Manchester Pride – The Truth About Where Your Wristband Money Really Went…

August 22, 2008

The shocking truth is that LESS THAN 0.8% of the total £803,000 Manchester Pride generated in 2007 went to the LGBT community groups that the public have been mislead into believing is the main reason for it’s existence.

After Manchester Pride 2007, the organisers claimed out of the £803,000 income in 2007, £95,000 apparently went to good causes. THE TRUTH is over £70,000 of that went to either the LGF or GHT despite both charities being two of the biggest and already well funded. This leaves less than £25,000 for LGBT groups other than the LGF and GHT… but that’s not quite true either!

Considering the maximum grant groups could apply for was £1,500 the sums do add up when you see the published list of 17 groups shared around £1,470 each. HOWEVER many of these groups are actually LGF CORE SERVICES you no doubt will have heard of. THIS IS FRAUD. They are denying other groups and organisations access to funding YOU have been kind enough to pay for. They are undoubtedly STEALING from the LGBT COMMUNITY plus anyone who has gone to the trouble of purchasing a Big Weekend Wristband, and leaving other worthwhile causes with an insulting 6% (less than 0.8% of Pride’s overall income) of what’s actually left once they’ve taken their cut.

This “Ghost Ship” of “Good Causes” listed as “Our Groups and Services” on the LGF website and in the majority of their corporate literature or are in actual fact run by or at least in very close partnership with the Lesbian and Gay Foundation (LGF) Icebreakers, 40+ Men’s Group, Gay Married Men’s Group, Stepping Stones, Black LGBT Group, Northern Wave, Rainbow Families, Carousel, Keshet, Pride Sports and “The Art Class”. Literature outlining the LGF’s core services states “The LGF provides and develops services and activities which work towards improvements in health and quality of life for lesbians, gay men, bisexuals and transgendered people. Our group work -Stepping Stones and Icebreakers (coming out groups for women and men respectively); Married Men’s Group, for men who are or have been in heterosexual relationships and feel attracted to other men; the 40+ Gay Men’s Group; Carousel, a black LGBT group.” If these groups and services the LGF obviously do run, and have run for many years don’t cover the above remit what part of it’s work does? Further to that, few, if any of these groups, either by name or direct involvement proactively include the Transgendered community. Despite this claim, the LGF’s own literature including it’s monthly publication “OutNorthWest” is regularly inconsistent in their use of the term “Transgender” – or lack of it.

Age Concern and Queer Up North also received an as yet undisclosed sum of funding from the pride bucket in 2007. These two organisations are very well funded and already have many existing sources of income. It’s is a positive step to see Age Concern are at last making a concious attempt to support some of society’s most isolated and at risks groups of people, so why does their work around older LGBT’s have to rely on applying for relatively tiny pots of funding from Manchester Pride to sustain this important area of their work? What fraction of Age Concern’s £14 Million annual turnover goes towards running services for older LGBT people?

Queer Up North is run by the North West Tourist board and Manchester City Council. It just received a grant (most was to pay it’s director and support staff) of over £100,000 this year – which dwarfs the combined incomes of pretty much all the other groups funded by Manchester Pride (other than the LGF and GHT) listed above. Youth Groups promised they would benefit from events and activities run by Queer Up North and their new found £100k+ arts funding have failed to be contacted by the organisation. Local artists who should have been supported by Queer Up North have been snubbed by Queer Up North in favour of paying for performers from all over the world to fly in to Manchester.

“Women’s Space” is listed as a being a part of Manchester Pride’s Big Weekend within the ticketed gay village compound. It aims to provide “a day of events to amuse, inform and entertain. There will be a wide range of entertainment to reflect the diversity of the lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered women’s communities including bands, cabaret acts, dance, performance, poets, book readings, DJs and comediennes” and runs on Sunday between midday til 11pm. Members of the Lesbian Community Project fought for many years for Women’s Space to become a reality and it is a testament to their determination and perseverance that it still takes place each year.

Considering the mammoth budget provided for the “Big Weekend” to take place and the entry fee of over £20 (not including the extra booking fee) festival-goers are asked to pay to get in to the gay village to enter Women’s Space in the first place the question should be, why isn’t funding set aside for Women’s Space just like all the over Big Weekend events? Why does Women’s Space have to apply each year in this manner so they can have the privilege of running their own event that charges people to enter but then. Women’s Space should automatically be funded fully by the Manchester Pride piggy-bank. It is not.

The only other local LGBT groups that got any funding from Manchester Pride 2007 (and there are many more who remain unfunded as far as we know) were four relatively small, independent, self-governing groups without a direct connection to the Lesbian and Gay Foundation, who are the most genuine and needy of all the groups funded by Manchester Pride. These four groups were Biphoria, Manchester Parents Group, Lesbian Community Project, Young Women’s Peer Health Project (LIK:T). It’s also startling to know these groups have been charged to run stalls in the Lifestyle Expo which used to be free of charge to small groups. Groups not listed have been turned away yet again this year.

How has a situation occurred whereby the LGF are allowed to apply for MULTIPLE sums of Manchester Pride’s funding under different names whilst other legitimate local groups and organisations are only permitted to apply once? Many of these smaller groups face the constant treat of closure, have few if any actual paid staff but still engage with as many people if not more than the LGF do?

JUST WHO THE HELL DO THEY THINK THEY ARE?

