June is pride month! This month is a time dedicated to celebrating, uplifting and supporting the LGBTQ+ community. Whether you identify as LGBTQ+ or you’re simply an ally, everyone can get involved and join in the celebration.
It’s important (and fun) to attend pride parades and dress up in your most fabulous rainbow clothing, but it’s also just as important to engage with local communities and businesses that are run by, or that support LGBTQ people.
And we know that it’s important to shop smart and to buy local, so what better time to support LGBTQ+ business’ than pride month? Not only will you find great and unique products, you’ll also be supporting local (win-win).
Hey, it’s James here, I’m an Account Manager at Tempt and I’m lucky enough to have lived in Manchester my whole life, so here’s my rundown of some great LGBTQ+ businesses and events in our city of Manchester!
For all of you book lovers out there, first up is Queer Lit, Manchester’s Award-Winning independent gay bookshop. Queer Lit aim to discover literature that best reflects the LGBTQ+ ethos and queer experiences. They founded Queer Lit to tackle this problem – to better represent the LGBTQ+ community in Manchester – especially those of us who love books.
Queer Lit stock over 2000 titles in their store in the city’s Northern Quarter, which opened in August 2021. They know that it’s important that LGBTQ+ stories and voices are heard, and thanks to their customers support, they’ve been able to donate around 100 LGBTQ+ books each month to schools around the UK.
As if that isn’t enough, they have also teamed up with Feel Good Club in Manchester to bring Manchester’s most exciting book club. The Feel-Good Book Club meets on the last Wednesday of every month at 7pm on Hilton Street. They aim to bring affordable titles to the club and feature talks and Q&A’s with relevant authors.
So, check them out! You can follow Queer Lit on Instagram at: @queerlituk
And you can visit their store at: 39 Tib St, Manchester M4 1LX
GAY PRIDE SHOP
Next up we have the Gay Pride Shop. Here you’ll find all of your pride parade needs from flags, face paint and glitter to clothing, books and even tableware. Gay Pride Shop was started by Ian and Jason in 2014 when they started selling festival items, glitter, face paints, makeup and accessories in Afflecks Palace, Manchester. They decided to start up Gay Pride Shop UK when they saw other businesses selling LGBTQ+ products but not giving back to the community.
“While it’s amazing that so many companies are visibly gay friendly during pride events (even if some only do it for the money), wouldn’t it be great if they actually gave back to the LGBTQ+ community and showed their support for the other 51 weeks of the year!” – Jason (Founder of Gay Pride Shop)
Since launching the business, the Gay Pride Shop has grown into the UK’s biggest LGBTQ+ shop with almost 4000 items. The Gay Pride Shop do amazing work and give 15% of their products to the following charities;
- The Albert Kennedy Trust– supporting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender young people who are homeless, living in a hostile environment or in a housing crisis.
- The George House Trust– providing HIV support and advice services.
- Mermaids- supporting gender variant and transgender children, young people up to 20 years old, and their families.
You can follow Gay Pride Shop UK on Instagram at: @gayprideshopuk.
And you can visit their store at: Second Floor, Afflecks 52 Church St, Manchester M4 1PW
Right, we’ve done all of our shopping, now it’s time for a drink and some food. If you’re from Manchester, or you’ve visited, you’re probably aware of the Gay Village. The Gay Village is Manchester’s ‘gay district’ and the street is home to loads of clubs, pubs and restaurants. One of my personal favourites being Velvet.
Velvet is in the heart of the gay village and boasts a quaint canal side terrace which is perfect for dining outside when the sun is shining. Velvet is known for it’s great cocktails and it’s decadent interior. If you fancy a bite to eat whilst you’re exploring the gay village, then Velvet’s Village Brasserie is an all-day dining venue, located in the heart of Canal Street. Here you can enjoy a cocktail (or two) from an award-winning mixologist and contemporary British and Mediterranean-influenced. The menu is all about seasonality and quality and offers all day brasserie style favourites. Velvet is open all day and is the perfect spot to eat and drink with friends. I’ll see you there!
You can follow Vlevet on Instagram at: @velvetmanchester
And you can visit their bar at: 2 Canal Street, Manchester
Now we’re getting late on in the evening and we want to spend the night dancing away to incredible disco and house music, right?
I thought so. Well, in that case, Homoelectric is the party for you. Homoelectric was founded in 1997 and was born to combat the tacky scene in Manchester’s Gay Village with acid, techno and Italo disco. It has now scaled up to a 10,000-person festival, complete with unicorn drag queens and glitter clad go-go dancers. Homoelectric has grown to become one of the UK’s best-loved institutions. With it’s soundtrack consisting of house, techno, space disco, Italo, acid and outsider pop. This party has become a gay utopia for Manchester’s alternative clubbing scene and I implore everyone to visit at least once (Glitter is always a plus).
You can follow Homoelectric on Instagram at: @homoelectric
MANCHESTER PRIDE FESTIVAL
If you’re lucky enough to be visiting Manchester over the August bank holiday, then you’re in for a treat. Manchester’s world leading LGBTQ+ festival sees a whole weekend of events focusing on equality, arts and culture, community, youth and family and party.
The events include the hugely popular Gay Village Party, Manchester Pride Parade, Superbia Weekend and the closing Candlelit Vigil, a gathering in Sackville Gardens to remember those lost to HIV, and those still facing LGBTQ+ persecution globally.
Manchester Pride Festival is an incredible four-day celebration for LGBTQ+ life that takes place across the city every year over the August Bank Holiday weekend.
The roots of Manchester Pride and the festival are firmly in the heart of Manchester’s world-famous Gay Village. Taking place over all four days of the Bank Holiday weekend, the Gay Village Party is the ultimate street party celebration. The Gay Village Party tickets are subsidised by Manchester Pride – the cost helps deliver a safe, community Pride celebration.If you haven’t been to a pride festival before then you’re about to be blown away. Pride is an incredible mix of party, community and activism.
You can follow Manchester Pride Festival on Instagram at: @manchesterpride. So, there you have it, we’ve shopped, we’ve eaten, we’ve partied, and now it’s time to support.
This was just a small run down of a few of the incredible LGBTQ+ businesses and events that Manchester is home to. We’re so lucky to live in a city that not only supports but champions these businesses and all the others that pop up. So, crack out your flags, don your brightest clothing and I’ll see you on the dancefloor!
If you’d like to learn about some more independent businesses in Manchester, you can read our blog ‘Showing love to our favourite independent businesses’ here.