Words: Alastair James; pictures: Pexels
The LGBT Foundation has published a report calling for Manchester Pride to become more transparent and more inclusive in the future.
It sets out a number of recommendations on what the community event can do to improve going forward, following some complaints in recent years.
A 2019 investigation by the BBC found that of the profits made at the 2019 event, which Ariana Grande headlined, only 3 percent went to charities; a 50 percent drop from 2018.
"A celebratory event that represents our entire community"
In a statement accompanying the report, Paul Martin, the Chief Executive of the LGBT Foundation, says: "Pride events are hugely important to many LGBTQ+ people, and we want to see Manchester Pride grow and change so that it is inclusive, safe, and fun for all members of our community."
He assures that the report's recommendations are being made in "good faith" and are focused on "improving accessibility and engagement with the community", as well as offering to work closely with Manchester Pride.
"The recommendations in this report are an opportunity for us to deliver on our vision of believing in a fair and equal society where all lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans people can reach their full potential,” he continues adding the Foundation is keen to ensure Pride "is a celebratory event that represents our entire community".
Across the themes of Accountability, Transparency, and Change a number of recommendations are made in the report.
For the first, the LGBT Foundation says Pride should be reviewed annually which should include community engagement, and that venues should be audited to ensure they are appropriate. A mechanism for people to offer feedback should also be created.
Regarding transparency the report suggests consulting with various local groups, ensuring open communication and clarity around any public consultations Pride may run in the future.
On how Manchester Pride can change and adapt, it's suggested that grassroots and independent events could be used as examples of where changes can be made that benefit the community, and that suitable British Sign Language and wheelchair access should be provided.
There should also be a "pay what you can" option so no one is prevented from being able to afford to attend.
In its closing remarks, the report's authors say they hope that "this report offers some direction in how best to do that next. A new year may well bring new challenges, but it will also bring an opportunity to learn from our past and build on our strengths."
Last year, people marched in protest at how Manchester Pride was being run, including its funding to the LGBT Foundation and the George House Trust.
Speaking to the BBC last year the chief executive of Manchester Pride, Mark Fletcher, said they were taking "tough decisions" while focusing on recovering post-pandemic. There was also criticism after Manchester Pride dropped funding to distribute free condoms and lubricant to promote safer sex.
A spokesperson for Manchester Pride has called the recommendations "constructive" and says the details of the report will be "carefully considered" alongside its own in-depth research from a recent public consultation, which is due to be published later this month.
It continues: "As a valued ally, we welcome the LGBT Foundation's report and look forward to working alongside the team in pursuit of our combined goal for greater equality for the LGBTQ+ community."
The Attitude February issue is out now.