Community Session … Access 4 All … South Korea … Vesta Tilley Postcards


Community Session – Out In The City

About this event

Join us at the fourth of Manchester Pride’s six Community Sessions, where we spotlight grass-roots organisations that support intersectional LGBTQ+ communities.

In this session, you will get to learn about the incredible work of Out in the City! There will be an opportunity to get to know other attendees, and food will be provided.

We hope you can join us in celebrating and learning more about the incredible community groups that make LGBTQ+ life in Manchester so special!

Spaces are limited, so make sure you sign up here to reserve your place. If you are unable to attend, please let us know at so we can offer your space to someone else.

Thank you!

Access 4 All

Access 4 All is an informal and educational evening at HOME MCR, 2 Tony Wilson Place, Manchester M15 4FN to learn more about alternative cervical screening and hear the results of the ACES LGBTQIA+ survey.

The event takes place on Thursday, 16 June from 6.30pm to 9.00pm and includes a performance from HUSK together with complimentary food and drink.

Individuals who identify as LGBTQIA+ have lower cervical screening attendance than people who are non-LGBTQIA+.

The Alternative CErvical Screening (ACES) team at Manchester University have been investigating the accuracy of a urine test as an alternative to the ‘smear’ for screening, in the hope that this could increase screening attendance.

This event is an opportunity to learn more about cervical screening and hear the results of the ACES LGBTQIA+ survey. In a safe and open environment, there will be an informative panel discussion where experts and LGBTQIA+ community members share their experiences, future research directions and implications for screening within the community. Signposting services for further information will also be available on the day.

The event will also celebrate those in the LGBTQIA+ community and their contribution to the project and will feature a special live performance from queer synth-pop performer, HUSK.

What is ACES?

The ACES LGBTQIA+ project explores the LGBTQIA+ community’s opinions of current cervical screening services, barriers to screening and the acceptability of alternative self-screening methods, including urine testing.

Book here

Seoul Queer Culture Festival – Celebrating Korean LGBT+ Pride

South Korea is not traditionally known for its robust LGBT+ community. Its conservative culture and religious right-wing make far more headlines than landmark cases of LGBT+ progress. However, this expectation is slowly but surely shifting as organisations like the Seoul Queer Culture Festival pave the way for queer Korean pride.

For the past decade or so, South Korea has been experiencing a surge in widespread international attention. The rise of K-Pop (Korean pop music) has reached astronomical levels in the last several years, thrusting the nation into the international spotlight. Yet not so strongly highlighted amidst this pop culture intrigue is the fundamentally conservative nature of Korean culture and how that culture impacts marginalised groups in Korea – especially the LGBT+ community.

Though South Korea is notably a far throw from criminalising or otherwise legally prosecuting individuals based on their sexual orientation or gender identity, the nation’s discriminatory bias runs deep. It is especially pervasive in the political sphere. With the recent narrow presidential election of Yoon Sukyeol – a proclaimed “anti-feminist” – from the conservative People Power Party, it is now more important than ever to highlight and learn from the experiences of marginalised people living in South Korea. Working to enhance our awareness and understanding of marginalised communities can be a highly effective way to weed out discriminatory societal trends and pressure local officials to take LGBT+ protections seriously.

However, it is not all doom and gloom for LGBT+ Koreans. According to the 2016 Korean General Social Survey, around 58% of respondents supported anti-discrimination legislation inclusive of sexual orientation, and – according to the Pew Research Center – South Korea experienced a 19-point increase in public acceptance of homosexuality (25% to 44%) from 2002 to 2019. Instrumental to this effort is the work of local activists and their work making the queer community visible to broader society. Various activists, organisations, and events have contributed to this gradual cultural shift, but arguably the most visible and influential is the Seoul Queer Culture Festival (SQCF).

History of the Festival

First hosted in 2000 under the name “Queer Culture Festival – Rainbow 2000”, the SQCF has undergone several iterations, both in title and structure. Despite these shifts, two major staples remain consistent features of the festival: the Korea Queer Film Festival and the Seoul Queer Parade. The former aims to showcase domestic South Korean films that primarily feature LGBT+ stories and characters. The latter is a more social, demonstration event that focuses on displays of pride and queer solidarity.

The SQCF typically consists of two weeks, packed to the brim with LGBT+-themed events and primarily occurring sometime in June – coinciding with many international pride celebrations and the anniversary of the historic Stonewall Riots. Initially, the festival was a two to three-day operation. But, it quickly outgrew its humble roots, expanding its duration to roughly two weeks, shifting its location from local university buildings to various community hubs, and moving the timeframe to June – likely to better align with the international community.

Conservative Pushback and Bureaucratic Setbacks

The festival’s over twenty-year history has not been a smooth ride filled solely with LGBT+ pride and rising societal acceptance. The SQCF made headlines last year as the Seoul Metropolitan Government rejected its application to be recognised as an official non-profit organisation. After holding the application for two years of review, the city cited several incidents of “indecent exposure” by festival participants. The Korea Times article notes that the festival consistently requires a significant police presence. In addition, a host of anti-gay protesters always accompanies the festival, often escalating their protest into physical altercations.

The dynamic between LGBT+ parade goers, anti-gay protesters, and the police was most notably exemplified at the inaugural sister event to the SQCF, the Incheon Queer Culture Festival. In 2018, at the first IQCF, protesters utterly derailed the event. The protests delayed the event’s start – a 20-minute pride parade – by several hours, and once it began, 300 parade goers were physically blockaded by nearly 1,000 anti-gay protesters.  As they were verbally assaulted, the attendees could not leave, eat, or go to the bathroom for five hours. Some further reported being victims of physical assault.

Incheon is the third most populous city in South Korea, just behind Seoul and Busan, and fully shares a metro transit system with Seoul. Seoul and Incheon are large cities that are highly developed with well-functioning municipal government systems. Both have robust police forces that have not adequately deployed to defend SQCF or IQCF attendees from assault. In the case of the 2018 Incheon Queer Culture Festival, police asked the attendees and organisers to end the event early. Unfortunately, they only arrested eight of the 1,000+ anti-gay protesters (without detention) for their behaviour at the event.

While tolerance is ever so slowly building for LGBT+ Koreans amongst the public, the Korean government needs to do more to protect this community now. Radical religious perceptions of the LGBT+ community will not quickly disappear, but that does not obfuscate responsibility from those in charge.

Local and federal levels of the Korean government have a duty to protect their citizens from blatant acts of bigotry, and now is the time to make that clear.

Vesta Tilley

Vesta Tilley was a late 19th Century Drag King. Her performances were always family-friendly, unlike other acts. She had found her niche, performing as a male impersonator and working-class men adored her mockery of the upper classes. From the 1870s onwards, women also went to music halls and they revelled in Tilley’s independence. By 1912, music hall entertainments had become so famous that a Royal Command Performance was organised. Tilley sang a favourite song, “The Piccadilly Johnny with the Little Glass Eye” wearing trousers as part of her act. Queen Mary was scandalised to see a woman’s legs and hid her face behind a programme!

Many postcards were made featuring Vesta Tilley:

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