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Tuesday 8 August 2017

More sloppy journalism from the Manchester Evening News

Manchester Pride raises record amount for charity in 2016,” wrote the Manchester Evening News on 25 November 2016.

What the MEN didn’t tell readers was that Manchester Pride had changed its end of year accounting date from 30 September 2016 to 31 December 2016, giving it a 15 month accounting year in 2015/16.

Manchester Pride change of accounting date 2016.jpg

It isn’t clear exactly what effect it had on the fundraising. But it means Manchester Pride will have had about an extra six to seven weeks of income before this “record amount” announcement.


Filed under: LGBT,Manchester,The media — GS @ 12:14 am
Wednesday 15 February 2017

Archives reveal “regular, ranting bigotry about gays” in the pages of the Manchester Evening News

In 1989 the MEN called for an “awful” floral display in Piccadilly Gardens commemorating Stonewall to be “destroyed.”

Scene Out, August 1989

“MEN poisons your mind” states one banner at the protest outside the paper’s HQ on Deansgate.

An article in Scene Out magazine, August 1989 issue, with the headline “Evening paper degrades community”, reports on how a floral tribute in Piccadilly Gardens to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Stonewall riots (the origin of gay pride), was sprayed with weedkiller by vandals. It happened after an editorial in the Manchester Evening News suggested that the display should be destroyed.

The display had been created by Manchester City Council. The MEN reported how office workers said it was “disgusting”and “awful.” An editorial suggested that perhaps the city fathers should “order the destruction of the blooming thing.” Vandals then did so.

Scene Out describes the coverage as “yet another attack” on the Lesbian and Gay community by the Manchester Evening News. The editor claimed that the paper was “totally unbiased” in its coverage of the gay community. However campaigners highlighted the MEN’s then columnist Andrew Grimes and his “regular, ranting bigotry about gays.”

There was a protest outside the offices of the MEN on Deansgate (shown in the photo). Paul Fairweather being one who was there. Two of them were invited in to speak to the Deputy Editor after being informed by security that six was considered “a mob.”

This will all be news to younger readers. But some of us older LGBT people have a long memory. Some will say it’s more than 25 years ago. But while the Tories are still slated for Section 28 on a regular basis, other homophobia from the time has been airbrushed away and despite £250,000 of Heritage Lottery funding having been spent on “LGBT history projects” in recent years.

These days the Manchester Evening News poses as a supporter of LGBT people and is a “media partner” to Manchester Pride. But, at the same time, it continues the dirty tricks when it comes to LGBT campaigners who are fighting for lawful rights — such as those surrounding the illegal street closures during that same corporate Manchester Pride.

In its response to the FactsMCR naked streak spoof, MEN owner Trinity Mirror wrote that the paper was “proud of its longstanding support of Manchester Pride.” But you can see that, in 1989, as the commmunity organised HIV fundraising jumble sales on Canal Street, and years after the first pride had taken place in the city, the Manchester Evening News deliberately degraded our community.

Thanks to Archives+ at Manchester Central Library where the Scene Out magazine was found.


Filed under: Gay,History,LGBT,Manchester,Politics,The media — GS @ 2:00 pm
Friday 25 November 2016

The LGBT Foundation’s misleading “researchers’ guide” to LGBT history, funded by the Heritage Lottery

Cover of the LGBT Foundation publicationManchester’s LGBT Foundation published its document “Unlocking A Hidden History – A Researchers’ Guide To Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans Historical Sources In Manchester”, back in 2013. You can see it here (PDF).

It was funded by the Heritage Lottery. Over recent years the Heritage Lottery Fund has given out around a quarter of a million pounds for LGBT history projects in Manchester. Much of it to organisations which are interconnected and have the same clique of high profile people involved.

Some of us have asked what is there to show for such a huge sum of money? Manchester City Council was involved in this particular project too.

And there is another problem: accuracy. Some of the organisations which have received this money have a history of putting out incorrect information and misleading the public.

The same is true of the LGBT Foundation’s “guide.”

The front cover features a picture of Quentin Crisp. This is a piece of art which appears at the side of a doorway on Canal Street. On page three, the very first paragraph of text states “over the years, Manchester has also been home to many important LGB&T figures such as Quentin Crisp and Alan Turing…”

Page three of the guide contains this schoolboy howler

In reality there isn’t a shred of evidence that Quentin Crisp ever lived in Manchester and called it “home”.

