Manchester LGBT charity celebrates 20 years since repeal of controversial Section 28 law

The Manchester-based LGBT Foundation is celebrating 20 years since the repeal of the limiting law known as ‘Section 28’. 

Section 28 was a Conservative law passed in 1988, which stopped councils and schools from promoting acceptability of homosexuality. After mass protests and significant campaigning by Manchester City Council, the law was repealed in 2003. 

Head of communications at the LGBT Foundation, Matthew Belfield, said: “It’s a real amazing moment for us for us to reflect on that and how far we have come and celebrate our unique and wonderful environment and culture. 

“Throughout the month of February, we celebrate LGBTQ+ history month and we have a range of activities that celebrate who we are.”

This year’s theme of LGBT history month is ‘Behind the Lens’ which is showcasing LGBT+ people’s creative contributions to media. 

Matthew said: “It’s a real celebration of the unsung heroes that are behind popular media, that work behind the camera to make our popular culture really shine and represent our community in the best way possible.”

The LGBT Foundation is a national charity which offers advice and support to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender groups and strives to promote equality and assist communities in being able to reach their full potential. 

LGBT Foundation Office- Image by Natasha Judge

They provide services based on evidence-based needs and these aim to increase skills, self-confidence and maintain health and wellbeing of individuals – whilst also building strong LGBT communities around Manchester.  

Manchester has a rich history of community and grassroot activism and was the birthplace of the Homosexual Equality campaign in 1964.  

Significantly, the foundation was formed in 1975 as it began as a Manchester Lesbian and Gay Switchboard service (MLGSS) following the decriminalisation of homosexuality in 1967.  

The MLGSS started by six gay men providing information and support service for the growing number of people who started to come out. Even today, the helpline remains a vital service carried out by the foundation. 

The city is known for the Gay Village located around Canal Street and is the venue for many festivals including Pride

Canal Street- Image by Natasha Judge

The LGBT foundation is hosting a month-long schedule of different events ranging from a Bi Film Festival to socialising and talks, as well as their usual events throughout the year including group walks, support groups and recovery programmes.  

For further information about the LGBT Foundation, visit their website or call 03453303030.

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