A 2002 pride planning meeting was told that charging to enter public streets was unlawful

Minutes of a pride planning meeting that was held at Marketing Manchester in 2002

Campaigners have uncovered the minutes of a pride planning meeting that was held in November 2002. The meeting was told that two methods could be used to close the roads but that a charge could not be made to enter either way.

Despite this, the following August, the public were locked out from the streets of Manchester's gay village if they didn't purchase a wristband for Europride. That continued every year until 2014 when the campaign group Facts About Manchester Pride blew the whistle on the unlawful practice. The following April the Local Government Ombudsman ruled (PDF) and the game was up.

Present at the meeting in 2002 were representatives of Marketing Manchester, Manchester City Council, George House Trust, The Lesbian and Gay Foundation (now known as the LGBT Foundation), Greater Manchester Police and the organising team of Europride (which was renamed Manchester Pride in 2004).

Why was the advice, which appears to have come from the representative of Greater Manchester Police (GMP), ignored? Why didn't GMP stand up for the rights of the public and defend the law?

The misery these people inflicted on residents and some members of the LGBT community is hard to measure. For 12 years those who could not afford to buy a ticket were unlawfully locked out from the streets of the gay part of Manchester during a so-called "pride" event.

From 2011, the campaign group Facts About Manchester Pride told you the truth about what was going on and what an onslaught of abuse it faced as a result.

And still it isn't over, as the current organisers of Manchester Pride stay silent about this. As do the cronies: GHT, LGBT Foundation, the Manchester Evening News and many others. Are these really friends of ordinary LGBT people? Whose interests do they represent?


How FactsMCR exposed poor standards at the Manchester Evening News

Naked streak spoof

Our spoof press release about Manchester Pride, sent from a free email account, was published by the MEN, apparently without any fact checking. In this way, the once-proud newspaper, which celebrates its 150th birthday next year, allows itself to be a conduit for promotional propaganda.

The MEN's reputation adds weight to the "fake news."

There was a serious journalistic purpose to doing this. We were tired of seeing misinformation being published over many years and trust in the mainstream media now seems to be at an all time low. Read what happened and see links to examples of the MEN's "reporting."

Update (15 May 2017): "Fighting 'fake news': Why you should trust The Manchester Evening News as the general election nears." Goodness. From the newspaper that told you 600,000 people had viewed the Mardi Gras parade in 1999, that you needed a wristband to get into the gay village in 2015 when the Department For Transport and Local Government Ombudsman had said you didn't and which published our spoof "naked streak" press release without the most basic check.

Have they learnt their lesson? We can only hope so...

Update (19 May 2017): The Manchester Evening News has had to publish a public apology after printing an untrue story about a dead mouse being found in a protein shake. The company concerned describes the article as "fake news" and the Northwich Guardian reports they plan to take "appropriate legal action" against all parties involved.


Archives reveal "regular, ranting bigotry about gays" in the pages of the Manchester Evening News

In 1989 the MEN called for an "awful" floral display in Piccadilly Gardens commemorating Stonewall to be "destroyed."

Scene Out, August 1989
"MEN poisons your mind" states one banner at the protest outside the paper's HQ on Deansgate

One of our elves has been hard at work digging through material in the library.

An article in Scene Out magazine, August 1989 issue, reports on how a floral tribute in Piccadilly Gardens to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Stonewall (the origin of gay pride), was sprayed with weedkiller by vandals. It happened after an editorial in the Manchester Evening News suggested that the display should be destroyed.

The display had been created by Manchester City Council and carried the slogan "Lesbian and Gay Pride." The MEN reported how office workers said it was "disgusting"and "awful." An editorial suggested that perhaps the city fathers should "order the destruction of the blooming thing." Vandals then did so.

Scene Out, August 1989

Scene Out describes the coverage as "yet another attack" on the Lesbian and Gay community by the Manchester Evening News. The editor claimed that the paper was "totally unbiased" in its coverage of the gay community. However campaigners highlighted the MEN's then columnist Andrew Grimes and his "regular, ranting bigotry about gays."

