‘Equality charter is a statement’
Manchester Pride widens its brief to fight all forms of discrimination in city
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