1880: The Manchester City Police raid a fancy dress ball which was taking place at the Temperance Hall in Hulme. 47 men were arrested and charged with soliciting and inciting each other to commit “improper actions.”
1900s to 1950s
1940s: The Union pub, now The New Union, plays host to drag shows during World War II. They were popular with American troops stationed nearby.
1952: Alan Turing is prosecuted for being in a relationship with another man. He commits suicide in 1954.
1960s: Manchester’s gay scene is based in an area between Albert Square and Deansgate with pubs such as the Rockingham and Rouge being popular although The Union continues to be frequented by the gay community.
1975: The Manchester Gay Alliance opens the Manchester Gay Switchboard to provide support and information to callers. It originally operated in the basement of the University of Manchester. After receiving a council grant in 1978, the scheme found a new home on Bloom Street. By 1990, the switchboard teamed up with The Lesbian Link Helpline to form the Manchester Lesbian and Gay Switchboard.
1984: Manchester City Council forms the Equal Opportunities Committee. The numerous equality posts created included a Gay Men’s Officer and a Lesbian Officer, first occupied by Paul Fairweather and Maggie Turner respectively.
1985: Manchester Pride is born following a £1,700 grant from the Manchester City council to put on a two-week celebration, complete with a huge banner adorning Oxford Street.
1986: Europe’s first purpose-built Gay Centre built in Manchester when Manchester City Council approved funding of £118,000. The centre, on Sidney Street, is still serving the community today.
1988: A huge anti-Section 28 protest is held in Manchester in which over 20,000 take to the streets to let their disquiet be heard. As a result, the Council produced over 6000 leaflets that set out how they aimed to prevent LGBT staff and service users from receiving unequal treatment.
1989: The Northwest Campaign for Lesbian & Gay Equality organises Manchester's "Celebration of Gay and Lesbian Diversity" Love Rights. It consisted of a music festival at the Free Trade Hall and a political march starting at All Saints Park culminating in a rally with stalls in Albert Square. The main focus of the gay rights movement at the time was opposing Section 28.
1990: Manto opens as the first bar in the area not to be hidden away. Instead the front of the bar featured windows, allowing passers-by to see in. The building was the first in the area to be clad with large plate glass windows.
1991: Village Charity established and commences the festival then known as Manchester Mardi Gras, 'The Festival of Fun' it raised £15,000.
2002: Mardi Gras event almost cancelled following a row between Greater Manchester Police and organisers over drinking bylaws and crowd safety. The event went ahead and attracted 100,000 visitors.
2003: Manchester hosts Europride and for the first time, the entire gay village area is gated off throughout the August bank holiday weekend with an entrance fee charged to get into the event. and at the final closing ceremony, it was announced that the event would now be known as "Manchester Pride"
^Regina v Ian Wilkinson, Peter John Grindley, Colin Laskey, Anthony Joseph Brown, Graham William Cadman, Roland Leonard Jaggard, Saxon Lucas, Donald Peter Anderson (and others) (Central Criminal Court 1990).