There was a protest outside the offices of the MEN on Deansgate (shown in the photo). Paul Fairweather being one who was there. Two of them were invited in to speak to the Deputy Editor after being informed by security that six was considered "a mob."

This will all be news to younger readers. But some of us older LGBT people have a long memory. Some will say it's more than 25 years ago. But two things: while the Tories are still slated for Section 28 on a regular basis, other homophobia from the time has been airbrushed away and despite £250,000 of Heritage Lottery funding having been spent on "LGBT history projects" in recent years.

These days the Manchester Evening News poses as a supporter of LGBT people and is a "media partner" to Manchester Pride. But, at the same time, it continues the dirty tricks when it comes to LGBT campaigners who are actually fighting for lawful rights -- such as those surrounding the illegal street closures during that same corporate Manchester Pride.

In its response to our naked streak spoof, MEN owner Trinity Mirror wrote that the paper was "proud of its longstanding support of Manchester Pride." But you can see that, in 1989, as the commmunity organised HIV fundraising jumble sales on Canal Street, and years after the first pride had taken place in the city, the Manchester Evening News deliberately degraded our community.

Thanks to Archives+ at Manchester Central Library where the Scene Out magazine was found.


Factsheet 2016

2016 factsheet Grab a copy of our new 2016 factsheet.

So you know your rights and can walk in with confidence and pride! Here is the PDF version.

And here it is as two images (handy for sharing on Facebook): page 1 | page 2


Questions over Manchester Pride day tickets being withdrawn (2016)

Some serious questions about ticket selling practices over the weekend, which seem to force members of the public to pay more. Read more here.


Important news about Manchester Pride tickets and wristbands 2016

Following a ruling by the Local Government Ombudsman in April 2015, you DO NOT need to buy a ticket or wristband to walk along the pavements of the gay village during the Manchester Pride weekend this coming August. If you are a resident you and your visitors DO NOT need a pass to get to your home. It is UNLAWFUL to block you.

The Ombudsman stated that your right is to make your way to homes or businesses where no alternative route exists.

Please note that a wristband IS required to get into event areas on private property, such as car-parks, and access into some bars and clubs. Though other bars and clubs will let you in without a band, as has happened for several years now.

In fact campaigners first found out about the legal situation because in 2012 (and possibly in earlier years) Crunch Bar insisted that customers without bands should be allowed to reach their premises. Yes the gay village bars, Pride and City Council have known the true situation for a long time but chose to keep the public in the dark because it was profitable to do so.

The latest development is that the Citywide Highways Manager at Manchester City Council has stated that entry to Sackville Park can't be denied to non-wristband holders. More to come on this.

The second thing to be aware of is that there is an almost total media blackout about this news. This in itself is most interesting.

It tells you what the mainstream and gay media are concerned about: not the legal rights of the public and unlawful behaviour of a gay pride organisation, but commercial profits, ad income being dented and political correctness. Yet note how they harp on endlessly about Stonewall in 1969 which was a street riot about civil rights.

Manchester Pride itself is staying quiet and not letting you know the wristband situation. Instead there is spin about how the community has been engaged with in recent years and (would you believe it?) transparency!

Don't believe the hype, the Facts About Manchester Pride campaign is as strong as ever and has had a stunning victory against the unlawful barriers.


25 years ago (video)

Published here with permission, these exclusive snippets show the bank holiday in 1991. They are from much longer footage which covers a number of events over the weekend. The video footage has been digitally remastered from the original SVHS tapes recently, with amazing results. However the clips here are from an older transfer. You won't see these at any Manchester Pride history event.

This first video shows the "street market" on Monday 26 August 1991. The stalls moved into Sackville Park instead of being on the road outside the Rembrandt Hotel. The original audio on the footage comprises of a frenetic selection of various classics played by Mike Coppock ("Big Bird" from Rockies) in the Park but that has had to be replaced here for copyright reasons.

Our second treat for you is "It's A Knockout" on the Bloom Street car-park on Saturday 24 August 1991 at 3.45pm. Revealing cycling shorts were the thing to wear at that time. The propaganda is that we were scurrying around darkened streets in terror in those days. In fact we were very out, proud and loud as this shows.

