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Does Manchester really need LGBT-only housing?

Gay people don't need to be ghettoised. Credit: Getty

January 5, 2024 - 4:00pm

Britain in 2024 is a place and time in which the sexual orientation of the people with whom we share a street should not matter. Yet it seems Manchester City Council and its team of developers disagree. This week it was reported that a specialist “LGBTQ+ Extra Care” housing scheme has been given the go-ahead and is now at the consultation stage. The site is set to comprise 80 homes for people over the age of 55 who identify as LGBTQ+, and 40 affordable apartments for first-time buyers. (One wonders if the young-bodied who identify as over 55 will also be considered.)

Great Places Housing Group (GPHG) pioneered the project with input from Manchester City Council and organisations such as LGBT Foundation. GPHG states that the “aim is to provide an open and inclusive, physical and psychological place of safety for the older LGBTQ+ community”.

Arguably, if there is a risk to what is here clumsily referred to as the “LGBTQ+ community”, it is from projects which promote segregation. Any letting agent, landlord or estate agent who discriminates against a customer on the basis of their identity or sexual orientation might rightly expect to find themselves at the sharp end of a lawsuit. Yet, bizarrely, 13 years after the passing of the Equality Act and at a time when being homophobic carries more stigma than being homosexual, Manchester is not the only council to be considering specialist accommodation. Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has put funding towards a First Brick Housing project to provide “LGBTQ+ housing free from oppression”. 

The idea of what cheekily might be referred to as a “gay ghetto” is based on a paranoid worldview of lurking danger. But the UK is undoubtedly one of the safest places to be “out”. Most people in Britain shrink in horror at the gated communities which are common in other parts of the world, where people lock themselves away from would-be neighbours deemed too poor or too different. Yet while it might not be gated, the idea that specialist housing is needed to keep people safe is divisive and regressive. It can only be justified if one believes minority groups in Britain need protection from a backward and bigoted majority. Thankfully, this is not the case.

There is also a financial incentive to divide populations by their characteristics. For those in the third and public sectors, identifying how many within a particular group tick which boxes can loosen the purse strings of well-meaning donors. Similarly, in encouraging suspicion and fear of the wider world, by pulling minority groups together new markets can be established. Indeed, the diversity and equality industry has been built on these foundations.

Most of the same-sex couples I know don’t want to separate themselves from the wider community. We are not defined by who we love, nor should we be defined by where we live. Manchester City Council’s plan for an LGBTQ+ development can only serve to further fragment communities, by stoking fear, resentment and ignorance.


Josephine Bartosch is a freelance writer and assistant editor at The Critic.

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D Glover
D Glover
6 months ago

If one were over 55 and straight, but wanted to get into this nice new housing, one might claim to be LGBT etc.
Is there any sort of qualifying test or is it self-certification?

John Tyler
John Tyler
6 months ago
Reply to  D Glover

I shudder to think what the test might be! Let’s hope self-id is sufficient.

jane baker
jane baker
6 months ago
Reply to  John Tyler

You gotta earn that reward.

jane baker
jane baker
6 months ago
Reply to  D Glover

Of course you would. Wear a dress,bit of lippy and flirt with the Housing Officer.

D Glover
D Glover
6 months ago
Reply to  jane baker

I was hoping it would just be a written paper on ‘Musicals’ and ‘Interior Decor’.
How about if the Housing Officer only got his job by pretending to be gay? Which one of us would lose his nerve and back off before consumation?

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
6 months ago
Reply to  jane baker

I’ve done worse things for less reward

Derek Bryce
Derek Bryce
6 months ago
Reply to  D Glover

Dye your hair blue and declare yourself trans, non binary or merely ‘queer’ and be heterosexual.

Benedict Waterson
Benedict Waterson
6 months ago
Reply to  D Glover

Officials come round to your house for an interview, at which point you have to camp it up in a pink shirt and adorn your walls with kitch items approved by the LGBTQ+ community

Andrew Buckley
Andrew Buckley
6 months ago

Oh my goodness, where is this all heading?
A generation of various colours, orientations and all that becoming less and less of an issue to the extent that most people don’t even notice (mind you I struggle with a Scottish accent on helplines!) and then some bloody bureaucrats decide they need to bring in idiocy like this.
And like D Glover says; how can this be policed?

jane baker
jane baker
6 months ago
Reply to  Andrew Buckley

How do you “prove” it especially as you might well have been married 40 years have five bewildered adult kids and found out you were gay after the death of your wife or a divorce.

