We were so proud in May when you elected us and made history in Piccadilly, as the first ward in Manchester to have three LGBT councillors. As your local councillors, we’ve been working hard since May to ensure the Gay Village has a voice. Our relationship with the Friends of the Gay Village is invaluable in ensuring we work together to achieve our shared aims and goals for our community, and we have already changed the way developers operate on the edge of our area.
But more needs to be done. That’s why we’re proud to have secured an agreement for the council to commission an independent strategic review of our entire Gay Village area, to ensure that we properly plan for how this place which is such a part of our history can flourish in the future.
Having an inclusive and accessible Gay Village is so important. Cllr Sam Wheeler has been leading the way with a disability audit to ensure the Gay Village is accessible to all, while Cllr Jon-Connor Lyons has set up the Sackville Gardens working group to ensure this vital green safe space is nurtured to it’s full potential. Businesses, residents, service users and public bodies including the council and Greater Manchester Police will all be involved.
It’s important to remember the true meaning of marching with Pride. It’s not about rainbows but about rights. Young LGBT people are disproportionately likely to be homeless and not have security at work. We are fighting for more affordable and social housing, and working with Unite the Union on organising hospitality workers in the city centre. Older LGBT people are more likely to experience isolation and loneliness, and we are proud LGBT Women’s lead Bev Craig is pioneering a supported housing project aimed at LGBT people. And we stand with our brothers and sisters across the world, whether that’s stopping Gay Refugees being deported by the Home Office or calling out the systematic oppression of Trans people.
On all these points, Cllr Wheeler, Cllr Douglas and Cllr Lyons will be calling on those companies which have been happy to fly the flag this weekend to put their money and their muscle where their mouth is, and support those most in need. Because equality, dignity and freedom aren’t just for one weekend, they’re what we all deserve all year round.
Have an amazing Pride!