Taken from Gay Mafia Watch – Blowing the Whistle on corporate exploitation of the LGBT Community in Britain today. https://gaymafiawatch.wordpress.com


Who’s the Bully?… Stonewall

April 12, 2008

Since GayMafiaWatch came out on to the scene nearly a year ago we have been appealing to the community to share their concerns in regards to the way the pink pound changes hands. We were astounded by the number of emails regarding the conduct of Stonewall – the gay rights lobby group on a number of issues, this expose on the organisation’s ‘Bullying Tactics’ is the first of several articles focusing on Stonewall.

It makes sense to begin with the argument from one of Stonewall’s most vocal and famous critics, gay rights activist and founder of OutRage! Peter Tatchell  who has attempted to decode Stonewall’s tactics. “Stonewall styles itself as “the” lesbian and gay lobbying group – not “a” lesbian and gay lobbying group but “the” lesbian and gay lobbying group. That smacks of arrogance and empire building. It has more than a whiff of an attempt to monopolise the whole agenda and every gain for themselves.”

“Although we have different tactics and aims to Stonewall, OutRage! has always tried to work with them and sought to acknowledge their role and contribution. That generosity has often not been reciprocated. Stonewall frequently comes across as attempting to claim the credit for everything that’s ever been achieved by the gay community. They tend not to acknowledge other groups. It is not just OutRage! that gets ignored. The contribution of the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement, GALOP, Lesbian & Gay Employment Rights and many other organisations are never acknowledged.”

This stern accusation is echoed by members of the Education for All Coalition, a network of organisations formed in 2004 to develop and implement a Great Britain-wide action plan to address Homophobic Bullying. You can see a full list of apparent members on the Education for All website . But don’t expect to find much more than that. You’d expect to after noticing on the donations page a very far out estimation that the website costs them £500 just to keep running for a MONTH. Since it was launched (as a sub domain of Stonewall’s main site, it hasn’t even got a dedicated web address) there is yet to be any information regarding the next coalition meeting – the only direct way anyone outside the Stonewall office can play an active part in the decision making process. Tatchell puts this down to Stonewall being “a self-selected organisation that no ordinary lesbian or gay person can join”. Attempts to gain any details by listed coalition members have been falling on deaf ears, yet Stonewall continues to plead for funds in the public arena and boast in their press releases about the figure raised.

One thing you do notice on the Education for All website is the prominence of the ‘Donate’ button on every page. A quick tap of the mouse whisks you to an external site, where you are told “Thank you for choosing to make a donation to Stonewall Ltd.” Hold on a moment…

Surely this vast ‘coalition’ of many diverse groups must have mutually agreed that Stonewall will be the sole benefactor in fundraising for Homophobic Bullying in their name. Not true. Infact many of these groups and organisations have not received a single penny from Stonewall, despite a suggestion the begging bowl is for a greater cause than the same old one Stonewall have been stumbling about collecting small change with since 1989. Some of these organisations have since folded entirely, despite being at the forefront of delivering groundbreaking work to beat Homophobic Bullying. The Young People’s Peer Support Project in Manchester was one such project. Rachel, a former volunteer at the Peer Support Project for over 7 years emailed GayMafiaWatch after our recent appeal for information. “I took part in a Stonewall Equality Walk to raise money for Education for All, I was proud to support the campaigning work of Stonewall and had collected many sponsors which I thought at the time would go to support Homophobic Bullying initiatives like the one I was part of back home in Manchester. I was utterly sickened when I found out a few months later that the project had closed down as it could not get basic core funding to survive, I thought we joined Education for All so we wouldn’t have to watch our work go down the pan and other people come in and take the credit”.

One former board member of the Consortium of LGBT Organisations spoke to GayMafiaWatch but did not want to be named. “This kind of domination by groups like Stonewall is part of the reason the Consortium was established” There are many small projects going on all over the country that are working on eradicating bullying but don’t have the same big budget  to work with that Stonewall has, to make things worse Stonewall is now claiming to be the champion in this field and it’s not on.” He continued, “Stonewall  is acting parasitically, a leech on the face of the gay community and the unsung, and often unfunded groups of people who work just as hard as Stonewall but receive considerably less recognition.”

As a result of Stonewall’s 2008 Equality Dinner at the luxurious Dorchester Hotel in Central London (where the cheapest single room costs £395 per night!) sponsored by international financial giant UBS for the third year running, 500 exclusive guests gathered including former Prime Mister Tony Blair, Gandalf – Sir Ian McKellen, Brian Paddick and Jamie Oliver, and over £300,000 was raised. A Statement from Stonewall followed; “All funds raised will go towards Stonewall campaigns such as Education for All, tackling homophobic bullying from Britain’s schools.”. Something Stonewall has repeatibly claimed since 2004, and something which is not much more than a lie. This money does not filter down to work going on in schools, or at the least Stonewall continue to provide vague snippets of information on how this money is spent.

Even if Stonewall miraculously succeeds in convincing the gay community that the money it continues to raise on behalf of leading a united front against homophobic bullying in schools it cannot deny the sheer waste of investment by companies such as UBS by sponsoring it’s lavish events that it insists on holding. Imagine how many more small groups and organisations could continue their work all over the country, not just in London and actually based in schools with real young people on a daily basis if those funds were diverted to them instead.

Now who’s the bully in the classroom?