“Racism is so real in Manchester’s Gay Village”
PHOTO BY ZACKARY DRUCKER AS PART OF BROADLY’S GENDER SPECTRUM COLLECTION
In a new report by Vice World News, 10 Black, Asian and Latinx LGBTQI people have spoken out about racism on Manchester’s gay scene.
They shared their stories of facing discrimination, prejudice and abuse at several venues in the city’s Gay Village. These experiences included being denied entry to events and being subjected to racial slurs and comments by staff members and other patrons.
Darren Jackson spoke about being called “the N-word” and being told to “fuck off” by a “young white guy” just a few months ago. He said, “Racism is so real in Manchester’s Gay Village. Unless you’re white, you’re labelled, you’re looked at badly, and you’re judged.”
Fellow Manchester resident Chachu Huss told Vice World News that they “have been called the P-word ‘three times’ in LGBTQ spaces in Manchester” this year alone. Huss added, “We have had enough of having to accept racism in spaces and places that are for the queer people of colour community too. The Village has to change and we won’t stop until it is genuinely inclusive.” Huss also called upon allies to “step up” and “stop this happening time and time again”.
Tan Ire, who is Latin American and lives in Manchester, said that a bouncer had made offensive comments while they were dancing: “She looked at me and loudly said, ‘You’re such a spicy mamacita,’ and I just froze. It’s a racist comment and it’s sexually aggressive. I’ve been touched and groped without consent and I’ve had enough of it.”
Lucky Roy Singh stated that on 29 July 2022 they were told to “get out” and were called a racial slur by a security guard. Singh is the “house mother” of the House of Spice collective, a group of six people of colour who are all performers based in Manchester. Singh recalled that the group went out in the Gay Village after a meeting.
“The staff were giving us dirty looks all night, making us feel like we’d done something wrong just for existing and being there.” One of the group removed her top while she still had a bra on underneath. There were reportedly many other topless people in the venue. After a security guard told her to put the top back on or leave, the situation became “heated”. Singh posted about details about the experience on social media:
Singh reported this incident to the Greater Manchester Police, who are currently investigating it as a race-based hate crime. No charges have been made at this time.
Following the publication of the Vice World News report, DIVA spoke to Manchester Pride CEO Mark Fletcher about racism in LGBTQI venues. He told DIVA, “As a queer person of colour, it’s something that I’m passionate about because I’ve had these experiences. It’s not ok. It’s not acceptable at all, in 2022, that members of our community are being made to feel this way. It’s important to recognise that this is a wider issue all around the UK. This is not restricted to Manchester and it’s certainly not restricted to Manchester’s Gay Village.”
Mark outlined some of the steps Manchester Pride is taking to combat racism within the community. These include using the Progress Pride flag, which they have done since 2019, and engaging directly with venues, particularly those in Manchester’s Gay Village. “Wherever we’re seeing organisations called out, we’re reaching out to them. We offer them free membership of our All Equals Charter, which is designed to provide a level of robustness in teaching venues how to eradicate discrimination faced by our communities.”
He also spoke about the importance of elevating QTIPOC talent. “Almost 60% of our artist line-up at the Gay Village party this year are people of colour.” Monday featured a day of QTIPOC cabaret and Manchester Pride is working with Black Pride MCR for the second year in a row, along with LGBTQI R&B/dancehall night Swagga. Mark explained, “I’m proud of the work that we’re doing. Change is going to take a long time, but we must urge every other organisation and institution, and any of the venues that have been named in this article, to step up and do something about this.”
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