There is an LGBT+ Campaign at UoM boycotting Manchester Pride this year
An alternative event will take place instead
A University of Manchester pressure group, 'LGBT+ Campaign' are planning to boycott Manchester Pride this year due to its inaccessibility for marginalised LGBT+ groups.
The collaboration between the LGBT+ and Trans campaigns of the University of Manchester Students' Union and the NUS is an alternative Pride event and will be held in Whitworth Park this August.
The event will run from 1-6pm on August 26th, clashing with the Sunday events of Manchester Pride, which runs from Friday 24th to Monday 27th.
Speaking to the Tab Manchester, an NUS LGBT+ officer revealed they feel mainstream Pride is inaccessible, alienating, and unwelcoming to the most marginalised members of the LGBT+ community.
Manchester LGBT+ Campaign member and NUS LGBT+ officer Rob Noon told the Tab Manchester that Pride felt alienating to a lot of members due to police presence, corporate presence, and heavy focus on alcohol and inaccessibility for disabled members.
"Police presence alienates those of us who are impacted directly by institutional racism and many others have unresolved trauma directly relating to police violence and homophobia. Often it feels like big banks and companies are more welcome to join the parade and wave a rainbow flag than the most marginalised in our community are.
"Last year’s Manchester Pride was really difficult for a lot of us as we didn’t feel like we belonged at all, so we had the idea to simply create the space we wanted to exist, getting together like-minded people who feel alienated by the mainstream to share food and just have a nice chill afternoon."
Pride also received criticism from Sadiq Khan and LGBT+ Liberal Democrats chair Jennie Rigg after the Saturday parade in London was taken over by trans-exclusionary radical feminist (TERF) group. Get The L Out, a group of lesbian and feminist women who refuse to acknowledge trans women, forced their way to the front of the parade, taking the place of the NHS LGBT+ Staff Network. Pride responded apologetically, commenting that the group "showed a level of bigotry, ignorance and hate that is unacceptable".
Speaking to the Tab Manchester, University of Manchester LGBT+ Society member Jamie Elliott commented: "Pride seems to be reserved for people who identify as gay rather than celebrating all sexualities under the queer umbrella. Many companies during pride month seem to use the pride flag as a symbol to cash in on members of the LGBT+ community rather than having that ethos instilled into their companies all the time, thus taking advantage of our community.
When asked about the events of London Pride, Jamie expressed concern over bisexual erasure and TERF activism at Pride, saying "events like Pride that only want to feature the stereotypical white cisgender gay man drinking, wearing glitter and crop tops somewhat fundamentally pushes other parts of the community to the back, when Pride should be for everyone, no matter their sexuality or gender."
Manchester Pride CEO, Mark Fletcher, responded to the reasoning for an alternative event, commenting: "It's always disheartening for me to hear when any LGBT+ person does not have an enjoyable experience at one of our events. We work hard each year to make our events as accessible as possible for all LGBT+ people.
"However, operating a festival on and around the streets of a Victorian City presents a number of challenges for accessibility. We are currently working with Attitude Is Everything, a charity which helps live event organisers to help what we do become more accessible and more inclusive for deaf and disabled people.
"In 2016 we also created a new event that forms a part of the festival called The Superbia Weekend. This event runs parallel to The Big Weekend, offering an alternative Pride celebration in an alcohol free space. This free to attend event takes place at 70 Oxford Street , thanks to the support we receive from Manchester Metropolitan University.
"Whilst this was a first for Manchester Pride in offering an alternative free event, I fully respect the fact that no individual nor organisation can appeal to all tastes all of the time, and I think it's great that another alternative space is being created by those who wish to celebrate Pride in their own way. I hope I am able to call by and wish them a Happy Pride. We'll certainly be keen to promote this event through our Superbia Channels. It's also important for me to be clear that we're happy to talk to anybody who has a suggestion on how we can improve our events and activities."