manchester

Trans rights, Anti Conversion Therapy demonstration, Manchester – 16th Apri 2022

Today I was at the Trans rights, Anti Conversion Therapy demonstration, Manchester – 16th Apri 2022, the Trans rights demonstration against conversion therapy for transgender people.

So, Boris Johnson and chums in the Tory party have decided they are going to ban conversion therapy for Lesbian and Gay people, but they do not want to ban this for transgender people. Their rationality to this is that you cannot change someone’s sexual preference through conversion therapy, but wanting to change gender can be reversed through conversion therapy!!!!!

Theresa May’s government pledged to remove conversion therapy in 2018 but the current Conservative government is very anti trans, something that was brought to the forefront in my eyes when the tory party gave the LGB alliance, an anti-trans group, a voice at their party conference in Manchester, 2021.

The demonstration

This isn’t the first demonstration I have been to in Manchester as there was one in October 2021 against the tories.

It’s a beautiful day in Manchester, (when isn’t it?) and I turned up in St Peter’s Square about 2:30 and there was already a few hundred people there.

I milled around talking to people until the event officially started at 3 p.m. when I would say there was probably over a thousand people there, and still more arriving!

Just as they started speaking there was a bit of trouble as two men turned up protesting in favour of conversion therapy. I’m told was one of the local Tory boys and his boyfriend. I know his name but it’s inconsequential, as was he!

He was shouting about his right to protest, and very quickly shouted down by the crowd and their placards removed.

Police eventually took him away after much remonstration, and what I did find amusing was one of the members of the Trans protest stood behind him with a homemade banner, which said “Do not listen to this man” with a big arrow pointing at him.

He held this above him all the time the police spoke to the man.

Protesting, basically in favor of conversion therapy, is like protesting in favor of torture. It’s a pretty piss poor argument in my humble opinion.

I did think it was quite ironic as they were escorted away that they shouted “Bye, homophobes” and “LGB with out the T”

It was pointed out during the demonstration that Trans people are more likely to be assaulted than CIS gender women and the bathroom argument is a red herring.

It was also pointed out that the Tories only seem to have an issue with male-to-female transsexuals and do not have an issue with female-to-male transsexuals and this argument is held up repeatedly. There was many FTM trans people at the demonstration today.

There was a wide variety of people there today, not just people from the LGBTIQ+ community. Some of the people that I spoke to were straight married couples who were there because they could not understand, and did not agree, with why the government would seek to not include transgender people in the ban on conversion therapy.

Speakers

At 3 pm there was many numerous speakers, including the actress Annie Wallis and Professor Stephen Whittle OBE FAcSS.

I’ve heard them both speak before, and they are inspiring people.

The more I listen to these two people the more I realise that I cannot just sit idly by and let politics take its course. I must let my voice be heard and now that voice is in the form of articles such as this blog and attending events.

The demonstration was still going on at 4:30 p.m, when sadly I had to leave.

I haven’t spoken to some of my friends who stayed to the end of the event, but I believe the Anti Conversion Therapy demonstration, Manchester, passed without incident apart from the issue with the man at the start.

Conclusion

The ban on conversion therapy must be a total ban, no exceptions.

As trans people are already vilified for basically being themselves, this is just another block put in the way of transgender people who are already marginalized by the medical profession and government institutions.

Links

Trans day of remembrance vigil in Sackville Street gardens, Manchester

Today I have been to perhaps one of the best trans events of my life ever, at the trans day of remembrance vigil in Sackville Street gardens in Manchester.

What is it?

I’ll start first with what is the trans day of remembrance first.

This past week has been Trans awareness week, 13-19th November and for this today there was a Trans rights and Trans day of Remembrance event.

This event is mainly to remember the trans brothers and sisters who’ve lost their lives in the past year for no other reason than they are Transgender and were being themselves. These people have been murdered because the society in their country deems being trans to be unacceptable, against a religious construct, or just because they were transgender.

The trans day of remembrance is not just about people in this country but about people throughout the world.

At today’s event, there was also a march to raise awareness of trans rights, again I wanted to be there for this.

The Event

The day started at 4 p.m. in Sackville Gardens in the Gay Village, beginning just as the sun went down, we gathered together.

Placards were handed, out instructions issued, and off we went to march around Manchester city center.

I wanted to go on the march because I am seriously concerned about the anti-transgender diatribe in the media, news and how anti-trans the Tory party have become recently. They are seeing to undo the gender equality act and human rights act. Something is seriously wrong when each week there is another anti-trans article in The Times, BBC, etc. However, I digress!

The march had maybe 200 people but that’s a rough guesstimate as I didn’t have a chance to count people because I was near the front.

I’ve shouted myself hoarse on the march with many a shout of “Trans Lives matter”

We went from Sackville Street gardens down canal Street and then across to Piccadilly gardens. Then down Moseley Street and onto St Peter’s Square and then along to Portland Street and back to the gay village and Churchill’s bar.

I know the organisers already thanked John & Antonio for letting us use the venue, but I’d like to extend my personal thanks for the welcoming that we all received at Churchill’s bar.

