Festivals and Events

LGBT History Month: the best of what's on in Manchester

Jenny White
Posted
LGBT History Month Manchester, Flesh ticket

Celebrate the best of gay culture with a month’s worth of theatre, dance, talks and more.

If you thought gay culture started and ended with cocktails and Kylie on Canal Street, you’d be wrong. Luckily, LGBT History Month, which runs throughout February across the country, is a chance to learn more about the incredible diversity of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender lives past and present. The reason we need this celebratory month is simple. Time was that any folk seen to deviate from society’s straight and narrow path were labelled as mad or bad; an attitude that meant that what the LGBT community had achieved was often overshadowed or hidden entirely. And if you think such attitudes died out with the dinosaurs, it’s worth bearing in mind that a) Tory MPs are currently getting themselves in a froth over gay marriage and b) it is only ten years since the repeal of Section 28, the 1980s law that banned schools and local authorities from “intentionally promoting the acceptability of homosexuality”. So when LGBT History Month was set up in 2005 by the anti-homophobia charity Schools OUT, it was done so to overcome such lingering attitudes – here are our picks of what’s on in Manchester this month.

Queer Contact 2013

Contact offers a strong queer arts programme throughout the year, but it pulls out all the stops for its innovative history month celebration. This year’s Queer Contact festival runs until 9 February and showcases the best theatre, comedy, spoken word, dance, cabaret, music and visual art from established and emerging artists. Don’t miss the live Vogue dance off between Darren Suarez in Manchester and Javier Ninja in New York at the House of Contact on 6 February, made possible by the venues’ pioneering “beam me up Scotty” telepresence technology (and also check out our interview with Sarah Evans ahead of her performance of The Secret Diaries of a Teenage Queer).

Other events across the city

MOSI has an solid programme charting the development and impact of Manchester’s LGBT communities. Learn science facts from Alan Turing, as a costumed performance brings the war hero and father of computer science to life, or spend an evening with Paul Cons as he talks about Flesh, the legendary monthly gay night he ran back in the day at the Hacienda. Or join Dr Sonja Tiernan at the Working Class Movement Library on 9 February as she traces the convention-defying relationship of Eva Gore-Booth and Esther Roper, Manchester based social justice campaigners, from their chance encounter in the 1890s. And we like the look of the evening of evening of film and discussion around marriage equality that’s being staged by the Lesbian and Gay Foundation on 16 February.

Culture Guides

Food and Drink

Discover the best food and drink that the North has to offer in our expert guide to food and drink in Manchester and beyond.

Cinema

This month, we round up some of the disreputable treasures and genuinely ambitious pieces of film art that are screening around Manchester and the North.

Exhibitions

A number of radical exhibitions feature in this month’s Exhibitions guide – which includes cutting edge-digital art and giant, endangered animals at MediaCityUK.

Families

Theatrical adventures reflecting on our changing world, sleep walks, a ridiculous art race through the forest, and our guide to Just So Festival.

The Real Story: Live with Lauren Elkin

Literature

Spring is well and truly in the air, and there are plenty of prose and poetry events blossoming this month across the North West, and the chance for budding writers to scribe some site-specific stories.

Music

As we enter festival season, the likes of bluedot, Cloudspotting and Manchester International Festival offer the chance to see some of the biggest artists on the planet in our own backyards…

Theatre

Secrecy, spying and subterfuge are the name of the game for our latest theatre picks.

Destination Guides