All of us here at Manchester Pride are beyond devastated to hear that George Ward, known to many as Cherry Valentine, has sadly passed away on 18th September 2022.
Cherry Valentine was a talented drag artist, mental health nurse, activist and a shining light in our communities.
George was best known for competing in RuPaul's Drag Race UK Season 2 as Cherry Valentine, and for their BBC documentary Cherry Valentine: Gypsy Queen and Proud.
Cherry frequently spoke out about their experiences growing up LGBTQ+ in the Traveller Community and was passionate about advocating for LGTBQ+ mental health.
We were so proud to have Cherry Valentine speak at the Manchester Pride Conference on our LGBTQ+ Mental Health panel in March 2021, alongside Dr. Cheddar Gorgeous and Craig Harris. More recently, Cherry gave a stunning performance on our Alan Turing Stage at the Gay Village Party over August Bank Holiday Weekend of 2021.
Cherry was a beautiful talent who will be sorely missed by the team at Manchester Pride, and indeed the wider queer community in Manchester.
You can watch Cherry’s Conference discussion back on our YouTube channel below.
Rest in Power, George <3
We recognise that statistically LGBTQ+ people are at much higher risk of experiencing poor mental health, and are often faced with additional difficulties accessing mental health services and support. Thankfully, there are many incredible local and national organisations operating to ensure the wellbeing of LGBTQ+ people.
Rainbow Mind is a collaborative project between Mind in the City, Hackney and Waltham Forest (Mind CHWF), and Mind in Salford, providing a service aimed at tackling mental health issues for individuals within the LGBTQ+ community.
Switchboard provides information, support and referral service for lesbians, gay, bisexual and trans people – and anyone considering issues around their sexuality and/or gender identity. Switchboard LGBT listens to LGBT+ people, providing a lifeline and calm words to those who need them. You can get in touch on the phone, by email or through Instant Messaging. The helpline number is 0300 330 0630.
Colours Youth Network uplifts, empowers and supports young people of colour who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, intersex (QTIPOC) aged 16-25, and encourages them to explore and celebrate who they are through meaningful connections to other young people and a team of experienced QTIPOC youth workers.
Mermaids provide a helpline and web chat service aimed at supporting transgender and gender-diverse young people up to and including the age of 19, their families, and professionals working with them. You can speak to a trained member of the Mermaids team on 0808 801 0400, Monday - Friday; 9am - 9pm.
Consortium is a membership organisation that works to support LGBTQ+ organisations and projects around the country. Use the site's Member's Directory to find local mental health services.
Mind Out is a mental health service run by and for lesbians, gay, bisexual, trans and queer people that works to improve the mental health and wellbeing of all LGBTQ+ communities, and to make mental health a community concern.
LGBT Foundation provides a wide range of support services to lesbian, gay, bi, trans, and + people. Their helpline is open on 0345 3 30 30 30, 9am-9pm weekdays.
Gendered Intelligence are a trans-led charity that works to increase understandings of gender diversity and improve the lives of trans and non-binary people.
Imaan is a charity that supports lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer or questioning (LGBTQ) Muslims, providing an online forum where people can share experiences and ask for help.
The Proud Trust is a life saving and life enhancing organisation. They help LGBTQ+ young people to make a positive change for themselves, and their communities through empowerment. The Proud Trust offers a 'Proud Connections' instant messaging service, open 12pm – 6pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Mindline Trans + is an emotional and mental health support helpline for anyone identifying as transgender, non-binary or gender fluid. Their helpline is open Mondays, Wednesday and Fridays from 8pm - midnight on: 0300 330 5468.
Micro Rainbow runs safe houses dedicated solely to LGBTI asylum seekers and refugees. There are several ways to get in touch with Micro Rainbow, and its services such as its helpline is open for those in need of assistance.
akt supports LGBTQ+ young people aged 16-25 in the UK who are experiencing homelessness or living in a hostile or abusive environment. If you are a young person, you can refer yourself to akt's services via their website.
The Beaumont Society is a national self help body run by and for the transgender community. They work to support trans and non-binary people with their partners and families, as well as advising and training on transgender issues.
Regard is a national organisation of lesbians, gay, bisexuals, transgender and queer people who self-identify as disabled. It has created guides for disabled and older people which feature really helpful advice for food shopping and how to cope with isolation.
Mind LGBTQ provides information about mental health support for people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, intersex, non-binary, queer or questioning.
George House Trust provides services to people living with, and affected by, HIV. If you are in need of support, advice or information and would like to speak to someone, George House Trust run a Telephone Buddy Service. The buddy service is a 1 to 1 service for in-person and telephone appointments, and more.
R U Coming Out provides information and resources for people coming out and those who want to learn more about sexuality. There is no right or wrong way to come out, but reading about other people’s experiences can help. Check out their resources, tips & advice on coming out.
UoM QTIPOC Society aspires to provide a safe space for queer, trans and Intersex people of colour (QTIPOC) and represent all minorities within the community.