Safety Advice when visiting the Village
The Gay Village around Canal Street in Manchester is an area which has been popular with Transgendered people for many years. It has many Bars, Restaurants & Hotels which are, accepting & friendly towards trans-people. Depending on when you visit the Village, the atmosphere can range from quiet and relaxed to busy, exciting & wild. This short guide will hopefully provide some common sense based advice on how to remain safe on your visit.
Everyone, especially trans-people, should have the right to go about their lives free from the fear or threat of violence, aggression and intimidation. There is a lot you can do to improve your chances of staying safe and increase your confidence. By taking the following precautions you will be more in control.
Look Confident. Transgender people often rely upon 'being invisible' to remain safe. However research shows that looking confident is a real deterrent to attackers. Look purposeful, be alert, hold your head up and be aware of your surroundings, even in areas that you know very well. Be confident. You have the right to be safe.
Transgender people sometimes experience harassment in or around the Village. Think about the places in the area where you would be confident of finding people you could ask for help.
Use all your senses, don't limit your ability to see or hear trouble by wearing hoods, listening to music through earphones or talking on your mobile phone.
It is a good idea to have a mobile phone, a phone card, or some spare change with you to enable you to make a phone call.
We all have the right to wear any clothes we wish, but we also need to be aware what effect our choice of clothes may have on others. Think about clothes you can move in easily should you need to get away fast.
Be mindful that alcohol and drugs use will reduce your ability to keep yourself safe.
If you are planning to get a cab, preferably book it before going out. Don't pick up a cab from outside bars and clubs unless you can be sure they are licensed.
Let someone know you're OK
If there is going to be someone at home, why not let them know that you are on your way and what time to expect you?
If you live alone, you could arrange a buddy system with a friend, where you text them to let them know you are home safely. Always phone or text from a safe place and not from the middle of the street.
In your Car
Have your keys ready when you approach your car so that you can enter it quickly and not spend time on fumbling in bags or pockets.
Check through the windows that there is no one already in your car before getting in.
If possible, park your car somewhere where it would make it difficult for anyone to conceal themselves near the entrance to your car.
Remain alert, until you are safely inside you car, and then lock the doors.
Don't offer lifts to any strangers especially people you have just struck up a conversation with in the bar. Note: Females have been known to working in partnership with boyfriends/other men to steal from people.
Around the streets
Think about where the danger spots may be along the routes you regularly follow, and how you could avoid them (e.g. dark alleyways, deserted or poorly lit areas etc)
If you feel at all threatened by someone, take evasive action. Move away, cross the road etc. and move towards somewhere where there are other people.
If someone passes you an adverse comment whilst you are out walking, don't react in any way but keep walking without hesitation or turning your head.
Consider carrying a personal shriek alarm. Carrying an alarm can give you extra confidence and you can use it to shock and disorientate attackers giving you time to get away.
Alternatively carry an umbrella, even in the summer. Even a fold-up umbrella can appear as a deterrent.
If you do have to pass danger spots, think about what you would do if you felt threatened. The best idea is to head for a public place where you know there will be other people.
If you are out in the evening or early morning try and stay with friends or stay near a group of people.
Try to keep both hands free and don't walk with your hands in your pockets. Always take the route you know best and try to use well lit, busy streets. Try to walk in the middle of the pavement. Walking against the direction of oncoming traffic will help you avoid kerb crawlers.
If you think you are being followed, trust your instincts and take action. As confidently as you can, cross the road turning and look to see who is behind you.
If you are still being followed, keep moving. Make for a busy area and tell people what is happening. If necessary, call the police.
If a vehicle pulls up suddenly alongside you, turn and walk in the other direction - you can turn much faster than a car.
In Bars and Restaurants
Beware of the innocent enquiry in the pub, sometimes these conversations soon turn nasty and judgemental. Be prepared to make your excuses and exit at the appropriate point. Your own safety comes before any thoughts of politeness.
Don't accept drinks from complete strangers without you seeing its complete journey from the bar staff to yourself, and never leave your drink unattended.
If you are harassed by anyone report it as soon as possible. If it is from someone in a car, take the registration number. Note the time, place and as much additional information as possible. Report it to the Police or online straight away. The Police and Crown Prosecution Service take hate crime very seriously and the threshold for ensuring a prosecution is very low.
Words taken from the GMP hate crime reporting website:
If you require an immediate response please telephone our switchboard on 0161 872 5050. The switchboard is open 24 hours a day.
In an emergency, please dial 999.
Our minicom number is 0161 872 6633."
The GMP hate crime reporting website is: http://www.gmp.police.uk/mainsite/hatecrime.htm