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    19 Reasons Why Manchester Is The Most LGBT-Friendly City In The UK

    Forget London and Brighton, Manchester's where it's at.

    1. Manchester has the largest LGBT community in the UK outside of London.

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    Yes, bigger than Brighton, according to manchester.gov.uk.

    2. Greater Manchester was the birthplace of the Campaign for Homosexual Equality in 1964.

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    The Campaign for Homosexual Equality is one of the oldest gay rights organisations in the UK, and was campaigning for change before Stonewall became influential.

    3. Manchester is home to a completely LGBT-led church.

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    The Metropolitan Church doesn't just accept members of the LGBT community, it fully includes them in every aspect of leadership and ministry.

    4. Manchester city council has done pioneering work for the LGBT community.

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    It was the first council in the UK to provide a civil partnership ceremony service for gay and lesbian couples.

    5. Manchester city council was also very influential in campaigning against Section 28 in the late '80s and early '90s.

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    Section 28 (aka Clause 28) was a controversial 1988 addition to the Local Government Act 1986 that stated that local authorities must not allow the "promotion of homosexuality" or allow the "acceptability of homosexuality" to be taught in schools. It prevented teachers from tackling homophobic bullying and permitted them to openly oppose homosexuality in schools. It also assumed that LGBT people were inherently dangerous to children and implied a link between homosexuality and paedophilia.

    Section 28 was repealed by the Labour government in November 2003.

    6. Manchester Pride is a huge event.

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    Ed Miliband and Ian McKellen attended in 2010, and this year performers included Conchita Wurst, Foxes, Pixie Lott, and Marcus Collins.

    7. The festival includes a "Pride Fringe".

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    The Fringe hosts a series of cultural events all over the city, including art exhibitions, music events, film showings, and poetry readings.

    8. And hosts a candlelit vigil.

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    At the end of the festival, people gather in Sackville Gardens to remember those who have been lost to HIV.

    9. You can take a walking tour of Manchester LGBT heritage by following the rainbow flagstones.

    10. And we have Canal Street.

    Harriet Williamson / Buzzfeed

    Canal Street is Manchester's Gay Village, lined with bars, clubs, and cool places to eat. It has achieved global renown since the 1980s and attracts LGBT tourists from all over the world.

    11. Canal Street has been featured on a number of TV shows.

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    Such as Bob & Rose and Queer as Folk by Russell T. Davies. His upcoming show Cucumber for Channel 4 will also centre around Manchester's Gay Village.

    12. And is home to some of the best murals in Manchester.

    13. In the summer, there's no better place to sit out with a beer.

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    It's always busy, vibrant and welcoming. Try Tribeca, the "New York attic"-style bar that's gay- and straight-friendly, with comfy sofas and a range of cocktails. Taurus is another Canal Street bar and restaurant that deserves a visit, boasting as it does a "cultural basement" where poetry, plays, and music are performed.

    14. Manchester is home to the Lesbian and Gay Foundation (LGF).

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    It's a registered charity that provides support and advice to LGBT people in Greater Manchester. You can volunteer to help the LGF in a number of ways and get involved in community activities, fundraising, and awareness campaigns.

    15. In November, Manchester's Lesbian & Gay Chorus staged a mass singalong on the Metrolink.

    Flickr: mroswaldtwistle / Via gaystarnews.com

    The singalong was in response to a homophobic attack on two men who were singing songs from the musical Wicked. The choir's musical director, Loz Kaye, said:

    “All of Manchester has been horrified by this vicious attack. For us in the chorus it was all the more sad that it was the act of singing that sparked it. But the answer to hate has to be hope, support, and asserting the right to love."

    16. The #SafeToSing event involved 80 singers and volunteers giving out "Cake Not Hate" treats.

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    They sang "Canal Street" to the tune of the Downton Abbey theme.

    17. In 2011, Manchester was named the most gay-friendly city in the world, ahead of London, Amsterdam, and San Francisco.

    Andrew Stokes, chief executive of Marketing Manchester, said:

    "Manchester has always been a tolerant city and this award confirms that. It's great to recognise the sense of community that LGBT people bring to the area and we're proud to say that Manchester is a destination where gay and lesbian tastes are catered for."

    18. Greater Manchester police (GMP) have pledged to have your back.

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    Assistant chief constable Garry Shewan, the GMP’s lead on hate crime, told Buzzfeed Life:

    “The public now has increased confidence in our ability to deal with these offences. We have improved training for officers so they are able to provide better support for victims and risk-assess the potential for repeat victimisation, and our Pride Network has also done a lot of work to raise awareness of homophobic hate crime, particularly during Manchester Pride. In addition, through our Hate Crime Awareness Weeks, we have done a lot of work to inform communities about homophobic hate crime, and how victims can report incidents to police or at third-party reporting centres.

    “Having said that, this type of offence continues to be under-reported, and can have a devastating impact on victims, as well as their families and wider society. Victims may feel they need to change something about themselves, or accept being targeted because of who they are as part of their daily lives, and this cannot be tolerated by society, and will not be by Greater Manchester Police. Support is out there, and we can direct victims to organisations like the Lesbian and Gay Foundation, for example.

    “I would urge people to always come forward by calling police on 101, reporting online at report-it.org.uk, or visiting one of the third party reporting centres listed at gmp.police.uk/hatecrime. People can attend these centres if they would rather not go to a police station, and they will still be dealt with in a professional manner by trained staff.”

    19. Because Manchester welcomes everyone, regardless of gender or sexual orientation.

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