Manchester Gay Village accused of horrific racism ahead of hosting city’s Pride celebrations
Manchester’s Gay Village is a hotbed of racism, according to an explosive report published ahead of the city’s Pride celebrations.
Black, Asian and Latinx LGBTQ+ people recounted experiences of racism at some of the city’s top queer venues to Vice World News.
The allegations included staff and customers hurling racist slurs, being turned away from venues without good reason, and in once incident, being dragged out of a venue by staff for challenging a racist comment, and being injured in the process.
It comes ahead of Manchester Pride, which is running a ticketed party in the Gay Village over the weekend, beginning Friday (26 August). Thousands of people are expected to descend on the city for the event, with similar celebrations in the south seeing record-breaking turnouts in recent months.
Performer Lucky Roy Singh says they were told “get out you p**i” by a security guard at Via, a bar in Manchester’s Gay Village, on 29 July.
Singh, who is the “house mother” of LGBTQ+ collective House of Spice, told Vice that tensions built during a group visit, with staff “giving us dirty looks all night, making us feel like we’d done something wrong just for existing and being there” before confronting one member for taking her top off, leaving her bra underneath.
The situation escalated and became “heated” after another person in the group challenged the guard because “everybody” had their tops off. Singh said they intervened after they were “jabbed” by the bouncer.
“They were getting in each other’s faces and the security guard was really making a scene,” Singh said.
“The guard suddenly pushed me and said ‘get out, you p**i’ – we were all so shocked. She pinched me too, on my chest. At that point, we got straight out.”
Singh said they reported the incident to Greater Manchester Police as a race-based hate crime, but no arrests or changes have been made yet.
Police told Vice they are “investigating this individual incident comprehensively and will endeavour to work with the victim to achieve justice”.
A spokesperson for Via told PinkNews that it is investigating the allegations and will contact its contracted door team company “should any further action need to be taken”. The LGBTQ+ venue added it has a “fully inclusive policy” and doesn’t condone racism or discrimination in any form.
“We are also assisting the police in their investigation and have provided them with our CCTV footage,” the spokesperson said.
One man, Kesh Kumar, said that upon walking into the city’s New York New York bar, an on-stage performer called out: “Taxi driver’s arrived, who ordered a taxi?”
After challenging the comment, he says he was dragged out by security staff and was left injured.
Others reported being turned away from venues seemingly because of their race, being called the N word by punters and receiving sexually aggressive, racist comments from staff.
One man, Darren Pritchard, said he no longer visits the Village unless he is being paid to do so.
He told Vice: “A lot of the venues have a history of racist incidents, but for me the biggest issue is the bouncers. It’s time for the security and bar staff to understand the powers they have. If someone’s being racist, they need to get kicked out, and if staff are racist, they should go too.”
After the last in-person Manchester Pride, in 2019, a number of LGBTQ+ people of colour claimed they experienced racism at the event.
One person told PinkNews they were the victim of racial profiling after they were “singled out by a white security guard” at the event. They also said they were chased down the street in the early hours of the morning by a white man who they refused to kiss.
Mark Fletcher, CEO of Manchester Pride, told PinkNews that it was “abhorrent” to hear people in the LGBTQ+ community are facing racial prejudice.
“As a member of the QTPOC community, it’s something that grates on me,” Fletcher said. “I experienced this more frequently than you might imagine, possibly for being in such a prolific role.”
Fletcher continued: “When I hear this, I feel it, and it triggers the experiences that I’ve had as well.
“I’m committed to making sure I can influence as much positive change as possible, but I can’t do it all on my own.”
Fletcher highlighted that racial prejudice against members of the LGBTQ+ community is “not confined to one area of Manchester” as it’s an issue impacting all levels of society.
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