Ready for a gay Manchester tour?
Ready for a gay Manchester tour? Here’s the interview with Rick, a local Gaybassador of the city.
Hello Rick, you are Gaybassador for Manchester. Can you tell us a bit about you?
I was born in South Africa, but I lived abroad most of my life: New Zealand, Australia, Dubai, and the UK for a few years. Currently, I live in Manchester with my husband, and I work as a marketing manager.
Why do you love Manchester that much?
Manchester is a City of good vibes and dynamism. Industrial revolution begins here, and you can feel this overall speed, creativity, and energy which is a full part of the City. Manchester had some sort of bad times in the 70/80’ but recovered brilliantly and is an attractive place again. Manchester is the third-most visited city in the UK, after London and Edinburgh.
There is a great history, beautiful old buildings, impressive monuments, surprising museums everywhere as the city was so prosperous during Victorian times. People in Manchester are amicable, and they made me feel at home very quickly.
Your favorite places in Manchester
There are so many places to visit in Manchester, so it’s difficult to make a choice. You would need 2 or 3 full days to discover and enjoy it properly.
In Central Manchester, you can discover a concentration of Victorian architecture, such as the neo-gothic Manchester Town Hall, in Albert Square, or the neo-baroque Lancaster House. Manchester also has impressive skyscrapers from the 60’ and 70’ and new remarkable pieces of architecture, such as Beetham Tower.
The Northern Quarter has become a trendy area in Manchester, with bohemian and hipster’s vibes. You can discover a mix of industrial buildings under renovation and brand-new pieces of architecture. There plenty of restaurants, bars, design, vintage and art shops. A lot of mural art too. It reminds me of New York.
Salford Quays, are 15 minutes by tram from the City Centre. It’s a unique waterfront with spectacular attractions and iconic modern buildings. You can see Media City UK, which is the largest media hub in Europe, or the Imperial War Museum for its special exhibitions. It’s a great place for culture, shopping, sport and even food. I love to walk around this area and spend all afternoon there.
After a busy day, it can be nice to go to Heaton park which is the right place for open-air concerts, picnics and to enjoy sunny days.
Your favorite restaurants
20 stories, is an incredible place situated on the top of a modern tower. From there you will enjoy a full view of the Manchester skyline. It offers a restaurant, a bar, and a rooftop. You can order a cocktail on the rooftop and then have a fantastic dinner in a stylish environment.
The Molly House is an incredible place just a couple of street from the Canal. It serves authentic Spanish and Argentinian food and tapas. On sunny days they offer BBQ option so it can be a beautiful place to spend an afternoon or long summer night. It’s the right place to make new friends.
Gay Manchester bars and more LGBT venues
Manchester has a vast nightlife, with a world-famous reputation. It was the nest of techno and electronic music at the end of the 80’, with the very famous Hacienda Club. It is a very tolerant City, with a vital LGBT community, and the second most significant Gay Village in the UK, around Canal Street. In this area, you will find almost 50 gay venues, and it attracts 20 000 people every weekend.
The G-A-Y Manchester Bar is a must for anyone visiting Manchester. You can have a few drinks there and spend a great evening.
New York, New York is a party place which is open 7 days a week. This is a club where you can have an unforgettable time.
Eagle Bar, a nice place to have a late beer with an interesting crowd. It’s part of the Eagle Bars Club, the ones you can find from New York, Los Angeles or San Francisco
Manchester’s LGBT history
Manchester has upheld its values of equality since the early 1980s and has worked tirelessly for LGBT rights ever since. The city has been and continues to be a rallying point and refuge for the LGBT community throughout the UK.
Over time, if the laws that discriminate LGBT people have faded, they have existed and it is worth remembering. Homosexual and bisexual individuals could be sentenced to life imprisonment until 1967. The repeal of this law was the result of a long struggle, which began in the 1950s. At that time, a group was organized to review how gay men were treated by law. They sent a report to the government to amend the law.
Of course the government turned a deaf ear and so gay rights campaigns began in Manchester. However this victory was only at the beginning of the fight. For example, section 28, a controversial 1988 addition to the Local Government Act 1986, illustrates the difficulty for the LGBT community to thrive at that time. This article stipulates that local authorities must curb the “promotion of homosexuality” or allow the “acceptability of homosexuality” to be taught in schools.
And teachers had no right to oppose homophobic bullying. Another odious aspect of this law was that it made it clear that LGBT people are inherently dangerous to children and asserted a link between pedophilia and homosexuality. Fortunately, Article 28 was repealed by the Labour Government in November 2003.
It was in 2004 that civil partnerships were allowed for homosexuals. While this has opened up gay rights a little more, same-sex marriage has begun to be claimed. In 2008, it became illegal to promote homophobic hatred. But as stupidity continues to spread despite efforts, more than 7,000 hate crimes were reported against gay men and women in the UK in 2016.
Same-sex marriage was legalized in England in 2013, at the same time as France. However, it is important to note that same-sex marriage is not legal in Northern Ireland. Meanwhile, the LGBT community has not shy away and the Manchester Gay Village is the famous Canal Street since the 1980’s. You can find bars and clubs and the tourists flock to this area.
Manchester can also be proud to have the most LGBT-friendly church. The Metropolitan Church accepts members of the LGBT community and fully includes them in all aspects of leadership and ministry.
Today, the city is synonymous with benevolence and open-mindedness, and is worth a visit.
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If you are visiting UK, you can read Christian’s interview, Gaybassador for London