Charity opens its doors to an innovative project that aims to bring real change to its LGBT+ communities.

Manchester Pride, which campaigns, fundraises and curates events, is looking to the businesses and organisations of Greater Manchester to stand up and be counted as it invites them to sign a pledge to commit to promoting equality and inclusion for all LGBT+ people in the region.

It asks them to tackle all forms of discrimination and inequality faced by LGBT+ people to create a safe environment for all people to thrive within.

This will take the form of a charter, which the organisation will ask all partners, suppliers and grant recipients involved with Manchester Pride to sign.  But the charity has aspirations to take the initiative to the wider community of companies and organisations across the region, inviting them to show their commitment to this vital issue.

The charter will also ask organisations to recognise that there is diversity amongst LGBT+ people. There is no “one size fits all” strategy, and many differences in needs, aspirations and experiences of LGBT+ life.

The region must recognise that some LGBT+ people face discrimination and inequality based on a person’s characteristics, such as race, religion or disability, in addition to their sexual orientation and or gender identity.

This initiative is born out of the personal experiences of the team behind Manchester Pride. For those affected by inequality in their day-to-day lives, the charity is inviting the city’s people to join them in a consultation to interrogate what the team commissioned to draw up the charter has come up with so far.

This Inclusion Equality Charter is a first of its kind and will be finalised with a collaborative approach following discussion of the initial white paper, which they hope to refine by working hand in hand with the region’s LGBT+ people before the publication of the final document later this year.

“Businesses and organisations within the region control have such a strong influence over day to day life for everyone, be they LGBT+ or otherwise,” explained Mark Fletcher, chief executive for Manchester Pride.

“From workplaces to public spaces such as theatres, bars or retail outlets, they set the tone for how people are valued and create touch points between people and communities. We feel that they must take responsibility for interacting with these spaces and the people within them.

“Setting examples, educating through training and policy and committing to take action against anything seen as hate or discrimination.”

With the first public consultation already taking place, there will continue to be a series of interactive events as the Charter will be based on a set of principles, values and commitments and requires all those who sign-up for it to take action to meet the Charter Standards.

Manchester Pride will review its activities to ensure that everything it does implements this Charter. Plus, it will actively engage with public services and voluntary and community organisations providing services to LGBT+ people in Greater Manchester to adopt this Charter.

“A tremendous amount of work has already gone into the development of the charter to create what we hope will be a trailblazing initiative that will not only help us bring workplace policy in line with what ought to be the norm in 2018 but also shine a light on some of the brilliant practises that are employed within businesses across our region.

“We, and many other organisations, have already done so much work to ensure that LGBT+ people feel comfortable and supportive in all elements of their lives, but we are still shocked on too many occasions by the prejudice and lack of education out there.

I have experienced both homophobia and racism at the hands of people representing organisations whilst out and about in Manchester. I found it shocking that we still have a long way to go to reach true equality in such a safe and accepting city.

“However, Manchester has always been a leader regarding LGBT+ history and rights, and we know the hope that the city will show its commitment to making real change in the name of equality and sign our charter with pride.”