Russian newspaper attacks 'gay-friendly' Manchester

A mural from Manchester's Gay Village
Image caption Alisa Titko criticised this mural from Manchester's Gay Village

Russia's best-selling newspaper has called Manchester a city of "fat women" and "debauchery".

The article in Komsomolskaya Pravda criticised the city's gay district, saying it's "disgusting" people of the same sex openly kiss and hold hands.

Columnist Alisa Titko told readers it was "such a pleasure there are no such gay streets in Moscow".

She said it shows people are wrong to say Russia should be "more tolerant" about "non-traditional" sexuality.

"In Manchester there is a whole part of the city for gay people," she said. "There is even a place there saying Gay Village.

"In the evenings gays and lesbians are having fun not only inside but also outside and they do not hide their feelings."

A mural from Manchester's Gay Village

She urged readers to "remain Russian", saying: "Let's start normal families. Let's give birth in legal marriages. And don't let's mix love and debauchery."

She added the rising number of people "with non-traditional sexual orientation" in Russia was because "their mothers did not beat them enough when they were kids".

It comes days after Germany's leader Angela Merkel again put pressure on Russia's president to help protect gay rights.

Alisa Titko also claimed it was no surprise Manchester's men "become gay", because the city's women "are fat, not sexy" and "simply disgusting to men".

She wrote: "The fat hangs from the stomach, sides, and doesn't fit in their jeans. In clubs, they still pull on tight leggings and mini dresses."

Manchester responds...

Matt Hassall
Image caption Matt Hassall is 29, gay and has lived in Manchester for 7 years

Dear Alisa,

I wonder what brought you to Manchester?

It's curious you were so horrified by what you saw yet you stuck around long enough to take it all in.

I've been really taken aback recently - not just by the level of homophobia in Russia but by the way it seems to be a normalised and accepted way of thinking.

It sounds like you really missed the point of Manchester.

To me, it's a city of liberation. Yes, it's a place of debauchery - but isn't that fun?

It's also a place of celebration, where people dance, hook up, fall in love, express themselves - some of the greatest things about being human.

Where people get away from the kind of people with the same attitude as you.

Maybe I could take you for a drink in Oscars sometime - a gay musical theatre bar. I'm sure you would LOVE it.

Big love,

Matt x

Grant Hing
Image caption Grant Hing is gay and moved to Manchester last year

Dear Alisa,

Manchester is a friendly and welcoming city to all.

It's certainly not the debauched "hell on earth" your article suggests. And even if it was - what's wrong with that, if people are enjoying themselves and not hurting anyone?

I can stroll Canal Street at any time of day or night to witness a wide variety of people - gay, straight, lesbian, trans - and from all walks of life enjoying each other's company and having fun.

Having read your article fresh from the horrific reports of concentration camps for homosexuals in Chechnya, I feel it's purely there to further fuel bigotry and intolerance in Russia towards the gay community.

The village promotes nothing but love and acceptance. I feel pity that you don't share those values.

Love and light,


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