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Manchester Town Hall
Manchester is a city in Greater Manchester, in the north west of England (formerly in Lancashire). During the 19th century it became a major industrial centre, and the opening of the Manchester Ship Canal in 1896 transformed it into a major seaport. In addition to the original core of Manchester, the city boundaries have been extended to include other localities such as Wythenshawe and Didsbury.

LGBT history

In 1880 the police raided a drag ball in Hulme.

The Campaign for Homosexual Equality was initially based in Manchester. As well as the national headquarters, there was at one time a Manchester CHE Group, as well as a separate Manchester Teenage Group[1], Manchester Gay Youth Group, and Manchester Women's Group.

The Manchester Gay Centre (later Gay and Lesbian Centre) existed in Bloom Street in the 1980s.[2] In 2008 it was renamed the Joyce Layland LGBT Centre. The centre is now based in Sidney Street.[3]

Prior to Covid there was a thriving gay village centred around Canal Street, including a gay supermarket. It had been claimed that "The Gay Village probably represented the the biggest concentration of gay interests, services and businesses in Europe"[4]

The book Gay Europe (1995) has listings for gay places in Manchester.
Cover of Gay Centre Annual Report 1981-82 (photo courtesy Paul Fairweather)

Manchester Pride has been held each August since 1991.

The city was the only place in Europe to mark the inaugural Bi Visibility Day in 1999, and is home to BiPhoria, the UK's oldest extant bisexual organisation.

The Cross Street Unitarian Chapel in Manchester was the first church in the UK to be given a licence to conduct civil partnerships on its premises.[5]

Local LGBT sports clubs include:

Manchester has its own LGBT radio station, Gaydio.

Manchester City Libraries have an online guide to local LGBT archives.[6]

Manchester Concord was a transgender social group that closed in 2018.[7]

In 2005 the City Council inaugurated the Manchester LGBT Heritage Trail.

Nick Grimshaw was born in Manchester.

In 2016 Councillor Carl Austin-Behan, Manchester's first openly gay Lord Mayor, led the Manchester Gay Pride parade. He wore pink robes while leading the parade [8].

External links Archive photos for Manchester LGBT History Manchester Libraries LGBT Source Guide


  1. Manchester Teenage Group was registered with the Greater Manchester Youth Association in 1977, making it probably the first gay teenage group to achieve such a recognition. HCA archives in LSE HCA/Albany Trust16/51 minutes of Sexual Awareness in Youth Services (SAYS) meeting 10 Feb 1977. However no other archive references have been found to this early group.
  8. Carl Austin-Behan explains how the pink robes came to be worn in 2016