Political Pride: Taking Pride Back to its Roots Saturday 29th – Sunday 30th August 2015

A collective of individuals and organisations, including the Joyce Layland LGBT Centre, LGBT Youth North West, Manchester Metropolitan University and People’s History Museum have joined forces to programme a weekend of alternative events to take Pride back to its roots.

Political Pride, which will take place on Saturday 29th and Sunday 30th August, immediately following the Manchester Pride parade, will include workshops, discussions and performances, alongside a series of family-friendly activities. All events will be cost-free and inclusive, and will take place in several accessible locations on and around the Oxford Road Corridor in Manchester.

The weekend will provide a platform for participants to explore the politics of Pride, and to identify and explore some of the most important issues for the LGBT+ community today. Political Pride will provide an accessible and alternative space to the pub and club scene of Canal Street, in order to open up the Pride celebrations to a more diverse representation of LGBT+ people in the North-West.

Amelia Lee, Strategic Director of LGBT Youth North-West, first came up with the idea of hosting an alternative Pride celebration after realising that the current provisions were not inclusive of all LGBT groups: ‘For young people the main Pride festival can feel quite exclusionary. It is big and impersonal, very alcohol orientated, and relies on you having money. Political Pride allows us to put something on that young people can feel included in’.

Sarah Todd, Equality and Diversity Coordinator at Manchester Metropolitan University, said that ‘The event was an excellent opportunity to recognise the tremendous progress made towards LGBT equality and to take stock of the work left to do. MMU is committed to ensuring equality for all staff and students, placing diversity and individuality at the heart of our core values; we are delighted to be involved in the first ever Political Pride and hope to continue this partnership for many years to come.’

Catherine O’Donnell, Engagement and Events Officer at People’s History Museum says, ‘We are delighted to be involved in the organisation of Political Pride.  Our collections chart the radical history of the first Pride marches and Political Pride will continue in this tradition.’
Activities across the weekend include banner- and badge-making, a children’s story-time, and a slogan-based Bake-Off; while discussions and talks will be hosted on topics including bi-activism, marriage equality, the history and future of Pride, and the relationship between faith and sexuality.

Political Pride takes place at the LGBT Centre, 49-51 Sidney St, M1 7HB, All Saints Park (Oxford Road, opposite Sidney St) and MMU Business School (By All Saints Park) on 29 and 30 August 2015.  Fringe events will take place on 27 and 28 August.  Find out more at http://politicalpride.weebly.com/

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The all new Fusion group…

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Hidden ‘scandal’ of LGB and T hate crime exposed

Kate crime poster saying recognise it and report itFear of how they will be treated is leading to thousands of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people (LGB and T) not reporting hate crimes. As a result perpetrators are evading justice, a new report published today reveals.

LGBT Youth North West is partnering with a number of organisations on this research and developing ways to support LGBT young people report and recognise hate crime.

Evidence nationally suggests around 35,000 cases of hate crime committed against people because of their sexual orientation go unreported every year.

This work is supported by the government and is produced for the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

The report from the University of Leicester’s Centre for Hate Studies reveals that 88 per cent of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people had experienced some form of hate incident leaving them with emotional and physical scars. Based on in-depth interviews in Leicester and Leicestershire the report also states only 14 per cent of LGB victims reported their most recent experience of hate crime to the police.

Additional national evidence in the report shows that while victims of transphobia can be targeted up to 50 times in one year, only three in ten reports the incident.

The publication of the report coincides with a major new campaign to raise awareness of LGB and T hate crime by a partnership of 31 organisations, funded by the Commission.

With the message of ‘Recognise it. Report it.’ the campaign will empower LGB and T people to stand up against hate crime through education and training as well as establishing local partnerships.

Led by the LGBT Consortium, this is the first time that groups from across England and Wales have come together to tackle hate crime, with a focus on rural communities where reporting is especially low.

Paul Roberts, Chief Executive of the LGBT Consortium, said:

“LGBT communities are already working with the police to remove barriers to reporting, and offer practical and emotional support. However, too often, LGBT people don’t know they are experiencing hate crime or just shrug it off.

