Manchester Pride launches new campaign in the city to tackle hate against the LGBTQ+ community

The campaign is being launched as statistics show an increase in hate crimes in Greater Manchester.
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Manchester Pride is launching its first city-wide campaign in an attempt to tackle hate against the LGBTQ+ community.

The charity says the campaign, which will run throughout 2022-23, aims to raise awareness of the issue among the general public, encourage residents to report hate crimes to the police when they see them and urge businesses and organisations in Greater Manchester to provide safe spaces for LGBTQ+ people.

The campaign’s launch has been supported by Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham and deputy mayor Baroness Beverley Hughes. Billboards will appear across the city to spread the message and prominent individuals are being asked to show their support with a message including the slogan: “I Choose Kindness”.

Statistics show hate crimes have increased across Greater Manchester and Manchester Pride said tackling prejudice and hatred was one of the key concerns of the local community in a consultation exercise it carried out.

What is the new campaign being run by Manchester Pride?

Manchester Pride launched the campaign on Monday (10 October) with a video message from Mr Burnham encouraging Mancunians to choose kindness over hate.

The charity is promising a hard-hitting and wide-reaching campaign which it hopes will raise awareness of the issues faced by LGBTQ+ people and encourage more people to report hate crime. It will also inform people how to recognise hate and support LGBTQ+ people and encourage Greater Manchester venues and businesses to provide safe spaces.

Billboards will appear across Manchester including at key locations such as King Street and Axis Tower. Radio adverts will be broadcast on Gaydio and influential Mancunians will be showing their support for preventing hate crime via social media.

Individuals who publicly say: “I Choose Kindness” will be showing they do not tolerate hate while businesses displaying the message will be pledging themselves to providing a space where LGBTQ+ people can be themselves without any fear, Manchester Pride said.

Why is this campaign being run?

A report presented to the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) in August showed that the number of recorded hate crimes in Greater Manchester in the 12-month period up to the end of June 2022 was 12,934, a 22.9% increase on the previous 12 months.

Some 2,100 of those incidents involved hate due to someone’s sexual orientation, a 23.7% increase on the previous 12-month period up to June 2021, while there were 346 incidents involving someone being transgender, a rise of 69.6%.

Manchester Pride also said it launched the campaign following a consultation with LGBTQ+ people and organisations in Greater Manchester called Pride In Our Future.

The charity asked about the issues and challenges the community was facing and what it wanted Manchester Pride to focus its campaigning efforts on. The increase in homophobic and transphobic hate crimes was identified as the top issue affecting LGBTQ+ people, along with prejudice and discrimination.

What has been said about the launch of the campaign?

Manchester Pride CEO, Mark Fletcher, said: “It was clear from the consultation with our communities that their main concern is the threat of hate; added to this the latest hate crime figures which show incidents increasing year on year. We have to act to end this.

“We ask everyone to come together and show compassion for their fellow Mancunians so we can all feel safe to be our true selves.

“We hope that by raising awareness of this issue, we will create a legacy campaign for Manchester Pride that will live far beyond the fantastic Pride weekend celebrations and have an impact for years to come. It’s never been more important to Choose Kindness.”

Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham said: “Greater Manchester is a place where everyone should have the right to get on and feel safe, regardless of who they are. We celebrate diversity and the contribution of the LGBTQ+ community to our city region.

“Sadly, we know it’s the case that too many people suffer hate because of who they are, whether that’s because of their sexual orientation, ethnicity, disability or another reason.

“I hope campaigns such as I Choose Kindness will play a major part in raising awareness of hate, taking a stand and choosing kindness instead.”

Bev Hughes, deputy mayor of Greater Manchester, said: “We need to respond and support victims and I welcome the work of Manchester Pride through this campaign in raising awareness.

“I urge people affected by hate crime to report it. They will be supported by the police. I also hope we can all come together as a community to stop hate crime from happening and to choose kindness instead.”