My coming out story started out in the late 1990s when the British Queer as Folk version first aired on our screens. Back then, a confused and extremely repressed young teenage Stefan watched in awe as 3 gay blokes, Stuart, Vince and Nathan, went about their daily lives in Manchester’s Canal Street Gay Village.
I was flabbergasted! Stunned!
This was the first time I had ever seen “normal” gay guys popularised on screen. It was also the first time I had ever seen gay urban life dramatised in such a way that it felt so real! Finally, that “feeling” that up until this point I had been forced to suppress by the society around me was, in fact, something totally natural. What a relief! I wasn’t ill or abnormal. I was in fact part of a large LGBTQ family that also felt the same way. As that young teenage Stefan continued to watch Queer As Folk, he also dreamed: maybe, just maybe, I could grow up and be just like Stuart, Vince and Nathan living so freely in the gay streets of Manchester…
Fast forward a few decades and I’m galavanting down those same historic gay streets, with Seby to hand, together exploring one of the coolest and most progressive places in Europe.
I will always love Manchester!
As well as having a special place in my big gay heart, it has an exciting gay scene, one of the best gay Pride events in the UK and is one of the few places in the world where I feel comfortable walking the streets holding hands with my Seby. It’s also super close to London (just 2 hours by train), which makes it ideal for a weekend trip.