Over the last few days, you may have seen a story about a man being ejected by police from Manchester Pride.
The story went viral and lost its basis in reality along the way. As a trans woman online within social media in Manchester, I saw the seeds of this moment being sewn for quite some time.
The first version of Manchester Pride, then known as Mardi Gras was held in 1985 and has grown steadily in popularity ever since and provided great enjoyment and sought to include all peoples and endeavoured to represent everyone from the LGBTQ+ communities.
My first Manc Pride was in 1998, and even then it seemed like quite a sedate affair compared to the party monster it has become.
Running up to Pride this year, perhaps spurred on by a need for change post-pandemic there has been a momentum growing for change regarding who facilitates Pride and its cash flow.
It had become increasingly alienating for marginalised members of the community it was set up to serve. Maybe, just maybe, not everyone wants Pride to be sponsored by Coke or Virgin Atlantic or have to pay nearly 100 bricks to listen to Emeli Sandé in a tent full of straights.
I don't even mind Emeli Sandé, but it would be nice if more of that ticket money went to local charities or they supported some of the broke performers trying to get on the ladder.
Maybe just maybe.
Joking aside, for a long time, grassroots organisations and club promoters were ignored by organisers who, in light of increasing popularity, decided to literally ringfence Pride behind metal gates so there was no access to regular Canal Street bars for local regulars.
Some understanding was reached from the point of view of security and sheer volumes of people, but it was becoming an uncontrollable monster of its own making. In light of all this, a social media campaign group called Reclaim Pride, which was active on the fringes, has become increasingly prominent.
Within the Facebook and Twitter accounts the Manchester representation of this group, a few splintered political factions started to air their views. One such view was a separatist idea that the T.Q or I in LGBTQI should not be valid.
It seemed to stem from a very well funded and digitally proliferated right-wing conservative notions of trans or nonbinary people being a 'fetish' and, by the same token having no validity in the political struggles of gay or lesbian people.
A lot of their rhetoric is recycled from previous eras. It's easy to spot and call out, but unfortunately, it is shared unchecked on social media.
It was within the posts of Reclaim Pride where l first saw the comments of the man (name deleted) ejected by police from Manchester Pride. It was clear to all that this person might not be in line with others.
There was evident anger and lack of cognition within his words. Most people promptly blocked him then the admins decided to have him banned from contributing to the group. Perhaps to save him the ongoing problems he was causing himself, as well as give some protection to people who might encounter him.
Fast forward to Saturday 28th August.
Reclaim Pride are peacefully marching down Whitworth Street to make their voices heard about the problems the gay community want to express about inclusion and guess who turns up?
Our very own RP group agitator who is already known to be a trouble-maker.
Wearing an LGB Alliance hat and T shirt it is obvious to anyone what this represents and Manchester people are having none of it.
What happened next was retold in as many ways as there are opinions on the internet. But the simple facts of the matter are - a known threat was sent packing, and the police acted in the correct way and ejected it. I was so proud that day of everyone who stood up to this anti-trans nonsense, and I have a lot more respect for the police now for recognising the wishes of the protesters. It was a small victory for inclusion, and if Pride is a protest, this is our song.
It is a straightforward story, but like all stories that stem from the street, they are distorted to fit various narratives, even ones that make this man a hero.
Ironically it is the right-leaning media such as GB News who have jumped on him. They need him for their false narrative of him as the victim.
Are these people comedians or hacks?
It's hard to tell.
I did worry about the protest guy in the sense that he has had his mind polluted by an online cult, as l see it.
They have their own codified language and repeat the same phraseology over and over. You might have heard a few of them if you spend enough time online. But he is not being harmed by the LGBT+ community. He's being harmed by those who justify his narrow view of the world.
The people who validate and give oxygen to his views are the real bigots.
This is just one sad guy with misguided perceptions and a T-shirt from the gift shop of fascists.
I have no hate for him.
It's the media who amplify him I'm coming for.
Authored by Freda Wallace @Freda_Needles