A touching speech by Paul Orton of Clone Zone on the Monday night. This was followed by a fireworks display which ended with "Manchester Cares" spelt out. That is what it was about in those days: caring and fundraising. It wasn't a pride, festival, tourist event, corporate money maker or smoke and mirrors trick charity to get people spending.


Welcome to our new website

We've had a redesign and this new site should work more effectively on a range of devices.

Please bookmark us and call back for updates in coming months.



As a result of a change of server we're removed the old forum. All the content has been saved and it could return in some form in the future. Forums and other PHP software are a security risk if not updated regularly and we would rather spend the time on more productive aspects of the campaign.


LIVE BLOG - 2016

Itís official: you have a legal right to reach premises (homes or businesses) during Manchester Pride. Without a wristband, accreditation or a resident and visitor pass.

On 22 April 2015, the Local Government Ombudsman ruled that Manchester City Councilís wording of its Traffic Regulation Order for Manchester Pride 2014 was "unlawful." See the ruling here:

Let us know your experience of getting into the gay village without a wristband and being served. Our mail form can be found here. Or email us at: [email protected]


Tue 30 Aug 2016

08:20 Richard writes: "I got into the gay village Saturday, Sunday and Monday and wasn't stopped once at the gates. This was with a short sleeved Tshirt so quite evident I didn't have a band on. Various friends that I was walking through with suddenly realised what I'd been saying for years was true. They won't be buying tickets next year."

07:00 Helen tells us: "I had a wristband but hid it and walked in with my my fella and sister and brother in law who didn't after saying right of access. The bars didn't check but obviously couldn't get into events arena but didn't want to."

Mon 29 Aug 2016

10:20 Sarah says: "Myself and hubby walked in and out no problem and the guard made a sarcastic comment as I said 'no thankyou' ..he said 'Well you won't be allowed n the bars or venues.' I said 'won't I now' ..and I got in all of them !!!"

Sun 28 Aug 2016

22:50 This video on YouTube shows a successful walk in on Sunday at around 18:00.

21:15 Paul says: "They turned me away from Sackville Gardens even though I did have a wristband they said it had to be put on by the staff at the ticket office which is bollox as that's how they came through the post I never bought the ticket one of my m8s got me one because I refused to buy one and I had it in my camera bag because I didn't want to conform to Prides rules."

20:41 In a response to the video, Manchester City Council continues to claim that "staff are aware of access rights." So why do staff keep giving the wrong information at the gates and directing people to the ticket office?

17:00 turned away on Sunday

19:45 Video taken by G around 17:00 shows a small group of three -- a man with two women, very respectable looking -- being refused entry. He then walks over on camera, advises them of their legal right to enter. The video shows two woman police officers walk up behind and they tell the three yes they have the right to enter. They then asked G for his name and address which seems to have been nothing more than an attempt to intimidate him as there was no good reason to do that. Everyone has the right take photographs and film on a public street.

A stupid move on the part of the police as, with one very clear example of wrongdoing "in the can", they effectively shut down evidence gathering. That might have shown no further problems. However, as G captured it as soon as he arrived, it's reasonable to assume the guards were doing it routinely at that point.

17:00 turned away on Sunday

19:05 Christopher says: "C____ and I just got in at gate 8... No hassle at all and now in bar pop being served."

19:00 Em tells us: "You can't get in without wrist bands entered through different gates all weekend and all ask for wristbands and even if you do manage to get in some clubs are asking to see bands! Wouldn't come if you haven't got a band I've got. Weekend one."

17:51 R tells us that the ticket office "were told at 4.30 that afternoon [Saturday] to stop selling day pledge bands and only sell weekend bands I feel that's so wrong on there part." Asked how he knew, R said that his mate showed him the memo which they all got. Were you refused a day ticket and forced to pay much more? Get in touch and let us know.

17:00 G is on the scene now: "They r asking ppl to raise there hands at gate 1. Filmed them stopping a couple then they saw me filming and let them thru."

