How Liverpool became the first UK city to recognise its ‘gay quarter’

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4/2/22

Liverpool’s ‘Gay Quarter’ is a prime destination for not only the LGBTQ+ community but for tourists from all over the world and it’s easy to see why. Week in and week out, thousands of people from all over Liverpool and beyond descend on the streets and back alleys in and around Stanley Street in the city centre to drink, dance and party the night away. It has been a safe haven for the LGBTQ+ community, their friends, families and allies for decades now. But how did Liverpool’s iconic gay quarter become the main focal point for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community which it is known as today? Members of Liverpool’s gay community couldn’t always be found being unapologetically themselves along Stanley Street. For a long time, their presence was felt more towards the centre of the city, however, with the building of the new St. John’s Shopping Centre and subsequent demolition of the original Queen Square, it meant the gay community was forced to find a new home elsewhere. With the opening of the gay bar, Paco’s in the 1970’s, alongside The Lisbon’s already established gay following, it wasn’t long before they found a place they could call their second home in Stanley Street. In 2004, Richie Wright, a 41-year-old freelance scene reporter, suggested to the City Council that they make a gay tourism guide, primarily based on the community in found on Stanley Street, in the run up to Liverpool’s European Capital of Culture year. He told the ECHO : “I felt it was important to put the scene on the map and promote it to the wider world. I was regularly out and about and in contact with the venues and there was a feeling in the air that they wanted a more prominent role in Liverpool’s very special year.”

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