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.
The very best exhibitions in Manchester and the North include a collaboration with a renowned dance company, the return of Manchester Science Festival (bigger and better than ever), a showcase of exquisite craft at the Old Granada Studios, and much more. All in all, it’s an exciting, boundary transcending time for art in the North.
With Rising Stars and World Literature, nothing says October in the Rainy City like Manchester Literature Festival. As we enter the final furlongs, there are still tickets available for some events, from creative non-fiction to a canalside special commission. And once MLF is over, Manchester Science Festival will be chemically enhancing words with poems about the periodic table.