‘Equal­ity char­ter is a state­ment’

Manch­ester Pride widens its brief to fight all forms of dis­crim­i­na­tion in city

Glossop Advertiser - - News - Daisy Jack­son

WHILE pre­dom­i­nantly known and recog­nised for their work within the LGBT+ com­mu­nity, Manch­ester Pride are spread­ing their wings.

They have re­cently cre­ated a char­ter – the first of its kind – with a vi­sion to tackle dis­crim­i­na­tion in all its guises.

The equal­ity and in­clu­sion char­ter, which takes the form of a web­site, will sup­port LGBT+ equal­ity while also pro­mot­ing equal­ity for other char­ac­ter­is­tics – in­clud­ing race, re­li­gion and gen­der iden­tity.

Dur­ing the Big Week­end in 2016, Mark Fletcher – CEO of the char­ity – ex­pe­ri­enced racial dis­crim­i­na­tion first-hand, and the cogs started turn­ing.

Real­is­ing that igno- rance could rear its ugly head even within the ac­cept­ing and joy­ful at­mos­phere of the city’s an­nual LGBT+ cel­e­bra­tions, Mark got think­ing about how to ed­u­cate peo­ple.

The Manch­ester Pride equal­ity and in­clu­sion char­ter was the re­sult – a rev­o­lu­tion­ary set of guide­lines and best prac­tices for busi­nesses across Greater Manch­ester to fol­low.

Mark said: “Within five years I’d like 60-70 per cent of all or­gan­i­sa­tions in Greater Manch­ester to have pledged to this, or to have taken ac­tion to­wards it.

“Why would you not want to be part of an ini­tia­tive that’s go­ing to make our city even bet­ter?”

Mark’s vi­sion orig­i­nally started small, hop­ing to make Manch­ester Pride’s Big Week­end a safe fes­ti­val for all peo­ple of all back­grounds.

“We are fight­ing against dis­crim­i­na­tion amongst our­selves here, as well as ask­ing ev­ery­body glob­ally to sup­port the ad­vance­ment of LGBT+ equal­ity.

“There are so many forms of dis­crim­i­na­tion that ex­ist within LGBT+ spa­ces, around the city and around the re­gion.

“It had be­come clear that we couldn’t tol­er­ate this at our events.

“We out­lined a plan for how we would tackle that at our own events and now we’re ex­pand­ing it across the re­gion.”

The char­ter web­site will fea­ture dif­fer­ent lev­els that a busi­ness can put into prac­tice and work to­wards, whether they’re a small busi­ness or a cor­po­rate gi­ant.

“The char­ter is a state­ment to say: ‘This city will not tol­er­ate this’,” Mark said. “We’re ask­ing all our part­ners and sup­pli­ers to pledge to this char­ter, to make sure they know what ac­tions to take if they should ever recog­nise any form of dis­crim­i­na­tion, how to call it out and how to make sure that the per­son at the re­ceiv­ing end of that dis­crim­i­na­tion feels safe. I’d like for the char­ter not to be needed. We just want to make Manch­ester the most wel­com­ing city in the world,” added Mark. ●●

Mark Fletcher, Manch­ester Pride chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer

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