Over the past month I have written a post each week reflecting not just on the Manchester Pride Festival this year, but on the importance of connecting with our communities in order to use our subversive queer power in the collective fight for intersectional joy. In this final post, I want to think about some actions we can do in the fight for social change, a variety of differing activist efforts we can all collaborate on as we work together toward a shared liberation.
For LGBTQ+ people, the situation in the UK is dire. According to Vice, there has been a 32% increase in hate crimes based on sexual orientation and 59% increase in hate crimes against trans and non-binary people in the past year, the sharpest rise ever recorded. Meanwhile, racism is rife within our own LGBTQ+ communities, with Stonewall reporting over half of queer people of colour having experienced racisim in LGBTQ+ spaces. And anti-trans ideologies are on an alarming rise across the country, something Shon Faye explains well in her book, The Transgender Issue. It is no wonder, then, that mental health statistics are so poor, with another Stonewall report showing that over half of LGBTQ+ people have experienced a mental illness. With our new Prime Minister’s poor track record on LGBTQ+ rights, especially trans rights, we have an uphill battle ahead of us.
But it is not a battle we need to (or are able to) fight alone. In a time of so much hate against our communities, it is more important than ever that we come together, stop the in-fighting, and collaborate toward systemic liberation. We heard the calls to end racism and transphobia at the Human Rights Forum: Pride is a Protest, and we learned how to support the devastating needs of migrants and refugees at the Candlelit Vigil. I felt the passion and fire of social justice at Manchester Pride, and I earnestly hope all others in attendance are keen to keep that spirit alive throughout the rest of the year. Because we know that there is work to be done, and we know that our freedom can only be won through collaborative endeavours. That is why Manchester Pride worked with the Village businesses and the LGBT Foundation to improve safety during the Festival, and why we will work with other local partners like George House Trust and Sparkle for further initiatives to support our communities.
Pride is a protest, but protest is only one of many ways to fight for social change. In our current climate, we must remember who our actual enemies are. We must work together against our oppressors. Whether that be through coalition building, community partnerships, or campaigning and lobbying, we can make a difference for our communities. We can do so much more than protesting. Together, we can demand a restructuring of our institutions, a redistribution of wealth and resources, and authentic reparations for our communities. But we can only achieve real results if we’re willing to listen to one another, support each other and be kind to one another.
This year, the staff at Manchester Pride will focus our efforts on tackling hate crimes. We will be working with our communities as we strive toward ending all forms of violence against LGBTQ+ people. Keep a lookout for our upcoming campaign!
What issues facing our community are you especially concerned about? Who could you work alongside in the fight to bring about this change? How will you contribute as we all do our part to create a world where LGBTQ+ people are free to live and love without prejudice?