Relations between police and the lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans communities will be debated at a special event as part of the Manchester Pride Fringe.
The free event, which has been organised by Greater Manchester Police and Crime Commissioner Tony Lloyd, will bring together police, activists, council representatives and members of the public to examine how relations have changed – and whether the transformation is real or just window-dressing.
The event is called “Police with Pride?” and members of the public who attend will also be given the opportunity to share their experiences and insights.
The event will also be recorded by Gaydio, the country’s leading LGBT radio station, for broadcast at a future date.
Tony said: “We all know that the police have gone on a long and sometimes painful journey with the LGBT community in the UK. It’s fair to say the relationship has improved dramatically. In the 1980s the then chief constable of Greater Manchester felt it was acceptable to stigmatise and castigate an entire community with comments that were frankly outrageous*. Compare that to now when senior officers and I will proudly march with rank and file officers and staff in the Manchester Pride parade during the Big Weekend.
“It used to be the case that police officers had to hide their sexuality if they were to get ahead. Now more police officers and staff march in the Manchester Pride parade than any other Pride parade in the world.
“So things have got much better, but that doesn’t mean we can’t take the mistakes of the past and apply them to the present – and the future. It’s also sadly the case that many LGBT people in Greater Manchester have faced homophobic and trans abuse or been attacked merely because of their sexuality or gender identity. The police need to make sure that they get the response right, and it’s equally important that LGBT people have the confidence to come forward if they’ve been a victim of hate crime.
“This debate will be a great opportunity to share our experiences, reflect on how far we’ve come and also see how we can continue to improve the relationship between police and the gay and trans communities.”
Joining Tony on the panel will be:
- Paul Martin OBE, chief executive, The Lesbian and Gay Foundation
- Councillor Sue Murphy, deputy leader, Manchester City Council
- Assistant Chief Constable Garry Shewan, Greater Manchester Police
- Inspector Emma Taylor, Greater Manchester Police
The event will be held on Wednesday 21 August at 7pm at Manchester Town Hall. Admission is free and light refreshments will be served.
The event has been organised by the Greater Manchester Police and Crime Commissioner, kindly supported by Manchester Pride, Greater Manchester Police, Manchester City Council, The Lesbian and Gay Foundation and Gaydio.
This article was amended on Tuesday 20 August to remove the reference to the Chief Constable marching in the Pride parade. Sir Peter has marched previously, but has a prior commitment this year. Additionally the reference to homophobic abuse was expanded to include abuse against trans people, and clarity was added that Tony wants to see how relations between the gay and trans communities can be improved.