He was born in Surrey and went to university in London. For more than four decades he lived in the first floor apartment at 129 Beaufort Street. It was here that documentary maker Denis Mitchell filmed him for Granada Television around 1968, after Crisp had written his famous book The Naked Civil Servant. Then in 1981 Quention Crisp moved to New York.

In November 1999, on the eve of a nationwide revival of his one-man show, Crisp died of a heart attack in Chorlton-cum-Hardy, a suburb of Manchester.

In a contemporary news report about his death, Patrick Newly, Quentin Crisp’s press agent told The Guardian that he had spoken to Crisp who was in New York at the time “roughly two or three weeks” previously. It’s clear that Quentin Crisp was in Chorlton-cum-Hardy for a matter of days.

And Crisp’s friend Bernard Cops went so far as to say it was “tragic that Crisp, who loved the US and had applied for citizenship, had died in a Manchester suburb.”

In March 2016 I contacted the LGBT Foundation to suggest they correct the mistake. I received an email reply from “A”, a volunteer, who said it would be done.

However, by November nothing had happened. The “guide” was unchanged, still misleading the public and “researchers”.

I contacted Tim Fountain, the author of Resident Alien, the play about Quentin Crisp. Had he ever come across any evidence that Crisp might call Manchester “home,” I asked. He told me that the suggestion sounded “utterly implausible”.

I wrote to the LGBT Foundation again. On 25 November I received a reply from “H”.

“H” begins her email by claiming “I have no record of an email you sent in March regarding this, but following your email last week I have looked into this.”

Unfortunately for “H” a copy of my original email from March, and “A”‘s reply thanking me for it, appears quoted below her reply, as “A” sent her a copy following my second contact. So she seems to be fibbing when she writes that she has “no record” of the March email.

“H” continues:

“Our Researcher’s Guide, which was published in 2013, states that, ‘Manchester has also been home to many important LGB&T figures such as Quentin Crisp and Alan Turing who have made vital contributions to British society and culture.’ This reflects the fact that Crisp spent his final days in Chorlton, died and was buried there. Having reviewed the full guide I’m satisfied that it does not contain inaccuracies related to Crisp, so will be taking no further action.”

Do you think that staying with a friend for a day or two in a place, dying and being buried there is enough for you to call that place “home”? I don’t. They even mention Crisp ahead of Turing.

And there’s a further problem. Contrary to what “H” writes, Quentin Crisp isn’t buried in Chorlton-cum-Hardy…

He was cremated and his ashes were flown to New York. This is stated on Wikipedia. I have also checked with Tim Fountain who confirms the information and it’s stated on the website of Phillip Ward who was a close friend of Crisp and is his executor.

So even as the LGBT Foundation declined to correct its error, a member of staff gave out more factually incorrect information about Quentin Crisp.

Everyone makes mistakes. But refusing to correct them when caught out and shown the true facts is downright unprofessional.

Our history is much too important to be in the hands of careless people like this and, even worse, for them to be funded with precious public money to produce dodgy publications which, pretentiously, claim to “guide” history researchers.

Thank goodness there have been no huge consequences due to this schoolboy howler by the LGBT Foundation! But wait…

In September 2014 artists painted a giant mural on the side of the Molly House bar on Richmond Street in Manchester’s gay village.

It features famous drag queen FooFoo LaMar, computer pioneer Alan Turing, suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst and, somehow, a minor current drag queen. All of whom have a strong connection with Manchester.

The other person featured is Quentin Crisp and back in 2014 many of us were scratching our heads about why that was.

It seems none of the organisations which claim to care about LGBT history really do when it comes down to truth and accuracy. Not the LGBT Foundation, Manchester Pride, the Heritage Lottery Fund, LGBT History Month or Manchester City Council.

It’s a gravy train. About going through the motions, career opportunities, staying “in” with the right people at any cost and getting hands on cash. It must end.

UPDATE (20 December 2016)

This article is now in the top ten search results on Google for two key related searches. Surely it would be better for the LGBT Foundation and Heritage Lottery Fund to address the issue in a professional way, as requested, rather than have this? I don’t understand them.

LGBT Foundation on Google

LGBT Foundation and Heritage Lottery Fund on Google


Filed under: Buildings,Bygone Manc,Gay,History,LGBT,Manchester — GS @ 10:56 pm
Tuesday 30 August 2016

Questions over Manchester Pride day tickets being withdrawn

The censors at Manchester Pride have been busy removing valid questions about day tickets from their Facebook page today.