16:50 "I walked into arena yesterday," says Helen.

10:37 From Alice: "Me and a big group of friends all walked confidently through without wristbands yesterday, the security weren't even checking at the time. Later a couple of us went briefly out but were let back in when we said about right of access. We spent most of the evening in Via where no one was checking wristbands. All the pop up bars seemed to be serving people without wristbands too :) also nb you can watch the sackville garden stage by sitting on the wall outside and you can also hear/see the main stage if you stand outside (busy though!)."

09:41 From I by email: "I went to go in with my friends and they would not let us in with out bands I said the thing you said and they said this is a private event and turned us away at 9pm. I was only off work yesterday and then went to get a day band and they said sorry we only sell the full weekend one here £29.50 so had to pay that to get in and then as my friend was on crutches he was told by some bars he is not allowed in as he is a fire and health and safety risk to everyone so that ruined the whole night."

03:46 Medwyn says: "I passed through several gates today, and at all of them I was told that I needed a wristband. Some of the security staff told me to get a free walk-through wristband. However, I was not hindered when I replied 'no thanks'. Although no wristband whatsoever is needed, it seems that the security staff have been briefed to not reveal this but even to mislead people. I reported this to Verinica Wong of the Council's highway department as she was on duty in the Village checking that security staff were giving the right information. If you are told that you need a wtistband tell them that you don't and continue in your way. If you are denied access then phone Veronica Wong immediately, and she will assist. Her number is 07771607341. Btw, we are also not allowed into Sackville Gardens without a wristband.

01:05 Paul tells us: "Refused entry to Minshull St / Richmond St entrance. I said about the right of way. He said its a "back stage" entrance and I can get in but have to use another entrance. Went to Minshull/canal st entrance and walked straight in no checks despite 2 stewards and 2 police on it. Looks very busy. The bars are far too busy to ask for wristbands from what I've seen.

Sat 27 Aug 2016

23:45 Michelle writes: "Thanks for the advice about wristbands, I have avidly followed the posts for a few months, I got into the village with no trouble, donated in the buckets and had a bloody amazing day!"

23:30 Bev says: "Thanks for your advice :-) We went to the parade as always and then for the first time, we were able to get into the village without a wristband. We spent money at the stalls and we got food and we sang and danced and took billions of pics and we had a fabulous, very colourful day :-)"

23:30 Daniel reports: "My straight friends account of trying to access the village tonight: Security guard: have you got a wristband? My straight friend 'nope.' Won the battle, maybe not the war?" Daniel continues: "No issues with any bars at all. The security guard didn't even respond to him."

20:55 Marie writes: "Fantastic parade today and thought we'd try to do a walk through the village. The steward on the gate did try to tell us it would be better to have a wristband to avoid us being asked again but he did let us walk through."

18:30 Rachel Posts: "Letting them in now no gay lesbian etc people should be made to feel uneasy."

15:46 Jordan posts: "so far been to 4 gates no problems. Also have been served in 5 bars." Without buying a wristband...

10:50 JC posts: "Well guys well done you did it i did get in wihout showing my wrost ban last night and just walked up said by law i have tbe right of w.... And the guy just said go on in then i did however have a wrist ban but was hiding it."

04:15 more from P: "Just asked at gate 1 which areas you need a wristband for. He said the stage area the dance arena the expo Sackville gardens and the bars and clubs but we can't stop you going up this st without one. 2 stewards on gate 2. 1 on gate 1. Saw one patrolling the perimeter."

01:45 This report was sent to us by P: "Was stopped at the gate to the right of gate 1. Asked to see wristband. I said I said 'I don't have one - I thought I only needed one for the stage?' (Played dumb). He said 'you need one to access the event.' Said 'I'm not going to the event I'm going up the street.'

"Another one stepped in with 'security supervisor' on her back and said 'its ok let him through.'"

01:12 EC posts saying: "Just got in from canel street some bars in the village are wrist band only had to show ours to get entry! Wasn't closed off around 5 but later on barriers up and security on gates not sure if checking bands though."

