TLC takes to Manchester Pride!

Our first Manchester Pride was a blast! Here's why it was important for us to attend.

Ryan Drillsma

Our first Manchester Pride was a blast! Here’s why it was important for us to attend.

We want to start out by acknowledging the fact that Pride has its beginnings in protest.

Early Pride-like get togethers happened in Manchester in the mid-80s, during which, people would raise money for organisations supporting people living with HIV-AIDS. Manchester Pride really took off with a 20,000-person demonstration in 1988 against Section 28 — a legislative clause introduced by Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative government that prohibited the “promotion of homosexuality.” Since then, the event has grown to become a celebration of people whose sexual orientations and gender identities don’t conform to what is considered “normal,” as LGBTQIA+ individuals still do face discrimination to this day.

It’s especially important to remember the origins of Pride in 2023, as negative sentiment towards the LGBTQ community is on the rise in Britain. In the year ending March 2022, recorded hate crimes against trans people jumped by 56% over the previous year.

For this reason, we thought it was paramount to show our faces at Manchester Pride this year. Not only do we wish to show the public that we welcome LGBTQIA+ individuals into any of our services, but we want staff to feel reassured that they are loved, accepted, and celebrated for who they are.

We also wanted to celebrate our own achievements in advancing the inclusivity of our services. We recently updated our behaviour change work following consultations with LGBTQ charities and wrote a new programme entirely tailored to people in same-sex or gender-diverse relationships.

Our overall priority as a charity is to ensure everyone we reach benefits from safe, healthy and happy consensual relationships regardless of how they identify. However, our top priority on Saturday was for our staff to have a blast celebrating themselves and their peers for living out loud with pride.

We’ve collected photos from the event, and some of our staff were kind enough to share words on what being at Pride meant to them below. We also want to give a shout out to Churchill Support Services for sponsoring our attendance and fostering an inclusive working environment.


“Representation and the physical act of showing up is a powerful message that shouldn’t be underestimated. Pride not only brought our incredible community of staff together, but it also sent a message that our services are here to support regardless of someone’s gender identity or sexual orientation. I’m so happy that queer young people are seeing this level of support.

Our workplace culture allows me to be my authentic self. I’ve never been made to feel uncomfortable or pressured to express myself in any other way than who I am.”

Brad, CYP Domestic Abuse Service Manager



“It’s important to spread the word that EVERYONE is entitled safe, healthy, happy relationships. Also, as a charity working in the Domestic Abuse sector, where some organisations are still struggling to understand the nature of abuse in LGBTQ relationships, I think it’s important to make that stand politically.

I’m passionate about equality and making safe spaces for people. I’ve been seeing more and more anti-trans sentiment popping up on social media, and being part of the parade gave me the confidence and platform to start conversations about how we can speak out against hate.”

— Vicky, Make a Change Project Manager




“This was the year I chose to bring my 8-year-old daughter to experience Pride for the first time. Since she was able to express opinions about her wants and likes, she has always chosen a so-called ‘male-gendered’ style. She has been taunted for looking ‘like a boy’ and been called ‘gay’. She’s even received comments from strangers when using female public toilets. Bringing her to Pride was about showing and celebrating difference, so she knows she isn’t alone.”

— Lynne, CYP Harm Worker

                                                                                                                                                                     “Pride is such an iconic event here in Manchester and it was so special to be a part of.  It was and is such an incredible celebration of love and inclusion that felt so important to be present at. TLC’s heart is in relationships — supporting people to celebrate and maintain safe, healthy, and happy relationships of all kinds. It felt really important for us to be present and visible standing with our colleagues, friends, and family members within the LGBTQIA+ community. Such an incredible day, I am already looking forward to next year.”

— Anna, Director of Services





“I’ve never been more able to feel myself at work than at TLC. Talk, Listen, Change accepts everyone for who they are, and more than that, celebrates our differences to create a strong bond among staff. It was great to see so many happy couples, parents and their children, and allies from outside the community cheering everyone one and celebrating what makes us human. I hope everyone working with or at our charity knows that they are welcomed, accepted, and appreciated.”

— Ryan (me!), Communications Lead