Out in the past

My First Time

What did it feel like when you first visited a gay venue in Manchester? Read some stories below that people have shared with us about their first time. We welcome new contributions from anybody about their first time. Submit yours!


"all of my friends still talk about that moment to this day!"

First Time: 2007

My first time in the Village was all a bit of a blur which must be a sign of having an amazing time. I was 18 at the time and I remember there being a certain atmosphere that I had never experience that is hard to pin-point. It was a mixture of freedom to be who you were, acceptance for all and - most importantly - the ability to have a good time without a care in the world. I struggle to remember the name's of most of the places we went to but they were all unique in their own way and having re-visited since my memory has been refreshed of some. My particular highlight was watching a stage show in AXM and one of the drag queens in high-heeled platforms falling flat on their face mid-scene - all my friends still talk about that moment to this day!

"...all together as a community..."

First time: 2007

My first time happened in away twice, as my very first time was as a Pride goer and again a year later as I dated a woman from Whitefield before moving up.

My very first time was 2007 when my mate & I decide to travel up from Chippenham, Wilts for Pride. As we walked down on the Friday to change our ticket to wristbands we decided to wandered into the Village. Canal Street was filling up with party goers and people with cases that had come to enjoy Pride, everyone excited & ready for the Big Weekend. It was the next day that stood out as the buzz of the parade went though the city. The Main Stage was cool where we all were dancing and Canal Street that was packed, taking ages to get from one end to the other. My first time was just a blast.

My first time as someone dating a woman for a year before moving up was when my girlfriend at the time took me to the Village to meet her mates. It was nice to see the Village on a normal weekend, full with the locals chilling or stopping out until they dropped. It was great to see the many different bars in one area & two girl bars . I loved the way all the bars were together like they were in the Yumbo Centre, Gran Canaria where I used to live. All together as a community & with all the Village-goers being mainly gay... How Fabulous!

"...talking to everyone and anyone, letting their hair/wigs down after a hard week of work."

First time: 2010

Being from the Westcountry, the Village isn’t somewhere I’d seen before so I wasn’t too sure what to expect. I got out of the taxi at Istanbul’s and looking around couldn’t see anything particularly exciting other than your average corner pub. After the journey, I thought wise to visit the ladies room only to be greeted by a score of burly men in leathers. I’m not even sure if there was a bathroom for women as I left pretty instantly, knowing I wasn’t going to fit in too well. Wondering down the street we saw Vanilla, which at 18, was my first experience of a lesbian bar. Although really small, the atmosphere was great and it was everything I imagined, plus more.

Everyone was extremely friendly and the general buzz around the area was amazing. It’s not often you find an area where people generally just litter the streets, talking to everyone and anyone, letting their hair/wigs down after a hard week of work. My first time in the Village was followed by many more nights out and will continue to do so!

"I only visited the Village for an hour but that started my love affair with Mancheter's Gay Village."

First Time: 2007

Looking back at August 1995 when I first walked into the Village, who would have known that ten years later I would start working for Manchester Pride and that in 2011, Manchester Pride would be celebrating its 21st birthday. I first stumbled upon the Village at Pride 1995, I was 20 and walked along Bloom Street past New York, New York and saw a colourful carnival outside the bar. I only visited the Village for an hour but that started my love affair with Manchester and Mancheter's Gay Village. When I walk into the Village I feel as if I am walking over a magic line and can be myself. That hasn't changed from when I first discovered the Village. I used to visit Manchester about six times a year for a night out, always leaving with a hangover, yet good memories. I'm what you could say a Mancunian by choice after moving over from Leeds in 2006. Today I am so proud of 'our Village' and what it has to offer.

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