Speakers

At this point, I think there were still about 100 people who came to watch and listen to the speakers.

For about three-quarters of an hour, we listened to various speakers and a tribute to Stephanie, one of the village’s own. For the love of me, I can’t remember the name of the singer :'(

The song that her friend played in memory was both thoughtful and at the same time did make me cry.

The key speaker was Annie Wallace, the actress from Hollyoaks, who gave a very inspiring speech about the gender equality act and also the lack of equality in other countries compared to the UK but also how the UK needs improvement.

Some of the things that she said in her speech really resonated with me and I will be doing more research into some of the things she said, particularly the Gender Equality Act and also gender marker applications.

I will also be looking and some of the things that the young lady, Eden Ladley, said from the LGBT Foundation about trans rights and the Indigo clinic initiative, again this has inspired me. It has actually sparked a flame in my mind and reminded me that I need to be more proactive in my own transition and look up further alternatives to the path that I am currently on!

The Trans day of remembrance vigil

After the speakers in Churchills, we all returned to the Trans memorial in Sackville gardens where we held a candlelight vigil for the trans people who died around the world in the past 12-months.

Finally, as we stood to celebrate the Trans day of remembrance vigil, with our lit candles in hand, a list of those who have died was read out by numerous vigil participants.

A list of some 375 trans men and women. This number of people were only the deaths that had been reported in media outlets around the world and I am sure that this number is a gross underestimate of the number of deaths of trans people in the past 12 months.

At the end of the vigil, we raised our candles in to the air and the event silently drew to a close. However, many of us stayed around in Sackville Gardens for a short while afterward to gather our thoughts, wipe our tears, hug others and chat.

Finally

I’ve also met some really beautiful people at the vigil today who have made me think about a few things in my life and what I should be doing with it.

I have loved today and thank you to all those involved in the organisation of this wonderful and important event.

Photos by Mikki Tiamo

Photos from Churchils Facebook

Photos from @AprilPreston_

Thank you April. Fantastic to meet you today. <3

Protests in Manchester 3rd October 2021

On October 3rd I was proud to take part in a protest in Manchester. The People Assembly March against Austerity was a march against Tory cuts to public services, welfare provisions, job cuts, and wages.

What a day, the volume of people there was amazing. I don’t even want to hazard a guess but it was tens of thousands.

The march was attended by many of the trade unions as well as many pressure groups.

It’s now 1 am the day after and I have to say I am disappointed in the BBC, but not surprised, that their coverage is less than an article about using dry ice on train tracks.

The protest went without incident and I saw no incidents or skirmishes all day but I have to say I was very shocked at the number of police present. In some places, the entire street was lined with police.

Photos below:

Centre Stage on Bloom Street

Centre Stage

One of my absolute favourite places in the village as I’ve always been made to feel at home here.

Centre Stage is one of the most trans friendly places in the village and most evenings you will find trans people in this venue. They have drag acts most weekends and the staff here are very friendly and attentive. Its never long before orders are taken or drinks delivered.

Inside the venue, Centre Stage is one large room in a U shape which has the bar area at its center opposite which is the stage and behind is the toilets.

The DJ area is quite a modest area with a small DJ booth but it’s big enough to hold a couple of Queens or one Lee Starr (because her ego fills the stage. Hahaha!)

There’s plenty of seating around a most have a view of the stage.

Most nights Centre Stage is rocking and I cant wait for Covid restrictions to do one and things to get back to normal in Centre Stage.

Toilets in Centre Stage are shared but all there is is a distinct male/female area within the venue with urinals for men and cubicles for women.

Disabled access is difficult at Centre Stage as there are 4 steps to get inside.

Social Media:

Address: 51 Bloom St, Manchester M1 3LY

Toilets: Shared

App in Use: Butlr

Trans friendly? Yes

The Doodle on Ducie Street, Manchester

The Doodle on Ducie Street, Manchester near Piccadilly Train Station

A brilliant piece of artwork, called the Doodle on Ducie street. Located between Piccadilly and Dale street, just behind 111 Piccadilly. This is a fab piece of artwork and must be 35 feet in length and 7 ft high.

The artwork was creted by 30 artists, names below who are or have been homeless in Manchester.

Inspired by a brighter future and is a project by “With One Voice” and “Artolution”.

Worth a look if your passing from Piccadilly train station towards the City centre as its litterly 30 seconds off Piccadilly.

Location Map

Photo date: 29th April 2021

Video copyright: Mikki Tiamo

Night out in Manchester on 1st weekend after lockdown 

I went for a night out in Manchester on the first weekend after lockdown, on the 16th and 17th April. This is my recollection of the night out and what Manchester was like.

I wasn’t actually planning to go out on 16th of April but the events of the week transpired that I ended up working in Manchester on Friday morning I thought, what the hell let’s go and have a night out in Manchester.

It’s a little bit difficult to book hotel rooms at the moment as hotels are only supposed to be taking in key workers, but I booked into one of my regular hotels and when I turned up I went with a letter from my employer. Which is me! Hehehe.