I am publishing screengrabs here so that everyone can see exactly what Manchester Pride doesn’t want you to read. I will be doing this regularly.

As you can see Manchester Pride’s explanation was completely bogus. Refusing to sell a day ticket but selling the same person a much more expensive weekend pass can’t possibly have any effect on crowd safety on that particular day as the person goes ahead and walks in either way.

How could they tell someone no day passes were available immediately after the parade on Saturday afternoon but then later on that evening only offer a day pass to someone who wanted a weekend pass? So in each case the person ended up paying more. One wanted a day ticket but paid for a weekend. The other wanted a weekend ticket but had to pay for two day tickets for Saturday and Sunday.

Is this fraud? Perhaps a case of “buyer beware.” But it’s certainly unethical and exploitative.

Day tickets discussed on Manchester Pride's Facebook page

Day tickets discussed on Manchester Pride's Facebook page

Day tickets discussed on Manchester Pride's Facebook page

Day tickets discussed on Manchester Pride's Facebook page


Filed under: Gay,LGBT,Manchester — GS @ 9:59 pm
Saturday 27 August 2016

As it happens: people walk into Manchester Pride 2016 without a wristband

People are entering the gay village successfully without a wristband during Manchester Pride 2016 and are reporting back what happens. This follows a ruling by the Local Government Ombudsman in April 2015.

The media blackout about the changed situation continues. To their shame, the Manchester Evening News, BBC and the gay media as a whole have failed to say anything. An extraordinary situation and an eyeopener for anyone who thinks the mainstream and gay media can be trusted. So much for rights.

The FactsMCR.com website has a live blog covering events. Also people are posting about their experiences on a Facebook event and group: Manchester pride 2016 Free Event and I Love My Right to Access Premises At Manchester Pride 2016.

So far most seem to have been able to walk in without buying a wristband. As far as getting into bars without a band is concerned, it’s a mixed picture. Before the weekend, Tribeca announced on its flyers that no wristband would be required. This year Tribeca is just outside the barriers (on Sackville Street).

There is no access to the pop concert on the private car-park. The campaign has never been about demanding access to that or bars and clubs without a band. It has been about the public pavements of the gay village being closed and pedestrian access being denied to businesses which were happy to serve those without a wristband. Also about residents being bullied. In a letter sent to them in 2010 Manchester Pride claimed to have the power to “grant” access to their homes.

Greater Manchester Police has spelt out the situation in no uncertain terms this year and appears to be willing to be more proactive in defending our lawful rights. This follows the disgraceful situation in 2014 when officers stood and laughed at the gates as Pride’s guards unlawfully blocked access.

With Manchester Pride silent on the issue for two years, Manchester City Council is so concerned that it has set up a hotline which people can call if they are blocked.

The 2016 factsheet gives details of that and all the other information you need so you know your rights and can walk in with confidence and pride!


Filed under: Gay,LGBT,Manchester — GS @ 11:29 pm
Thursday 11 August 2016

Manchester Pride misleads again — in its latest accounts

Manchester Pride’s accounts for year ending 2015 state that 43,000 tickets sold that year was the highest number ever.

In fact the Community Report issued by Mardi Gras in 1999 states that sales in 1998 were 51,000 and 45,000 in 1999.

Pride’s own 2009 accounts state that attendance was “over” 42,000 that year. The accounts for the following year, 2010, say there was a 6% increase in ticket sales that year.

42,000 x 6% = 2,520

Total 44,520.

Three years in which ticket sales were higher than the 43,000 in 2015…

Manchester Pride hasn’t responded to an email about this. When will Pride be held to account for misleading the public repeatedly?


Filed under: Gay,LGBT,Manchester — GS @ 1:46 pm
Thursday 18 February 2016

Thinking of buying a Manchester Pride 2016 wristband? Some very important information…

The streets of the gay village will be open to everyone during Manchester Pride this year, whether they pay or not, and we think Sackville Park will be too.

This is because Manchester Pride has acted unlawfully since 2003 in closing the streets to pedestrians who didn’t pay. In fact, blocking members of the public who were on foot was probably a criminal offence. Manchester City Council had unlawfully included pedestrians in its traffic order for the event and last year they had to rewrite it to remove this. (more…)


Filed under: Gay,LGBT,Manchester,Politics — GS @ 12:30 pm
 
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