M A N C H E S T E R P R I D E
- and what it means to us here at McCrory Hair
We love the explosion of colour (obviously!), the creativity & expression you see all around the city of Manchester leading up to Pride week is fantastic.
The city comes alive. Everywhere is vibing. It’s a happy time to be who you are & who you want to be. No risks, no judgement, no fear.
Some people ask why do we still need a “Pride”? After all, society’s acceptance of all people, colour, sexuality, orientation, culture, diversity & (Dis)Abilities has become a bit more inclusive. Or has it?
Well it depends really on who you are and where you come from.
In the “old” days folk had real trouble in accepting just the two “deviancies” from the “normal” acceptable standards set by mainstream society. Homosexuals and Lesbians. Queers and Dykes. Puffs and Lezzas. The cruel and demeaning slang descriptions go on and on. Throw into that mix a bisexual, and the trio of sexual “degenerates” had a real fight on their hands to be recognised and accepted as equal in life wherever & whoever they were. At work, at school, at home, socialising and even just walking down the street.
All throughout modern social history from the 1900’s up until the latter part of the last century, being Gay, Lesbian or Bisexual was a life of fear. A life that you had to be careful wasn’t exposed. Even then you were faced with judgement, ridicule, exclusion, violence, coercion, blackmail, loss of employment, loss of housing and much much more. Many people felt pushed to take their own lives, and some were killed just for being what they were born to be, to express the love that dare not speak its name.
For me personally, any bars, clubs or groups I plucked up the courage to go to were usually in dark and dingy venues, not like the glitz and glamour we have now thankfully. They were regularly targeted by police, bigots and homophobes. We were the underbelly of city centre Manchester.
But look at us now! There are such a lot of amazing people, some no longer with us, that held the light brightly in our struggle for recognition. Even though they suffered greatly and often horrifically, they left an impression of hope for everyone in this world who are forcibly restricted by others from being who they truly are. The list is extensive but here are some that I truly truly admire -
Alan Turing (Mathematician, computer scientist)
He was the guy that cracked the German enigma code that helped Britain to win World War 2 against the Germans. He was prosecuted in 1952 for illegal homosexual acts. He accepted chemical castration treatment (DES) as an alternative to prison. He killed himself with cyanide poisoning 16 days before his 42nd birthday. 42!!!
Reg opened Manchester’s first gay club, The Rockingham. A blatant profiteer but always showed kindness to his clientele. A pioneer that went on to opening High Society in the 1980’s, the first bit of gay glamour in the city.
Roberta Cowell. 1951
The first British woman known to undergo reassignment surgery and have her birth certificate changed. She was a fighter pilot in WW2.
April Ashley. b.1935. Actress, showgirl and author
She was a Bond girl. Read her book of the same name. Incredible story. She was outed by the Sunday People as Trans in 1961! Shit newspaper then, shit newspaper now.
Quentin Crisp. Died in Chorlton Manchester, alone in 1999. A raconteur, actor and activist
Always celebrated his femininity wearing make up and painted nails. During his teen years he was a rent boy.
Tanya Compus. LGBTQ+ & queer black rights activist (London) amazing lady!!
As I say the list is endless but you get my point.
Thankfully now in 2021 things do seem a bit brighter, but the fight for equality continues. Now, today we can boast 100% inclusivity, respect, love, acceptance and support to many more diverse types of identity. Hit the link below to see just how many types of sexuality there are. This link is not an exhaustive list. There will be new ones I’ve missed but not deliberately.
The list above shows us just how far as a civilised society (in the U.K.) we have come. However there is still a lot to stand up for all over our cities, towns and countryside.
This is why we have a “Pride”
Pride in who I am as a gay employer with a multi diverse team. A team I am hugely proud of. Proud of who they are and how they live their lives.
Below are a few quotes from the team on what “MANCHESTER PRIDE” means to them.