Martin Smith
Martin Smith
6 months ago
Reply to  jane baker

Indeed. Look at that TV guy, Scofield, who I always thought was ‘gay’ anyway, but he was married for 27 years fathering two children then one day he’s like announcing on TV ‘I’m gay’. Was he always ‘gay’ pretending to be ‘straight’ all that time or did he somehow become ‘gay’ later? I’ve known people who were ‘gay’ at first and then entered into ‘straight’ relationships, settled down and had children never to ‘gay’ again. Did they become ‘straight’ or were they always ‘straight’ pretending to be ‘gay’? When they began ‘straight’ relationships could they be considered as having ‘come out as straight’? It’s all very odd. I think ‘gayness’ and ‘straightness’ are just two types of ‘sexy’ which is a thing we nearly all are. There’s no necessary absolute, no ‘gay’ gene, it’s just a preference which can, but not of necessity, change over time, or we can just enjoy a bit of both. We make too much fuss about it.

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
6 months ago
Reply to  Martin Smith

Yes, it’s become all so boring.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
6 months ago

It’s amusing how if one waits long enough, what was once out manages to be in again. Like segregation. Or race-based discrimination, though in this case, it is accompanied by prettier language such as affirmative action or DEI to hide the ugly reality.
One question in all this: given how the Ts keep fighting to redefine the term ‘woman,’ isn’t it a bit self-defeating to put them and the Ls in the same bucket? Then again, the alphabet has expanded to include the Gs and As, perhaps because two more opposite groups couldn’t be found.

jane baker
jane baker
6 months ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

I find it a bit insulting when Women are included with Disabled and Black/Ethnic like simply having a vagina marks you as a second class member of society. Of course Trans don’t have vaginas so they avoid this pitfall.

Avro Lanc
Avro Lanc
6 months ago

State that you identify as ‘homeless’ and that should slide you in nicely under the ‘+’ category of the alphabet botherers. Getting you a nice shiny new house. You’re welcome.

jane baker
jane baker
6 months ago
Reply to  Avro Lanc

Lots of those migrants are gay,wait until they move the wife and eight kids in

0 0
0 0
6 months ago
Reply to  jane baker

This is horribly racist and objectionable.

Ian L
Ian L
6 months ago
Reply to  0 0

Surely you don’t believe that. There’s no mention of race whatsoever.

John Tyler
John Tyler
6 months ago

I suppose anyone can identify as + ?

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
6 months ago
Reply to  John Tyler

Indeed, and as a plus one, i get invited to lots of parties.

jane baker
jane baker
6 months ago
Reply to  John Tyler

Just invent a new category. I could tick Asexual on some forms but I don’t as its not true. No one is devoid of sexuality. I usually put “Ugly as f**k’ or “She’ll never need to Know” I don’t know how that will look in 100 years time.

Charles Levett-Scrivener
Charles Levett-Scrivener
6 months ago

Possibly to be sited in marginal constituencies in the hope of bulking up the Labour vote?

Mrs R
Mrs R
6 months ago

Divide and rule.

Jonathan Smith
Jonathan Smith
6 months ago

I worked in young people’s housing projects 30 years ago. Even back then some claimed to be LGB or questioning their sexuality to gain priority on waiting lists.

Jacqueline Walker
Jacqueline Walker
6 months ago

What about if you’re over 55 and identify as 27?

miss pink
miss pink
6 months ago

Or 27 and identify as 55?

jane baker
jane baker
6 months ago

OMG,so where are people who can’t get laid going to live then,ha ha ha. What if youre as Joan Rivers said of Sex Education…. she’ll never need to know…what is it going to be No f**k No Flat in future ha ha ha.

Steven Carr
Steven Carr
6 months ago

With my current financial situation, I could end up in Queer Street.

Derek Bryce
Derek Bryce
6 months ago

I’m in my 50s and have been living my gay ol’ life openly openly for over thirty years. During that time, with the exception of being the target of one brutal ‘queer bashing’ in the mid 90s, I’m pleased to say that otherwise I’ve lived alongside and worked with straight people in an entirely unremarkable way with neither my sexuality nor theirs being an issue. The real danger to social integration and good neighbourliness are do-gooding woke so-called progressives like MCC who positively fetishise the bad old days and imagine the kind of discrimination that people of my generation and earlier overcame years ago. I certainly don’t want to go back there. Let’s not let them win.