So off I pop down to Manchester to do my work and by 11:30 I’m sat outside the New Union Hotel, with Gavin and Harry, on the outskirts of the gay village with a beer in my hand.

First thing I notice is, it’s really busy here. I walked down Canal Street to reach the New Union Hotel and most of the bars are preparing for opening time at 12 or they are already open and there are people sat outside.

The New Union is very busy and within about 5 minutes of sitting down there are no tables and chairs available. It’s not noon yet!

The atmosphere in the village in the morning is one of relief and happiness and everybody is enjoying the sunshine and the alcohol.

After a few hours we move further up Canal Street and try to get something to eat at Via, alas it’s bookings only despite only a few of the tables having people sat at them. Thankfully this policy didn’t last long.

At this time, about 2 p.m, lots of the bars on Canal Street already have the maximum capacity of people sat outside so, discretion being the better part of valour we decide to walk over to the city’s Northern quarter and see what’s going on over there.

Amazingly, the Northern quarter is much the same as the village with lots of the bars already close to capacity and we end up sat outside the Cane and Grain on Thomas Street for a little bit of food and a few more drinks.

Food is good, company is great and the atmosphere is fantastic. I’m speaking to lots of people i have never met before on neighbouring tables and also people walking down Thomas Street.

I return to my hotel about 4 p.m. to freshen up and get changed into something more suitable for a “night out” then head back to the village as I’m meeting some other friends at 5:30.

I meet my friends a Bar Pop and the place is jumping, well not literally because we’re all sat down, but there’s music playing and the staff are keeping the drinks flowing and the punters entertained. Theres also a somewhat carefree and happy vibe here which means everyone had a smile on their faces.

All the staff are doing their best to make sure that everybody is kept happy while maintaining social distancing while at the same time “being happy and gay”

We slowly make our way round to Centrestage which is our favourite bar in the village and we all agreed, that the atmosphere in the village is akin, dare I say it, to a pride weekend!

Yes, the atmosphere is that good and I think it’s just because it’s the first weekend that the village has been open since October and everybody’s there to meet friends, see people they haven’t seen for 5 months and have a good time.

Even though we’ve still got social distancing measures in place and everybody sat at tables.

Although we’re not supposed to we are socially interacting with the people sat around us and the staff.

I have a great evening with Sarah, and we only leave Centrestage when nearly all the tables around us have been tidied away. This is after we’ve spent half an hour sat with some of the serving staff who I have to applaud for the wonderful service throughout the evening and indeed the weekend, as I went out again on Saturday night.

Saturday was a little bit different in that there was many people in the village who where only interested in drinking as much as possible and causing trouble.

We had an incident at our table but by an large Saturday was a repeat of Friday.

Looking forward to the next big weekend and just hope the weather is a little bit warmer as although it was a great evening, I froze my ass off!

Captain Sir Tom Moore mural by Akse-p19

Captain Sir Tom Moore mural by Akse-p19

I must say I personally think the Captain Sir Tom MooreCaptain Sir Tom Moore mural is one of the best things I’ve seen sprayed on a wall in Manchester and there are some pretty amazing images around the city and the Northern Quarter.

Painted by Akse-p19 on the corner of Tib Street and Thomas/Hilton Street the quality and detail in this painting is quite frankly amazing.

I must admit to standing and looking at the Captain Sir Tom Moore mural for sometime and watching the reaction of those who walked and drove by. It was drawing quite a crowd on the Thursday I was there.

Akse, sir. I doth my cap to you as this is a work of art.

Location Map

Photo date: 1st April 2021

Photography copyright: Mikki Tiamo

On the sixth day god created Manchester Mosaic

On the sixth day god created Manchester Mosaic

The “On the sixth day god created Manchester” mosaic is located on the back of Afflecks on Short Street next door to Crazy Pedro’s Pizza.

This is inspired by the legendary T-shirt designed by Leo B Stanley

On the back of Afflecks Palace, I know its now mainly only known as Afflecks but i’ve been frequenting there for may years and its always been called Afflecks Palace in my circles, there is a copy of the T-shirt designed by Leo B Stanley in Mosaic form.

This is not to be confused with the On the sixth day god created Manchester, graffiti art found on the waste land on Picadilly and Gore Street.

Location Map

Photo date: 21st February 2021

Photography copyright: Mikki Tiamo

Manchester’s street art

Here’s a gallery of some of the pictures I’ve taken over the past 12 months on walks around the city center of Manchesters street art.

Hilton House, Port Street, Northern Quarter

Hilton House, Port Street in Manchesters Northern Quarter

Like many of the mural locations in Manchester, Hilton House is one of the many location which has a changing mural. This is the third I think.

Port Street is located behind Newton street and if you walk away from Piccadilly gardens down Newton street, Port street is an off shoot side street.

The current mural depicts scenes from the areas Cloth making and preperation which made this area of the city famous.

Location Map

Photo date: 8th November 2020

Photography copyright: Mikki Tiamo

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