Friday, 21 September 2007

Gay Village for Middlesbrough

Middlesbrough recently celebrated its first gay pride events (some pics at: ) but today PinkNews reports that the mayor of Middlesbrough wants to go further and at a recent Council Executive suggested (or so it reported) that he wanted to see a gay village. This raises the question about apartheid once again that perpetually haunts these ideas. Is it better to be "integrated" etc etc. My own view has fluctuated over the years. As a teen coming out, having an 'exclusive' gay space (and some of the gay bars in Sheffield were so dire in the late 1990s that you wouldn't really choose to be Attercliffe at 1am in the morning) was important in allowing me and so many others I knew to experiment and explore their sexuality. I think it remains important today. that said, the social stigma of being "gay" has changed dramatically in the decade that followed and it could be argued that the need for such "safe" space is less than it was. Nonetheless, particularly in northern and working class communities there remains a lot of prejudice that necessitates the need for "safe space".

These venues are also an important part of expressing identity. I am struck by the clear and distinct identity that is presented in the gay bars of cities like Berlin but which has lost out to greater commercialisation in cities like Manchester. At the moment I think there is a need for these spaces, and personally I prefer a village environment rather than the transient one night a week affair you get in smaller cities and towns but these spaces need to be clear about their identity and celebrate diversity.

Whatever form such space takes, I and many others will no doubt praise the Middlesbrough mayor for asking the question: "What are we going to do to cater for the gay community?".

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Anonymous said...

I think Ray Mallon has introduced a great policy for Middlesbrough as a town. Since being elected as mayor, Mallon has decreased the level of crime in the town itself. A policy which everyone may know him for is the zero tolerance issue he introduced. This policy was successful, reducing crime by a significant amount.
Now, he has introduced to make Middlesbrough to have a gay scene like Manchester and Sheffield. Despite perceptions about what he is like, e.g. the alleged corruption in the police force when he was superintendent, he has reacted in a great manner by making Middlesbrough a more safer and enjoyable place to live.

Anonymous said...

crime fighure are made up you fool,hangon do you figure crime has realy gone up because of robo copt or are you all realy that niaive

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