Martin Smith
Martin Smith
6 months ago
Reply to  Derek Bryce

Yes, unlike sex which apart from inter-sex people is binary, sexual inclination is indeed on a spectrum: some people are drawn exclusively to the opposite sex, others exclusively to the same sex and everyone else in varying proportions and degrees to both. That really should be the end of it, and was briefly in the late 1990s, but somehow, as with race, what looked like a growing consensus of tolerance and benign indifference to the issue, has exploded into a kind of civil war. The contentiousness seems to have come about, at least in part, with the appending of T to the LGB. But what, in the end, does T have to do with LGB? Isn’t it an anathema to L to have to confront the suggestion that a T, in particular a T with a p**** could conceivably be a lesbian?

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
6 months ago
Reply to  Martin Smith

All intersex people are either male or female. Most of the time it is obvious. The extremely rare (of the already rare .018% intersex people) cases can be less obvious—having both testes and ovaries—but at a chromosomal level they are male or female.

S Wilkinson
S Wilkinson
6 months ago
Reply to  Martin Smith

‘Intersex’ is an outdated and inaccurate label which has been replaced by DSDs (Disorders of Sexual Development). It has reappeared recently because the trans lobby wants to use these people to prove that sex is ‘on a spectrum’.
It isn’t. People with DSDs are as binary as everyone else; they are all EITHER male OR female – there is no third sex and there is no such thing as human hermaphroditism. Even the conditions fall into the binary, according to which sex they affect.
You’re absolutely right that this is all about the T – they hide behind not just people with DSDs but all LGB as well.

Martin Smith
Martin Smith
6 months ago
Reply to  S Wilkinson

I didn’t know that. So Caster Semenya is a man then, even though he has female genitalia?

fel rembrandt
fel rembrandt
6 months ago
Reply to  Martin Smith

Yes, and he has fathered children. People like him are actively recruited for certain sports in complete disregard for the women who trail behind them to the finish line.

El Uro
El Uro
6 months ago

It seems to me that there is no malicious intent in this initiative, there is no desire to introduce segregation and other nasty things that leftists are so creative to invent. It is much more likely that the authors are more concerned about creating new jobs on the Manchester City Council. It’s always nice to take care of society at society expense.

0 0
0 0
6 months ago

Probably some sleazy realtors are pushing this stuff, its just an excuse to get money out of the taxpayers.

0 0
0 0
6 months ago

I loved Manchester and particularly its wide diversity when I came here many decades ago. But the loss of skyline to glass towers and ideas like this tell me it is not the city it was. We do not need ghettos.
What about poor families struggling in terrible standard private rented accommodation?
Gay communities usually have more money.
This is just stupid and so right on is unpleasant.

Graeme Kemp
Graeme Kemp
6 months ago

Is it April 1st ?!

Tyler Durden
Tyler Durden
6 months ago

This is now the dominant culture of the Left – and by extension, their separatist identity politics as a whole. They wouldn’t survive without it; everyone would merely resort to being a conventional neoliberal propping up 21st century Washington neoconservatism, much as the Left does today.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
6 months ago

Does Manchester really need LGBT-only housing?
Well at least it would isolate them

j watson
j watson
6 months ago

Progress – 40 years ago most of the Right would have delighted in LGBT being housed in some separate Quarter. Now they’re complaining about it!
Next up – your area is declared LGBT and you best pass the test or start packing up.

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
6 months ago
Reply to  j watson

There’s no left or right, just up and down.

Arkadian Arkadian
Arkadian Arkadian
6 months ago

“…homes for people over the age of 55 who *identify* as LGBTQ+”

That could be literally (not metaphorically) anyone under the sun.

Gerald Arcuri
Gerald Arcuri
6 months ago

More idiocy – segregation in the name of diversity, equity and inclusion. How quaint.

Dylan Blackhurst
Dylan Blackhurst
6 months ago

‘Gay Ghettos’. Good grief who came up with that idea.

Where will this madness end?

I had heard that Mr Kahn wanted to trial this, I would expect nothing less from the divisive little twerp. But Manchester wants to do this too!

Surely by creating separate enclaves we make it easier for the less enlightened elements of our societies to target the LGBTQ+ community.

Andrew Thompson
Andrew Thompson
6 months ago

Just what we need: More polarisation. ‘Ghettos for the gays’ hope there’s lots of dark alleys. Where does one apply, asking for a friend?

Andrew H
Andrew H
6 months ago

Spot on in every respect. What next? Pro-BLM muncipal apartheid? Yet more proof that the identitarian, wokeist agenda is all about dividing people into ever more atomised interest groups.

Dengie Dave
Dengie Dave
6 months ago

f