Welcome to the Out in the Past heritage resource
Manchester and its Gay Village have come a long way since the opening of The New Union and The Rembrandt in the 1800s, and many struggles have been overcome.
Whilst many years ago we saw James Massey punished for his sexuality, and then refused burial by the Church for having committed suicide. His body had been rejected both in life as in death. Later on however, in 1967, homosexuality was finally decriminalised. Following this the North West Homosexual Law Reform Committee was launched.
Since the 1960s the Gay Village had existed as a concept, and was almost, (but fortunately not) called Gaysville... It was after this that ‘gay bars’ came to light – Canal Street’s Napolean’s claims to be Manchester’s oldest gay nightclub, and the longest continually running gay club in Europe. As the seventies turned to the eighties, more of the bars became clubs, such as Rockies (Whitworth St), High Society (off of Princess St) and Dickens (on Oldham St)
As the AIDS epidemic began to rise in the 1980s, Manchester Pride’s first ever event was only just around the corner. In 1991, the festival began, raising money for the AIDS ward at the North Manchester Hospital.
Today, Manchester is Loud & Proud and Manchester Pride is recognized as one of the best Pride events in Europe, and the world. The festival has won the Pink Paper Award for Best Pride five years running, and now feature world-class headlining musicians such as Kelis, Human League and Gossip. Our Gay Village is vibrant, fun, and acts as a safe space, whilst being extremely inclusive to those outside of the LGBT community who wish to show us support.
So, whilst it has indeed been a struggle, it has been one that is worth it. We have many strong individuals we owe thanks to for fighting the fight, but there is still a long way to go. Manchester’s Gay Village is a strong community that looks after one another – we call it Pride for a reason...