“Collectively, we are saying it is time to move on from this. Our message today is recognise hate crime when it happens, report it, and get support when you need it.”

National figures highlighted in the report include:

  • Only 4,267 incidents were recorded by police in 2012-13, despite the Crime Survey for England and Wales showing 39,000 homophobic hate incidents over the same period. That’s nine times higher than the reported figure
  • Eight in ten LGB people have been verbally abused or harassed and one in ten have been physically assaulted
  • One in eight LGB people had received unwanted sexual contact

The report lists a variety of reasons for under-reporting including the ‘normalisation’ of hate incidents, concern about wasting police time, fears about being outed and previous negative experiences with the police.

Equality and Human Rights Commissioner Evelyn Asante-Mensah, called for committed action:

“Pride season is upon us and it seems an opportune moment to reflect on the great steps made towards equality, while highlighting the hidden scandal of underreporting of LGB and T hate crime.

“Just as the Commission is doing with disability hate crime, we need to bring this problem into the open and create a culture where victims are confident to come forward and society confronts all forms of abuse.”

The report makes a series of recommendations to tackle the issues surrounding reporting of hate crimes. These include; increased community outreach by police to build trust with LGB and T communities; an increase in third party reporting systems where needed; increasing awareness of how and where to report hate crime and looking at what can be learned from the reporting of other types of hate crime.

Galop, a specialist LGBT anti-violence charity, has joined the year-long anti-hate crime initiative as one of the lead delivery partners.

Their Chief Executive, Nik Noone, spoke of the urgent need for the partnership, saying:

“It is not acceptable that people go so long without support and assistance, so I am pleased that the EHRC is steadfastly behind our partnership’s work to build strong local community responses to homophobia, biphobia and transphobia in every village, town and city.”

Report author, Dr Stevie-Jade Hardy, a lecturer at the University of Leicester’s Centre for Hate Studies, said:

“Hate crimes are a routine, and mostly unreported feature of many LGB and T people’s daily lives.

“Simply expecting victims to report without taking meaningful action to dismantle perceived and actual barriers is futile, particularly when the evidence shows that many have little confidence in the capacity of authorities to act empathetically or effectively.”

The Commission is also funding the UK’s only 24/7 nationwide LGB and T hate crime helpline, run by Stop Hate UK – 0808 801 0661.

Other regional helplines can be found at www.lgbthatecrime.org.uk

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Welcome our new Youth Work Coordinator – Matty!

We are sad to be losing the wonderful Cliodhna Devlin for a year, but are delighted to have on board Matty, who is replacing Cliodhna as our new Coordinator for Wythenshawe, Rochdale and the Greater Manchester Peer Support Project.

a smiling person looking at the cameraMatty says:

Having been to Hebe’s Creative Café and the Student Lunches at Sidney St, and met various staff to collaborate on other events, I am a big fan of LGBT Youth NW and am now very much looking forward to getting more stuck in with my new role working with the Peer Support Programme, and the Wythenshawe & Rochdale youth groups.  I will be undertaking this role alongside the last few months of my MA in Gender, Sexuality and Culture Studies.  At risk of sounding like an online dating profile, in my spare time I enjoy reading, arts & crafts and playing roller derby.  I look forward to meeting you all and working with you in the coming months!

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Fear of rises in young LGBT people’s homelessness after Queen’s Speech

There is growing concern about the ‘Full Employment and Welfare Benefits Bill’ amongst the charity sector reports the NCVO this week.

This bill was the centrepiece of the Queen’s speech (the speech the Queen gives to announce the intentions of the new government). The bill includes a commitment to creating three million apprenticeships, but also significant reforms to welfare provision. In particular:

Plans to ban 18 to 21 year-olds from claiming Jobseekers Allowance (JSA) or Housing Benefit. JSA will be replaced with a Youth Allowance, time-limited to six months. Young adults will also no longer be automatically entitled to receive Housing Benefit, and will instead be expected to remain within the family home.

