#BEAPIONEER Series – Pride Edition

As Manchester enters the month of August, the city turns a wash with every colour of the rainbow. This marks the annual LGBT+ Manchester Pride festival held throughout August with the main event happening over August Bank Holiday weekend.  Hotel Indigo Manchester Victoria Stationare very proud and honoured to be a Hotel Sponsor in our first year of opening and cannot wait to celebrate with the diverse and cultural community in our neighbourhood.

Hotel Indigo Manchester Victoria Station is built and designed to echo the history of this pioneering city. Our neighbourhood is the place where anybody with an idea can change the world; from England’s first cotton mill in 1783, just footsteps away from our front door, to producing the first pages of ‘The Guardian’ in 1821.  Our city has always been well known as the hive of industrial activity and pioneering work.

In a recent interview with I Love MCR, Mark Fletcher Chief Executive for Manchester Pride discussed the vision for this year’s celebrations and stressed the importance of remembering just how far the movement has come Fletcher said: “As we acknowledge the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots, an event which kick started the modern LGBT+ pride movement, we are taking a clear moment to stop, reflect on the changes in society, acknowledge the progress that has been charted and consider the future of LGBT+ equality. What will this look like?” See the full article here.

The thought that just one mind can change the course of history is ever existent within the city’s exuberant LGBT+ history.  A long line of LGBT+ pioneers have helped to weave the something fabric of our something city.  These include: the ingenious Alan Turning who saved the world as we known it; to the courageous Alan Horsefall who worked to repeal Section 28; and the bold Julia Grant who pioneered the fight for Trans rights; it all started right here in our neighbourhood!

Manchester has a long history of promoting equality and diversity across all the city’s communities in particularly the LGBT+ community.  Dating back to 1940’s when The Union Pub was the place to go to see a Drag Show (apparently a huge hit with the American Troops stationed in the city during the war).  Arguably the most notable of Manchester’s LGBT+ pioneers’ must be the genius computer scientist and adopted Mancunian, Alan Turing. It is stated that Turning saved the world and created the foundations of the technological age we see today.  Turing’s invention of modern computing and the machine named Bombe was instrumental to his country and allied forces in defeating Nazi Germany during the second world war by cracking the German Naval Enigma.  A prosperous career followed with many secret service operations, and scientific discoveries bringing Turing to the University of Manchester.  Here artificial intelligence came to life, as a computer was given a ‘brain’ and it was taught how think and react for itself. It is even commented that Turing’s further work on morphogenesis is a seminal piece in mathematical biology, leading to future research and resulting in a better understanding of what we now know as DNA.

His legacy is one that ought to be celebrated, however during the end of his life Turing couldn’t be any further from being a hero.  Falling victim to an era of anti-gay legislation, Turing was convicted of gross indecency in 1952.   Stripped of his security clearance and rising concerns the conviction would cause him to be ostracized by his peers and the industry which he held in such high regard, Turing accepted an invasive hormone treatment therapy rather than a prison sentence.  Sadly, Turing took his own life two years later in 1954; an inquest determined his death as suicide.  An internet campaign in 2009 led to an official public apology for “the appalling way he was treated” being issued on behalf of the British Government by then Prime Minister Gordon Brown, this was followed by a Posthumous pardon in 2013 by Queen Elizabeth II.  Most recently and deservedly so, the Bank of England announced that Turing will be commemorated on the United Kingdom’s £50 note.

If your attending the Village weekender over bank holiday weekend be sure to stop by the Alan Turing memorial pride of place in Sackville gardens the home of Manchester Pride Village party.

Why not try the LGBT+ Heritage trail on your next visit to Manchester and learn all about the pioneers of our city (link here) or try why not try a walking tour with the acclaimed historian Jonathan Schofield