Manchester Pride Festival opens with the Human Rights Forum, a thought-provoking protest to kick off the weekend’s celebrations.
On Friday 25th August, we came together to discuss and celebrate LGBTQ+ rights and equality. This event serves as a platform for dialogue, reflection, and action on key issues affecting the LGBTQ+ community.
Greater Manchester has a legacy of promoting equality and diversity across all equalities groups, and was at the forefront of promoting the rights of LGBTQ+ people in the UK. The Human Rights Forum is part of our mission to amplify LGBTQ+ issues and campaigning for equality, and we are committed to improving the lives of LGBTQ+ people in Greater Manchester and beyond.
This year's theme "Stop the Hate!" served as a sobering reminder of the ongoing struggle against hate. Despite the victories and progress the community has made, discriminatory practices in politics, media, and legislation—especially against the trans community—remain a poignant issue in 2023. The call to ‘Stop the Hate’ resounds louder than ever.
After the Human Rights Forum, attendees visited our Activism Hub on Community Lane to help take action, where you could write to your MP
to ask for them to advocate for the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) to implement an independent panel of trans and non-binary people.
What is the Human Rights Forum?
The Human Rights Forum aims to promote awareness and understanding of LGBTQ+ rights, with a particular focus on issues impacting transgender communities and LGBTQIA+ mental health. Through engaging discussions, influential speakers and inspiring changemakers, we delve into the challenges that persist and explore how we can work together to bring about positive social and political change.
Where does the Human Rights Forum take place?
The beautiful and historic location of Sackville Gardens serves as the perfect backdrop for our gathering, where we commemorate Manchester’s pioneering legacy in fighting LGBTQ+ rights, and reflect on the progress we've made while acknowledging the work that lies ahead.
What can I expect from the Human Rights Forum?
The Human Rights Forum is a protest, a demonstration against systemic issues and a catalyst for change - and you're invited!
Join us and you can expect:
- A space for dialogue and reflection on key LGBTQ+ issues
- Learn about LGBTQ+ issues and how to advocate for equality
- Be empowered with resources and tools to promote understanding and inclusivity
- Meet diverse communities
- Be inspired to become a changemaker, showing the world that Manchester is a beacon for LGBTQ+ equality and inclusion
Human Rights Forum 2023
This year’s Human Rights Forum theme was ‘Stop the Hate’, honouring the 20th anniversary of the repeal of Section 28 and celebrating the collective strength of the LGBTQ+ community in challenging and changing wider discriminatory practices in politics, media, and legislation.
Key individuals instrumental in the fight for equality and the repeal of Section 28 took to the stage:
- Cheddar Gorgeous: An acclaimed drag performer and activist from Manchester, known for their notable finish as the runner-up on RuPaul's Drag Race UK.
- Maz Hedgehog: An energetic poet, playwright and performer
- mandla: Zimbabwean-born, agender and queer writer and performer known for inspiring trans people, especially Black trans youth, through spoken word.
- Husk: A trans masc non-binary person discussing personal experiences under Section 28 and its impact on the community.
- Kath McDermott: A DJ at the legendary Hacienda and influential figure from the protests against Section 28, sharing unique insights.
- Ben Pechey: An author, DE&I consultant and prominent LGBTQ+ activist advocating for trans-non-binary representation.
- Prof. Catherine Lee: A seasoned educator with an MBE for LGBTQ+ inclusion, whose diaries on teaching during Section 28 inspired the BAFTA-nominated film “Blue Jean”.
- Dominic Lawson: A singer and musician from Manchester discussing intersectionality and performing ‘Stand Up for Love’.