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Queer people of colour subjected to ‘racial bias and discrimination’ at Manchester Pride

Nick Duffy August 28, 2019
2019's Manchester Pride festival faced a number of high-profile disasters

2019's Manchester Pride festival faced a number of high-profile disasters (Shirlaine Forrest/Getty Images)

A number of queer people of colour have spoken out about discrimination and bias they faced during Manchester Pride.

The Pride festival has been stung with a number of criticisms – after officials failed to remove anti-transgender protesters, ticket-holders were refused entry from a headline set by Ariana Grande, disabled people complained of being blocked from seeing the parade, and Pride-goers faced hour-long queues for drinks and toilets.

Fresh allegations have now surfaced of racial bias at the event.

The BBC‘s LGBT correspondent Ben Hunte spoke to eight queer people of colour who said they experienced discriminatory treatment.

Several people said they were refused access to bars and clubs around Canal Street, while others say they experienced hostile treatment from security staff at entry points to secure areas.

Racial prejudice at Manchester Pride.

Ryan, a black transgender student, says he and a friend were “refused drinks at two bars because we were told we looked too straight”.

Sebastian added: “Staff were actively pulling black people aside, they were actively not serving us properly. The security staff went out of their way to make us really uncomfortable.

“It may be a side-effect from the [2016] bombing in Manchester, and this is now how they treat anyone who looks like what they picture as a terrorist, but you cannot label every single ethnic minority a terrorist.”

Parade goers enjoy Manchester Pride 2019 on August 24, 2019 in Manchester, England.
Parade goers enjoy Manchester Pride 2019 on August 24, 2019 in Manchester, England. (Shirlaine Forrest/Getty)

Others took to Twitter to vent their frustration.

Amrou Al-Kadhi said they experienced a “really awful incident of racism” on the way in to Ariana Grande’s headline set at Manchester Pride Live, experiencing “blatant racial profiling”.

Pride organisers ‘all too aware’ of discrimination in venues.

Speaking to the BBC, Manchester Pride chief executive Mark Fletcher acknowledged issues at some venues, admitting he was “all too aware of discrimination that is still facing LGBT BAME people in alleged LGBT safe spaces in Manchester”.

He added: “We also now hold listening groups with BAME people to gain essential feedback on what more we can do to address the issues and ensure that our events are as inclusive as possible.”

Tolu Ajayi of Rainbow Noir, a Manchester-based group for queer people of colour, said: “We need our equalities organisations, club nights and bars to combat the racism encountered by our members; we need to invest in the necessary diversity training for door staff and security, and involve people of colour in decision making for events.

“We celebrate the space we have been given, and the allies who are standing with us, but we must not stop challenging and addressing a still largely unwelcoming LGBT+ culture for black and brown communities on the ground at Pride events.

“We must do better for LGBT people of colour.”

More: LGBT, Manchester Pride, queer people of colour

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