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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
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
Tuesday 10 June 2014

Why Manchester’s gay village must be consigned to history

We still need safe LGBT spaces. But the future lies in decentralising the LGBT community in Manchester. We must reduce the power of a controlling elite that has us by the throat.

There may have been some good intentions behind the setting up of a “gay village” area more than 20 years ago, but now it’s time for all of us to acknowledge what a horrible and perverse thing it’s become.

It’s time to dismantle the gay village and spread our businesses, organisations, ourselves and our pink pounds across the city once again. The way things were quarter of a century ago…

Unfortunately, idealistic ideas about having our own area were exploited by marketeers, politicians, unscrupulous business types, events organisers and even charities. Now it’s time to show them who’s the boss: the consumer. (more…)


Filed under: Gay,LGBT,Manchester,Politics — GS @ 12:26 am
Wednesday 13 November 2013

Manchester Pride delays release of charity figure following protest (video)

Download: large (832×468/mp4) | small (320×180/mp4). Suitable for mobile or if you can’t view above.

“Manchester Pride you’re a disgrace, come down here and show your face!” This was the chant on Monday lunchtime (11 Nov) on Portland Street.

About 20 members of the LGBT community gathered to demand answers from Manchester Pride, whose offices are on the ninth floor of the Manchester One tower.

Despite a range of longstanding campaign issues about fences, exclusion and ticket prices, the most pressing concern on this occasion was the money raised from last summer’s Manchester Pride. The organisation is a registered charity

Tony Cooper, the Manager of Via and a former Deputy Chair of the Village Business Association is one of the business people who expected a fundraising total to be announced last Friday, but it never came.

He wasn’t at the protest, but blasted Pride in a public statement last week, writing “I love Manchester Pride and have attended every one but what I am hearing and seeing now is beyond worrying.”

Over the weekend rumours swirled that, despite the usual near £1 million income, the charity money had hit rock bottom. Somewhere in the region of £20,000 to £29,000. The lowest amount since the event was a jumble sale on the cobbles of Canal Street more than 20 years ago, if true. And protest plans were drawn up.

While local radio reporters conducted interviews among the protesters, village stalwart Julia Grant ‘phoned the Pride office. But the staff weren’t answering and she was directed straight to voicemail. She left a message and later said she was “disgusted.”

“At the end of the day they’re working for the community running Pride. We’ve asked how much was raised. They’re just making it more and more awkward for themselves.”

After an hour, the protesters walked the short distance to the town hall. Finding Albert Square fenced off as the Christmas market was put in place, they decided to occupy the reception area.

One banner that was waved carried the message “our Pride charity is not your tourist cash cow.” A reference to claims published by Manchester Council that Pride generates up to £22 million of economic benefit for the city each year.

The Council’s grant to Pride has been cut to just over £11,000 — about one third of what it used to be. Inevitably campaigners point to the £425,000 that the Council paid towards a brief Alicia Keys concert in 2012.

Later, Manchester Pride announced that the charity amount now won’t be made public until December. But will the gay community be willing be wait that long?

Thanks to photographer Paul Jones for the black and white photo included in the video. You can see more of his work on Flickr.

Sign the petition

Board of Manchester Pride, Manchester City Council & Manchester Police: We the undersigned demand a public meeting over the conduct and future of Manchester Pride

Technical: Panasonic HDC-SD80 camcorder, edited with Sony Vegas Pro 10, encoded with XMediaRecode and MetaDataMover.


Filed under: Gay,LGBT,Manchester,Politics,With video — GS @ 10:10 am
Sunday 20 January 2013

Freedom of Information request reveals scale of police call outs to Manchester’s gay village venues (video)

Canal Street in the early hours

The early hours of 13 January 2013. A still from the video footage which you can watch below. As I recorded this on Richmond Street I was physically assaulted by a man who took a swipe at my camera. He was bleeding and I was left with his blood over my hand and the camera. I’m sure the police saw this but they did nothing. Another person who was filming had his shots deleted from the memory card by police officers after they bundled him around the corner. Guidelines from the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) warn that any police officer who deletes a photographer’s images could face criminal, civil or disciplinary action.

A Freedom of Information request has revealed the scale of police call outs to gay village venues.

Greater Manchester Police supplied a list of 4,079 pubs, bars and clubs they had been called out to in 2011-2012 (some venues may appear on the list more than once).

Of those, 41 venues across Greater Manchester had more than 100 police call outs and 7 of those 41 premises were in Manchester’s gay village: (more…)


Filed under: Crime,Gay,LGBT,Manchester,Politics,With video — GS @ 6:28 am
Wednesday 7 November 2012

Police Commissioner Hustings 2012, Manchester (video)

The Police Commissioner hustings event was held at the Roscoe Building, Manchester University, on November 6, 2012. Four of the candidates were present: Matt Gallagher – Liberal Democrats, Tony Lloyd – Labour Party, Michael Winstanley – Conservative, and Steven Woolfe – UK Independence Party. Roy Warren – Independent – couldn’t attend due to ill health. The event was organised by the Manchester Evening News.

This video shows the initial speeches. Each candidate was allowed to speak for about three minutes.

Police Commissioner Hustings 2012, Manchester


Filed under: Crime,Manchester,Politics,With video — GS @ 10:46 am
Wednesday 21 March 2012

Photographs expose the marketing hype behind the 2012 Manchester Irish Festival Parade

As Manchester City Council cuts services and grants to various events, it’s essential that the public is able to have an honest debate about what should be funded.

Corporation StreetThe organisers and City Council exaggerate crowd numbers for this parade enormously, probably by a factor of ten, while the media fail to scrutinise and report accurately.

The photographs below show the true level of attendance at the 2012 Manchester Irish Festival Parade as it passed through the city centre on 11 March.

On the event’s website, the organisers claimed: “100,000 people are expected to flock to the city centre and line the three mile route” and that this was “one of Europe’s biggest St. Patrick’s Day Parades.”

Since the parade, they’ve continued. Claiming that: “Organisers said an estimated 12,000 were packed into Albert Square alone — with more than 100,000 lining the full parade route.” See below for more analysis of these figures.

I was first alerted to this last year by a fellow photographer who had gone along and afterwards expressed amazement at the low turn out as compared to the hype. So the small crowds this year aren’t anything new…
(more…)


Filed under: Manchester,Politics,The media — GS @ 6:56 pm
 
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