vintage TV Characters & Book Reviews. Now, some of these have been submitted, but not yet published. The Editor assures me he’s spreading out the articles over the month, so here’s your chance to get a first read.

Here is my first article on the theme and what I learnt from writing this piece:

Vintage History: Manchester Gay Village

Manchester Gay Village has a long history that makes it truly vintage. Starting as an underground scene in the sixties, through the decades it has transformed to what it is today: one of the most vibrant gay scenes in the UK. In this article we’ll cover the significant events that led to this transformation, describe the Village today and briefly contemplate it’s future.

In the 60s the area that would become the Village was deserted following the collapse of the cotton industry. Having been industrialised it was a gloomy part of the city with little life. The night visitors to the area were either men looking for prostitutes or the prostitutes themselves.

At this point it was still illegal for men to have sex with men, gay people were isolated, not seen as part of society and often encouraged to conform and get married to someone of the opposite sex.

The New Union pub started out as a place for men to meet female prostitutes, but it soon started to attract a small number of gay men. Female prostitutes and gay men might sound like an odd combination, but it was a relationship of mutual legal protection. If the Police ever raided, the prostitutes would pretend to be the gay men’s girlfriends so that neither could be arrested for their respective crimes: prostitution or men that are having sex with men.

In 1967 after campaigning in Manchester, London and other cities the law was changed so that men having sex with men were no longer doing anything illegal, but societal attitudes would take longer to change.

In the 70s the civil rights movement in Manchester continued to campaign for equality. The Rembrandt pub opened as well as one or two others; but these few venues were regularly raided by the Police aiming to catch gay men engaging in sexual activity in a public places. The Police applied the law unfairly, as it was only applied to gay men and often the attitudes of Police Officers were perceived as homophobic.

Then the early 80s came and along with it HIV/AIDS. This caused an increase in homophobia in society but caused the gay community to stand together. In the Village the Thompson Arms seemed to have opened at around this time, if not slightly earlier.

By the late 80s more gay people were coming out. In Manchester protests against Section 28 took place that passed through the city centre, the Village and ended at the town hall. At one of these Manchester protests around 20,000 people marched and what was significant was that: they weren’t all gay. In the Village New York, New York, Queen Club (now Company Bar) and Napoleons opened at around this time. The New Union and Rembrandt were still going strong.

In the late 80s Manchester Pride was also born, although it wasn’t named as that until many years later. It started with the owners of Rembrandt, Napoleons and the New Union wanting to do something on the August Bank Holiday weekend, the main event in the first year was an afternoon bring and buy sale. The vigil aspect came a few years later, when the gay people of Manchester started loosing their friends, lovers and life partners to HIV/AIDS.

The 90s brought a glass-fronted revolution started by the newly opened Manto bar. Before Manto the Village had a very “behind closed doors” feel to it, and this glass-fronted venue was symbolic of being: out and proud. New bars sprang up including Metz, Prague 5 (now G-A-Y), Vanilla and Via Fossa. Poptastic and Cruz 101 clubs opened around this time as well.

The late 90s brought Queer As Folk, a TV programme that dramatised life of three gay men in the Village. It was aired on Channel 4 and signified that there had been a major shift in societal attitudes towards gay people.

By the noughties the Village was similar to as it is now but the construction of The Beacon of Hope was significant. The Beacon of Hope stands on the edge of the canal in Sackville Park. It is a beautiful artistic steal structure that lights up in the evening symbolic of remembrance. Although we’ve moved on, we’ve not forgotten our gay brothers and sisters who’ve been lost to HIV/AIDS.

The Village today is a clean and bright setting with plenty of bars and clubs that gives it a vibrant atmosphere. It has the Village Business Association (business owners group), the Lesbian and Gay Foundation (a charity aimed at improving the health & well being of gay people), Manchester Pride (one of the biggest pride events in the country) and a myriad of community groups around every sort of leisure activity you could imagine. If you want to find out more about Manchester Gay Village, see our guide to gay Manchester:

Looking at the Village’s history one thing that is clear: it has always brought the gay community of Manchester together. Once together gay people have always instigated the change they want to happen. As long as the Village continues to bring the gay community together, be a part of the changes and keep up with them, it’s future will remain secure.

