This is Levenshulme. A strong, diverse, cohesive community that respects and celebrates difference.
Although there have been homophobic and anti-LGBT incidents – including targeted abuse this year against the Levenshulme Pride Organiser, Jeremy Hoad – they will be resisted. We will overcome any hatred and celebrate whoever we are.
The “lovely lady” in this story shows the true spirit and strength of our Levenshulme community.
Thank you to everyone who made Levenshulme Pride such an amazing success this year. Our comeback was driven by our whole community and we created a wonderful weekend together.
We had dozens of venues and locations, activities and events, and stuck firm to our commitment that everything is free to attend.
Despite reservations about what would be possible this year we were bigger than ever. Our range of activities was expanded including a cabaret, poetry and spoken word, drag acts, DJs, live music, workshops, peer support group, community dementia group Pride Party, 4km run, bike ride, drag workout sessions and swimming, film screenings, food and drink offers, karaoke, dog show, community and information stalls, an art show and market, crafting, open mic night, a vigil and of course our march turning the A6 into the Gay6. Particular thanks to the police for their support including appropriately providing a panda car at the end of our march.
Our tagline of Levenshulme Pride: No Barriers works on multiple levels – economic, social, physical, cultural – to represent the principles of Levenshulme Pride as an open, inclusive, welcoming event that truly builds community cohesion, understanding and participation.
None of this would be possible without the support of sponsors, advertisers, performers, volunteers, supporters, community groups, individuals and LGBT+ organisations who partnered with us (including the LGBT Foundation providing safe sex packs, health advice and support). Thank you to the people and businesses of our wonderful community with a special mention to our main sponsor, The Levenshulme.
We are Pride with a Purpose. We are a People’s Pride. Thank you to everyone who made Levenshulme Pride possible including, of course, everyone who came along, took part and helped make Levenshulme Pride so special.
On a personal note thank you to my partner Paul Magrs who has not only been incredibly patient, understanding and supportive but also performed with an amazing cabaret routine introducing Panda, the Cat and the dreadful Teddy to the world, and provided the fabulous artwork for Levenshulme Pride.
We will be holding other activities through the year but dates for the future for our main Levenshulme Pride event are:
Levenshulme Pride has a huge range of activities to suit everyone. Now in our third year we have 26 venues and locations having started with six just two years ago.
We will have entertainment of all sorts from drag acts and DJs to live music, spoken word, film screenings and theatre performance. We also provide education, health and fitness activities, mindfulness sessions, panel discussions and opportunities to reflect as well as celebrate.
Here’s a taste of some of the activities and performers in 2019:
Manchester Big Gay Big Band
Manchester Prairie Dogs Line Dancing
Stalls extended to Saturday and Sunday
March turning the A6 into the Gay6
Levante Samba Band
The Vegan Queens
Creative Workshop for teenagers with additional needs
Levenshulme Pride has been consulting with local schools, Manchester City Council councillors with responsibility for LGBT matters (Bev Craig and Chris Wills) and schools (Luthfur Rahman), Schools Out, The Proud Trust, Manchester Parents Group, the National Education Union and Carl Austin-Behan (LGBT Adviser to Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham).
We will confirm a date and time for the public meeting on LGBT teaching in schools very soon. In the meantime our initiative is receiving attention in the press as a positive way to address concerns. This is about opening up dialogue and providing clear and accurate information.
Thank you to those who came to the gathering on the Village Green this afternoon to show solidarity with our Muslim friends and neighbours against the terrorist attacks in New Zealand. It was a chance for people to reflect and talk about the horrific events.
Councillors Bernard Stone and Basat Sheikh were able to come as well as Laurence Hennigan (Levenshulme Traders Association) and John Commons (Levenshulme Community Association).
Several of us went on to attend the vigil at the Pakistani Community Centre in Longsight. Both Jeremy Hoad (on behalf of Levenshulme Community Association and Levenshulme Pride) and Lydia Meryll (Levenshulme Youth Project) said a few words there along with community representatives, councillors and Afzal Khan MP.
Levenshulme stands against all forms of hatred and violence.
We woke this morning to hear the shocking news of a terrorist attack in New Zealand that targeted two Mosques and killed 49 people.
Levenshulme always stands against hatred. Our diverse community comes together to express its revulsion against and utter rejection of violence and hatred. Levenshulme Pride started in response to an act of hatred. We offer our sympathy and support for those dealing with an act of aggression and violence against another minority group.
Let’s stand together against islamophobia and the murder of Muslims. Let’s come together in a community gathering against hate and to mark an horrific act of terror.
We are all equal. We must all support each other when any of us is targeted with hatred.
Jeremy Hoad, Levenshulme Pride
Meet on the Village Green by The Bee With No Name on Stockport Road (opposite the station car park), 14.00, Sunday 17th March
The BBC report on the New Zealand attack is available HERE
Over the last few weeks there have been demonstrations at Parkfield School in Birmingham with people objecting to any LGBT content in the curriculum. The specific programme objected to is run under the banner of “No Outsiders”. It covers a wide range of topics such as race, ethnicity, religion, identity, safety and different families a well as an understanding of LGBT people in the community. The overall theme is difference and diversity and all topics are taught in an age appropriate way.
This week a post was shared on Facebook about a meeting held at a business in Levenshulme also objecting to “LGBT being taught” in local schools. Videos and material posted showed a clear lack of understanding about what is being taught in schools as part of pupils’ personal development. The fact such a meeting has taken place with completely false allegations being made has caused considerable consternation and even fear in our community. That is not acceptable.
To counter the misinformation being spread in our community we will be organising a public meeting so people can better understand the reality of the situation and not rely on incorrect rumours being spread.
Levenshulme is a multicultural home to people with all kinds of beliefs. The mutual support, tolerance and understanding within our community must not be undermined by ignorance and groups attacking each other. That can only lead to tensions, distrust and fear.
Levenshulme Pride is the largest community Pride in Manchester. We strive to be inclusive and welcoming to all regardless of any personal characteristic. Levenshulme Pride also strives to celebrate the diversity and difference within our community. Challenging misconceptions and promoting equality and respect for all LGBT people is at the heart of what we do. We started in response to a homophobic attack and we will continue to resist attacks on the LGBT community through celebration, community cohesion, information, education and acts of inclusion and understanding.
Further information and details of the meeting will be announced as soon as arrangements are confirmed.
“This is our chance to celebrate the volunteers and unsung heroes who work hard to make ‘Our Manchester’ so great. We know that these groups and individuals make a big difference in our communities and help to make Manchester the thriving, friendly and buzzing city it is. Be Proud is our chance to say a big “thank you” and celebrate their work.
Do you know a group of people or a person who really stands out in your local community? Show you appreciate all they do by nominating them in this year’s Be Proud Awards.
This year there are twelve categories to choose from, and our lucky finalists and their nominator will be invited to a glittering gala dinner and award ceremony in November, held at the beautiful Midland Hotel.
Roll out the red carpet, sound the fanfare and get nominating your unsung heroes and dedicated volunteers!”