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Manchester Tom has re-designed our storefront for Pride Week – check it out

It’s Pride Weekend again! As a city, Manchester stands out for its progressive attitude with equality, while boasting a strong LGBTQ+ community. To showcase this, we have invited Manchester Tom to re-design our shopfront, with his ‘The Gayeux Tapestry – The Queer History of Manchester’ piece. The work is up on our storefront now, and it chronicles the city’s queer history, showcasing both tragic events and moments of empowerment.

Super colourful and expressive, Manchester Tom’s piece has livened up our size? Manchester store to new levels. Have a scroll and read into the history that inspired it…

EARLY 1800s – THE ‘WOMAN-HUSBAND’

The story of Harry and Ann Stokes – the ‘scandal’ of the lesbian couple that lived as man and wife.

1806 -THE HANGING OF THOMAS RIX

In this year, Thomas Rix was hung for sodomy.

1865 – THE UNION HOTEL

The Union Hotel opens (later the New Union). This later became a safe haven for sex workers and gay men.

1952 to 54ALAN MATHISON TURING OBE FRS DIES  

Alan Turing was convicted of sexual offences with a young man and later takes his own life through cyanide poisoning.

1959 – ALLAN HORSFALL

Allan Horsfall – a Labour councillor for Nelson, Lancashire – tables a motion to his local party to back the decriminalisation of homosexuality.

1970S – MANCHESTER GAY ALLIANCE (178 Waterloo Place Oxford Road)

The University’s Lesbian & Gay Society – the Homophile Society – joins with CHE, Manchester Lesbians Group and TV/TS. They move into 178 Waterloo Place, Oxford Road, to form the Manchester Gay Alliance – Manchester’s first gay centre was born.

1971 – FOO FOO LAMARR

Frank Pearson – AKA Foo Foo Lamarr – opens the iconic Foo Foo’s club on Dale Street.

1975 – MANCHESTER GAY SWITCHBOARD

The Manchester Gay Switchboard was formed in 1975 by the Manchester Gay Alliance.

1976 – PETE SHELLEY & BUZZCOCKS

Pete Shelley – a bisexual icon – formed the punk band Buzzcocks. The band was a key part of Manchester’s iconic punk scene.

1978 – LICENTIOUS DANCING

Police enter Napoleons, the oldest Gay Pub in The Village and tell the landlord that he is permitting “Licentious Dancing”. This is a bylaw that dates back to 1882.

1981 – PROTESTS

Over 11,000 people protest against the treatment of homosexuals on the streets of Manchester.

1985 – SEXUALITY TRAINING OFFICERS

Funding for two sexuality training officers is approved by the council to deal with gay and lesbian issues.

1985 – AUGUST BANK HOLIDAY FUN DAY & BIRTH OF GHT

Over August Bank Holiday, a ‘Fun Day’ is organised by Manchester’s Gay Pub & Club Olympics and the Gay Centre. George House Trust — the second oldest HIV Charity in England is formed.

1986 – JAMES ANDERTON

Chief Constable James Anderton describes drug addicts, prostitutes and gay people as “swirling about in a human cesspit of their own making” at a seminar organised by GMP to discuss how to deal with AIDS victims.

1988 – BAN ON PROMOTING HOMOSEXUALITY

20,000 people march against Section 28, the piece of legislation that bans the promotion of homosexuality in schools.

1988 – SIDNEY STREET PURPOSE-BUILT GAY CENTRE

Manchester’s first purpose-built Gay Centre was opened on Sidney Street on 27th November 1988.

1989 – DEATH OF ALBERT KENNEDY AND LAUNCH OF akt

In 1989, 16-year-old Albert Kennedy died after falling from a car park after being chased by homophobic attackers in Manchester city centre. The LGBTQ+ youth homelessness charity is formed in the wake of his death.

1989 – CANAL STREET FUNDRAISER

A jumble sale was organised in response to the AIDS crisis in Manchester.

1990 – THE BIRTH OF MANTO

Manto marks a landmark moment in the history of Canal Street as we know it today. Big open windows were a signal that the gay community was no longer going to live underground and in secret anymore.

1991 – FLESH AT THE HACIENDA

In October of 1991, Lucy Scher and Paul Cons launched Flesh at the Hacienda, a monthly gay night held on a Wednesday with DJ Tim Lennox at the helm.

1993 – HEALTHY GAY MANCHESTER

Healthy Gay Manchester was founded to promote safer sex and sexual health awareness among gay and bisexual men. Its free condom and lube distribution scheme started in 1994.

1994 – BIPHORIA LAUNCHED

Manchester’s pioneering social and support group for bisexuals is launched. Over 20 years on, the group is still a thriving network.

1997 – BEACON OF HOPE

The Beacon of Hope was unveiled in this year at Sackville Gardens to commemorate all those who have died of AIDS.

1998 – MANCHESTER’S ALTERNATIVE QUEER MUSIC SCENE TAKES OFF

A series of alternative Queer club nights take off in Manchester.

1998 – HAYLEY IN CORRIE

In January 1998, Julie Hesmondhalgh played the first transgender character in a British soap opera.

1998 – QUEER AS FOLK

Queer as Folk chronicled the lives of three gay men living in Manchester’s gay village located around Canal Street. This is seen as a landmark moment of mainstream queer acceptance.

2000 – THE LESBIAN AND GAY FOUNDATION

The Lesbian & Gay Foundation (now LGBT Foundation) was founded, merging Healthy Gay Manchester with the Manchester 2000 Lesbian & Gay Switchboard. Provided was a condom and lube distribution scheme, safer sex information and testing for LGBT people, as well as a range of support and counselling services, consultancy and training. Also, there was a bi-monthly magazine and campaigns against homophobia.

2001 – ALAN TURING MEMORIAL

On June 23, the Alan Turing Memorial was unveiled in Sackville Gardens in the heart of Manchester’s Gay Village. Turing is shown holding an apple, a symbol classically used to represent forbidden love, as well as the fruit of the tree of knowledge. A plaque at the statue’s feet says: “Father of computer science, mathematician, logician, wartime code breaker, victim of prejudice.”

2003 – SPARKLE LAUNCHED

Sparkle, The National Transgender Charity is launched.

2006 – GAYDIO

Gaydio, a station for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community first airs.

2008 – BOLLOX BEGINS

Bollox heralds a new era of the alt queer scene, gaining an international reputation as a home for misfits

2019 – HOMOBLOC

Now one of Manchester’s legendary parties, Homoelectric ‘unite the tribes’ by throwing a huge Queer party at Mayfield depot.

Keep checking our blog and socials for more Pride Weekend content! Also, check out our interview with Manchester Tom. If you haven’t already, check out and support akt where you can!

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