Antony Simpson, writer of this article wasn’t born until the mid-eighties. So in addition to speaking to some of his older friends who witnessed to some of the historic events in this article, he would also like to reference the following sources:
Gaydio: Your Story Radio Documentary, available:

Guardian: Village people by Beatrix Campbell, available:

Channel 4 OD: Queer As Folk

Wikipedia: Canal Street (Manchester), available:

Here is what I learnt from writing this article:

  • Don’t disregard an idea without discussing it with someone first. I happened to mention in an online writers meeting that I’d had the idea for this article, but disregarded it as it was local history and TheGayUK is a national online magazine. The Editor seemed really keen on the idea and said that after London, Manchester was their next biggest audience.
  • More about the journalistic research process.
  • If you’re writing about something that’s been wrote about it before, make it your own by using a different slant or point of view (POV).
  • When it came to writing about the ‘noughties’ writing 00s didn’t feel right so I ended up using the word. This was inconsistant with the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s I’d previously used. I should have found a better way to write the decades, as it would have made the article consistent.

Here is my second article on the theme and what I learnt from writing this piece:

Top 5 Vintage TV Characters
This month’s theme is Vintage. So I thought I’d share with you my Top 5 Vintage TV Characters. In order to make my list, characters had to be iconic (at least to me), gay and in some way vintage. So here we go:

5. Willow Rosenburg (Alyson Hannigan)
(Image Credit: Slayer Revival @ Flickr)

Buffy The Vampire Slayer first appeared on TV in 1997. Willow started off as a geeky, shy girl who fell in love with part-man part-werewolf Oz (Seth Green). When Oz decided he was too dangerous to be around and left Willow she slowly transformed into an UBER Witch. She met fellow Witch Tara (Amber Benson) and fell in love again, only for Tara to be murdered. I love Willow because of the transformation from shy girl to powerful independent woman.

4. Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman)
4.Captain Jack
(Image Credit: alacoolb @ Flickr)

Captain Jack Harkness first appeared on our TV screens in 2005 in Doctor Who, before getting his own spin-off series Torchwood. Captain Jack is openly bisexual although all of his on screen relationships have been with men.

Now before you start commenting and telling me 2005 is hardly Vintage; Captain Jack is an immortal rogue Time Agent that has a timeline that dates back 1860’s. So if that doesn’t make him vintage, I don’t know what will.

3. Michael ‘Mouse’ Tolliver (Marcus D’Amico)
3.Michael Tolliver
(Image Credit: Seattle Gay Scene)

Michael ‘Mouse’ Tolliver appeared on TV in Tales of the City in 1993, which was based on the series of books with the same name. Michael is a gay man living in San Francisco in the late 70s and is a truly loveable character. If you’ve never seen Tales of the City, I can’t recommend the TV series’ and books enough.

2. Mr Humphries (John Inman)
2.Mr humphries
(Image Credit: NightMaresGrim13 @ Flickr)

Are You Being Served? Originally appeared on TV in the 1970s through to the 1980s. Are You Being Served? Was a sit-com set in Grace Brothers’ Clothing Department that focused on the Sales Clerks. I remember seeing a re-run and instantly fell in love with the mincing Mr Humphries.

Camp humoured Mr Humphries was filled with innuendo always alluded to his sexuality, as did his famous catch phrase ‘I’m free!’ whenever a good looking gentleman entered the store. An iconic character, one of the first TV characters to allude to their gay sexuality.

1. Edna Everage (Barry Humphries)
1.edna everage
(Image Credit: jsarcadia @ Flickr)

Edna Everage debuted on stage in her native Australia before she appeared on our TV screens in the late 80s. This Melbourne Housewife is surrounded by fables, but is essentially a character created and played by Barry Humphries. Edna Everage self-proclaimed advisor to the stars and royalty I always think of as being the first mainstream comedian drag act. Her international status makes her number 1 on my list.

If there’s a TV character you feel should be on the list, comment below so that I can discover some new characters.

Here is what I learnt from writing this article:

  • That I can write and indeed enjoyed writing a light-hearted ‘Top’ article.
  • The format of a ‘Top’ article.
  • Use of a Creative Licence with regards to using flickr user images.
  • Keeping it brief: saying more with less words.

Book Reviews
This month I have submitted two book reviews: BOOK REVIEW: Into The Flames by Mel Bossa and Book Review: Handling Edna The Unauthorised Biography by Barry Humphries.

Blog soon,


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