00:45 The server stats show that our 2016 factsheet was downloaded 533 times in the first 14 hours: 18:00-08:00

Fri 26 Aug 2016

21:40 According to Matthew: "my friends and I got in not much of a problem, two of us got in g.a.y no problem, the rest weren't allowed because of no wristbands, while I sank a pint there they tried many other places, all said the same thing, no wristband no entry :/"

20:47 Gary walked in without a problem at gate no 1 on Sackville Street. At the other end at Thompsons Arms gate they didn't seem to be checking wristbands.

20:45 A YouTube video shows a wristband-less wander through the village at 20:45 this evening (Friday). This is what it's all been about.

20:12 Jordan reports that he got in with no trouble at the New Union entrance.

20:05 Gemma writes "Hi I am on canal street. Got in no problem. There is no security on the top gate at velvet. It is access for all. Security are actually letting non wrist band holders know where they can access. It's all good and non confrontational."

20:00 More from Paul at 8pm at Sackville Street/Whitworth Street entrance. He says "Still no checks at gate 1."

19:43 Paul Wheatley is at the scene. He says people are walking in unhindered and the gay village isn't closed down yet. Though bands are being checked into the car-park events area. Paul says: "I've seen 3 entrances now and 2 were totally unguarded and the other I just filmed - no checks."

20:44 Friday at Sackville Street

19:20 Gemma says: "Hi I am on canal street. Got in no problem. There is no security on the top gate at velvet. It is access for all. :)"

17:53 JC says he failed to get in at 3 gates and also failed to be served in 2 bars [we're a little suspicious of this as later reports say the village isn't locked down except for the car-park event area. Later JC said he got in without - see above].


Live updates as it happened in 2015

The gates in 2015

During Manchester Pride once again we ran a live blog as members of the public insisted on their legal right to walk on the pavements of the gay village without paying.

The situation had changed somewhat since 2015!


Live blog 2014

Here's what happened as campaigners and other members of the public challenged the gates during Manchester Pride weekend in 2014. Despite clear written advice from the Department For Transport, officers of Greater Manchester Police stood and watched as people were unlawfully blocked from the public pavements by private security guards. GMP receives a payment of around £50,000 from Manchester Pride for policing each year! Read more...


Video evidence 2014

We've assembled video evidence with some notes at this link:


Media watch

A look at the media and LGBT organisations in Manchester.


The LGBT Foundation's publication "Unlocking A Hidden History Ė A Researchersí Guide To Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans Historical Sources In Manchester" falsely claims that Quentin Crisp called Manchester "home". It even mentions Crisp ahead of Alan Turing. Heritage Lottery Funding is being spent on inaccurate projects like this "guide" which misleads people about LGBT history and pretends to be a source for researchers. Read more.


In an article dated 2 May 2016, the Manchester Evening News claimed that 2015 was the "25th anniversary of LGBT celebrations in the city." This is untrue.

There was a Gay Pub and Club Olympics event in Manchester in August 1985 and Northern Pride in June 1986. There was the Section 28 March in 1988 and an event called Love Rights '89 in 1989 which was billed as a "celebration of Lesbian and Gay Sexuality."

In the article, Mark Fletcher the CEO of Manchester Pride, is quoted saying "twenty five years of LGBT events in the city goes to show what an open city we live in." Fletcher claims he has been only partially quoted by the Manchester Evening News. But, despite that and emails from other people, the article hasn't been corrected.

This year, Manchester Pride has received almost £60,000 of Heritage Lottery cash for a project charting our LGBT history. It seems rather pointless when they are party to "news" articles which misrepresent the history and facts to hundreds of thousands of people.


On 25 August 2015, the Manchester Evening News wrote: "as usual the gay village will be closed to people who do not have wristbands."

That was a lie as the previous April the Local Government Ombudsman had ruled that members of the public and residents had a legal right to access premises without a wristband. What had happened in previous years had been unlawful. Yet the MEN didn't think that fact was newsworthy!

The Manchester Evening News didn't reply to several emails and the article remains online misleading the public.