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Manchester Pride celebrates a proud LGBT history

21 photos looking back at Manchester's LGBT history as Pride celebrates 25 years in 2015 and reveals funding for a Manchester LGBT history archive

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Drag Ball, Hulme, circa 1880, taken from the Illustrated Police News
Courtesey of Manchester Libraries, Information and Archives, Manchester City Council

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Canal Street 
Courtesy of Manchester Libraries, Information and Archives, Manchester City Council

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Canal Street
Courtesy of Manchester Libraries, Information and Archives, Manchester City Council

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Canal Street
Courtesy of Manchester Libraries, Information and Archives, Manchester City Council

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Canal Street
Courtesy of Manchester Libraries, Information and Archives, Manchester City Council

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Napoleons
Manchester Libraries, Information and Archives, Manchester City Council

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The Rembrandt Hotel
Manchester Libraries, Information and Archives, Manchester City Council

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Thompsons Arms
Manchester Libraries, Information and Archives, Manchester City Council

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The New York on Bloom Street 
Manchester Libraries, Information and Archives, Manchester City Council

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The New Union
Manchester Libraries, Information and Archives, Manchester City Council

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Albert Square rally Feb 1988
Courtesy of Manchester Libraries, Information and Archives, Manchester City Council

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Albert Square Feb 1988
Courtesy of Manchester Libraries, Information and Archives, Manchester City Council

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Lesbians take over Piccadilly Plaza Feb 1988
Courtesy of Manchester Libraries, Information and Archives, Manchester City Council

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Jimmy Sommerville, Never Going Underground concert, Feb 1988
Manchester Libraries, Information and Archives, Manchester City Council

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Lesbians come together against Clause 28, Feb 1988
Manchester Libraries, Information and Archives, Manchester City Council

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Gay Unity Feb 1988
Courtesy of Manchester Libraries, Information and Archives, Manchester City Council

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Manchester City Council poster 
Courtesy of Manchester Libraries, Information and Archives, Manchester City Council

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Manchester Council's Gay to Z 
Courtesy of Manchester Libraries, Information and Archives, Manchester City Council

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Manchester Council's housing leaflet for LGBT tennants Manchester Libraries, Information and Archives, Manchester City Council

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Liberation leaflet 1991 
Manchester Libraries, Information and Archives, Manchester City Council

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Queer up North poster 1994 
Manchester Libraries, Information and Archives, Manchester City Council

Pride, Sparkle, the Great British Bear Bash - it all goes on in Manchester and it has for some time.

Manchester's Gay Village existed long before 'Queer As Folk' put it on (almost) mainstream TV, and the area has been associated with good restaurants, partying and nightlife for some time now.

But not so long ago, LGBT people didn't enjoy the freedoms many now take for granted. The Gay Village grew up around the canal area once the cotton industry collapsed, with many of the pubs which had opened there to serve the workers losing their livelihood. But the area became popular with men of a certain persuasion who could meet each other anonymously down the canal paths, under bridges and, eventually, behind the closed doors of some of those very pubs.

Manchester was leading the way in law reform as far back as 1964 when the North West Homosexual Law Reform Committee was founded, abandoning the medical model of homosexuality as a sickness and calling for its decriminalisation. The first meeting was held in here, in Manchester. 

In 1967, The Sexual Offences Act decriminalised homosexual acts between two men over 21 years of age in private in England and Wales and allowed those doors to become very, very slightly ajar, followed by the formation of the Campaign for Homosexual Equality (CHE) in 1969, the first British gay activist group.

Since then, Manchester has seen over 20,000 people march against Clause 28 in February 1988, one of the largest political protests the city has ever seen, and the development of Canal Street and the Gay Village, kick started by the opening of MANTO (which stood for 'the state of Manchester today') in December 1990. 

So it's great news that Manchester Pride has been awarded Heritage Lottery Funding to finally create something which celebrates Manchester's LGBT history in the form of a new website. 'OUT!' aims to bring together the variety of projects championed by organisations including EuroPride, Gaydio, LGBT Foundation, Archives+ and the LGBT Youth North West since 2003 to create a complete online archive of LGBT histories and heritage.

In 2003, as part of EuroPride, Manchester Pride developed a new heritage trail which involved the permanent installation of rainbow tiles into key locations around Manchester city centre. These trails are still in place and mark locations of historic occurrences. The tour required the experience and knowledge of a tour guide and was specifically designed for its audience to be guided around the city, rather than to explore the locations themselves.

‘OUT!’, will bring the heritage trail and LGBT digital histories to life and provide a central place where people can look at available resources, create links and then develop their own journeys through these different stories. The audience will be able to create their own personalised trail based on geographic location, subject matter or time period that draws data from different LGBT heritage projects and archives.

‘OUT!’ will also provide the opportunity for crowdsourcing and digital games that enable the public to engage with, explore, research and contribute to this ever growing resource, so watch out for its launch if you have anything you'd like to contribute yourself.

LGBT History Month

This year's Manchester Pride

Manchester Pride

2015 sees the 25th anniversary of Manchester Pride so here's all you need to know about what's happening and the history of the event, plus our guide to the Gay Village

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By: Rob Martin

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