Tracy from LGBT Youth North West said: ‘We are meant to be supporting the next generation, not making things harder for them.’

There are growing fears that those being persecuted in their homes by homophobic or transphobic parents will have less options to break free, and may end up in a more risky situation as a result.

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Well done to all the regional LGBT youth groups

Thanks for a lovely day today at the Pink Box, Being Proud Awards. Some highlights include… Salford volunteer Leia receiving a being proud award, Oldham group’s winning pink box entry, lovely singing by the duo from Pyro Lancaster, and respect to Blackburn, Blackpool, Wigan and Warrington for making the journey! And thanks to Miki and Charlie for being great comperes! Click on the Flickr (blue and pink circles) button to the right of this post to see all the photos of today!

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New BAME LGBT Youth Work

We are really proud to announce news of a new aspect to our work, working with BAME (Black, Asian and Minoritised Ethnic) LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans*) young people.

The lead worker for this exciting development is Chloe Cousins:

Head and shoulders of person smiling

Chloe says the role will seek to support BAME LGBT young people in the following ways:

  • 1-2-1 support for young people
  • Developing self-esteem, confidence and positive self image
  • Development of an online space for BAME LGBT young people
  • Development of a physical group and meeting space for BAME LGBT young people
  • Project and issue based work
  • Raising the awareness of peers about LGBT issues and experiences
  • Encouraging peers to create safe and inclusive spaces where LGBT people can feel safe to be themselves
  • Advocacy in BAME and faith based communities on behalf of BAME LGBT young people and raising awareness to issues and experiences of BAME LGBT people
Support is available for young people in Manchester and Greater Manchester.

Please contact Chloe to discuss how this role can support young people within your organisations, projects, schools and colleges.

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Rochdale Let’s Talk!

Last night we celebrated a year of the Let’s Talk partnership, and it brought me back to eighteen months ago, when we were lobbying Rochdale Council to bring back its LGBT youth group. We went to an event run by the CCG (the local NHS) about the Social Innovation fund. This fund is unique in that it offers a large amount of funding to the voluntary sector from the main NHS funding pot.

For them it makes sense: sometimes the voluntary sector can reach people the NHS can’t and can run programmes that prevent or reduce health problems in a non-medical way.

We joined with five other grassroots organisations under the leadership of the Gaddum Centre, to be able to offer a joined up counselling, support, peer support and listening service, and we called it ‘Let’s Talk‘.

This has enabled us to establish the LGBT peer support group in Rochdale and satellite support out to Heywood.

LGBT young people in Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale are similar to many young LGBT people in our northern towns. They are frequently faced with social isolation, bullying, fear of family rejection and worries about their future. This leads to higher stress levels and can lead to depression, anxiety or self-harm.

But all of this is avoidable!

Because the issue is not the young person, it is wider society that has the problem, and the problem is ‘heterosexism’ (the assumption that everyone does or should identify as heterosexual).

What the youth group does is provide a safe space where people have their identity affirmed and celebrated, and where young people can support others. This moves young people from feeling low and stressed to feeling more positive, capable and supported. The group have also began to change the culture in their towns through events, awareness raising campaigns and workshops in schools – this is the long road to dismantling heterosexism.

We are very proud of the group and the workers who support them. Congratulations on your first successful year!

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Love is an open door…

Or so they say!

In the early hours of this morning (9/04/15) someone broke into the Joyce Layland LGBT Centre. No one was hurt and while we are fairly sure nothing valuable was taken, both our outside and inner doors to the Centre were kicked in. We have reported it to the police as a Hate Crime.

Later this morning we set up a localgiving page to raise £1000, enough for three new doors and new sets of keys for user groups. As a result of all your help, support, donating and tweeting we have reached our target in just 3 hours! We are now above and beyond our target and all the funds we have raised today will go straight back into the centre to help us continue our vital work and also help us to cover some of the additional staffing cost.

From everyone at LGBT Youth North West we would like to extend our thanks for your continued love and support during this incident

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Save the Date! Pink Box Competition 2015

Click on the poster to access the links within:

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