To celebrate LGBT History Month, MM talk to LGBT figures from across Greater Manchester about their experiences of coming out and what progress they think the city still has to make towards equality.
Yesterday we heard from the ex-Poptastic DJ and all-round Manchester gay icon Danny Beard, who told MM his poignant coming out story and how some wise words from his mum years ago have stuck with him to this day.
Today we speak to 56-year-old Dean Deakin from Bury, pub landlord at The Goose (previously known as Paddy’s Goose) on Bloom Street in the Village.
How old were you when you first realised you were L/G/B or T?
Pretty young, just seven years old.
Could you tell us your ‘coming out’ story?
There was no culture and no support available when I was young. You had to be 21 to come out, and so as a result, I didn’t come out so much as I fall out, but I couldn’t tell my straight friends.
From coming out to now, what are the lessons you have learnt about yourself with regards to you and your sexuality?
The culture is better, things are safer. It’s easier to come out now. You see more young lads holding hands.
What are the biggest challenges still to overcome in the UK for the LGBT community?
Safety in the Village and local areas. When people come into the Village to get a taxi it can create a problem because people have had a drink.
The takeaway food places get dangerous as well when people come in in the early morning who may be homophobic and they’ve had a drink.
And what about the rest of the world?
There’s always homophobia. We’re largely respected everywhere, from the US to Spain, but there’s always a minority of trouble makers.
Is there anything you would you say to your young self or a young LGBT person with the knowledge you have now about coming out?
No, I wouldn’t actually give any advice. Young people know it all because it’s more accepted. They won’t learn until they make their own mistakes.
Social media can help though.
How does being gay impact on your job/career?
When I worked in a straight venue I had to put on a straight image – if I tried to throw someone out and they knew I was gay they would start a fight.
Now I don’t have the same problems running a gay bar.
What are your thoughts on Manchester’s LGBT scene? Is the Village still the heart of it in your mind?
It’s not the heart, there’s less funding coming in now. There were charities in place to provide things promoting safer sex like condoms, but they’ve had no money from the council since the last Mardi Gras.
What makes Manchester a good place to live in for members of the LGBT community?
While the community is close kni and everything’s on your doorstep, the Village is too open and we’re still battling problems with straight people come in who don’t respect the area.
Image courtesy of The Goose, with thanks