__MAIN_TEXT__
feature-image

Page 1


DAVE LYNN Jason Reid interviews a living legend on page 30.

“Drag is a special kind of magic. What I love is the different types of characters that stick in your mind. [...]I’ve been very lucky to do all of this, and feel very grateful”


Mar 2021

Features

Scene magazine

D www.scenemag.co.uk T @SceneLGBTQ F GScene.Brighton I SceneMagazineUK

14 The Princess and The Pea (For Brains) Does anyone care about LGBTQ+ human rights in the UAE?

Publisher: Scene Magazine Media CIC Editorial: info@scenemag.co.uk Advertising: info@scenemag.co.uk

15 Being HIV positive & Sex positive

You cannot contract HIV from an undetectable person... It’s that simple

Brighton & Hove Pride to return in 2021! Following the roadmap to end lockdown in the UK, Brighton & Hove Pride has announced its 30th anniversary celebrations will be going ahead on the weekend of August 6-8, 2021. More info/tix: https://brighton-pride.org/ Since 2013, Brighton & Hove Pride has raised just under £1million for LGBTQ+ causes in the city, funds which are distributed by the Brighton Rainbow Fund.

16 Trans Visibility Day

Rory Finn on trans visibility and the effects of transphobia

Editorial team

Features Editor: Jaq Bayles News Editor/Design: Graham Robson Arts Editor: Alex Klineberg Art Director: Tom Selmon West Midlands Editor: Catherine Muxworthy E midlandsnews@scenemag.co.uk News team: Graham Robson, Eric Page, Rachel Badham, Catherine Muxworthy, Paul Smith E news@scenemag.co.uk

Cover:

18 The Great Outdoors

Don't let lockdown get in the way of your mental health or physical fitness

20 Not a Baaad Job

Jaq Bayles catches up with volunteer urban shepherd, Stephen Wrench

21 BLAGSS

Get up to speed with the Brighton & Hove LGBTQ+ Sports Society

22 Walks & Gardens

Stop and smell the roses with Scene gardening columnist, Laurie Lavender

Photographer: Tom Selmon E contact@tomselmon.com d www.tomselmon.com

24 Activity for All

Rachel Badham rounds up inclusive sports groups in Brighton & Hove

Contributors

Simon Adams, Rachel Badham, Catherine Muxworthy, Nick Boston, Brian Butler, Billie Gold, Craig Hanlon-Smith, Laurie Lavender, Enzo Marra, Eric Page, Glenn Stevens, Netty Wendt, Roger Wheeler, Chris Gull, Jon Taylor, Alex Klineberg, Michael Steinhage, Jon Taylor, Jason Reid, Rory Finn, Richard Jeneway

Photographers

27 Healing Properties of Nature

Richard Jeneway on using nature to improve mental and physical health

30 Dave Lynn - 45 Years in Drag

Jason Reid gets up, close (not really) and personal with a living legend

34 Brighton & Hove Pride

Organisers answer some questions about the future of the LGBTQ+ event

36 Sussex Nightstop

Get familiar with Alison Marino, executive director of the homelessness charity

Jack Lynn, Chris Jepson, Simon Pepper, Nick Ford, Tom Selmon

37 The Boy & The Bear

A new film from Seaford-based performer and writer, Rose Collis

38 Maisie Trollette – Doyenne of Drag

Lee Cooper tell us about his new film on the octogenarian drag queen

40 Jewel of the South Downs

Alex Klineberg gives a tour of Charleston, the Bloomsbury Set’s country retreat

© Scene 2021

All work appearing in Scene CIC is copyright. It is to be assumed that the copyright for material rests with the magazine unless otherwise stated on the page concerned. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in an electronic or other retrieval system, transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise without the prior knowledge and consent of the publishers. The appearance of any person or any organisation in Scene is not to be construed as an implication of the sexual orientation or political persuasion of such persons or organisations.

42 Football v Transphobia

News

4 News 72 Scene in Birmingham

Arts

51 Page’s Pages 54 Art Matters 54 All That Jazz 55 Classical Notes 56 At Home with Hootman

Regulars

MAISIE TROLLETTE FILM - PAGE 38

Alex Klineberg catches up with Emma Goswell, whose new book aims to help people come to terms with their sexuality and/or gender identity

43 57 58 58 59 60 60 61 62 66 68 68 69

50 Jane Traies Free to Be Me

Information

Natalie Washington updates us on what's planned for this year's campaign

44 Hope & The Glory

Colin Rothbart, co-founder of the London hotspot, on the trials and tribulations of running a bar during a pandemic

45 #BeMoreJill

Jill Nalder, inspiration behind a character from It’s A Sin, talks to Brian Butler

46 We Found Love In the ’80s

New project celebrating those who found love in the era of social division

48 Skin: It Takes Blood & Guts

The LGBTQ+ lead singer of rock band Skunk Anansie launches her new book with a virtual event hosted by Southbank Centre this month

49 Coming Out Stories

A selection of lesbian life stories by women who have been part of the Lesbian Immigration Support Group in Manchester

50 Covert magazine

Writing Our Legacy and New Writing South produce a showcase of black, Asian and ethnically diverse writers and artists

52 Music to Watch the Year Go By

Alex Klineberg on the albums you should look out for in 2021

Around the World The Real Life Coach Roger’s Ruminations Twisted Gilded Ghetto Craig’s Thoughts Stuff & Things Golden Hour Rae’s Reflections Streets of Brighton Turn Back the Pages Netty’s World Homely Homily More to Me than HIV

69 Classifieds 70 Services Directory 71 Advertisers’ Map


4

TRANSforming Futures partnership launches results of two reports The research details trans people’s experiences of problems in both healthcare and criminal justice settings

) TRANSforming Futures, a five-year project which is a partnership between Be:North, CliniQ, Galop, Gendered Intelligence, GIRES, LGBT Consortium, Mermaids, Sparkle and Stonewall Trans Advisory Group, launched findings from two reports last month which aim to create lasting change for trans communities in the healthcare and criminal justice systems. Funded and supported by the National Lottery Community Fund, and drawing on a survey, community workshops and contributions from health, criminal justice and community experts, the research details trans people’s experiences of problems in both healthcare and criminal justice settings. They highlight participants’ proposed solutions to some of these problems. Key Findings from the Criminal Justice System report: • Trans people reported not knowing their rights, and experiences of discrimination when reporting violence or abuse. Ideas for solutions to this problem included: Trans community skill-sharing

and survival workshops, and creating resource packs for incarcerated trans people.

longer, and many struggling with mental health breakdowns during the long wait.

“I’ve not had the best experience. I was verbally abused and almost attacked so I called the police, but I believe they only saw me and my colour and they wouldn’t do anything to the person who was bothering me, but I stood my ground and said that isn’t right, it’s hate crime but they didn’t care and ended up arresting me. [...] I’m almost always racially profiled and now that I’m trans it’s even worse.” – Participant, Trans People of Colour Workshop

• Trans people of colour reported avoiding healthcare far more often than the white trans people they know.

• People were uncertain about whether their experiences amounted to hate crimes, and whether trans people – and non-binary people specifically – were protected by the law from hate crime. • Trans people experiencing homelessness and black trans people and trans people of colour (TPoC) stated they are more likely to be treated as a suspect/criminal. Ideas to address this included: training trans people as advocates, decriminalising sex work, and creating TPoC services. • Participants highlighted fear and distrust of the police as a key failure of justice systems and saw prison as particularly harmful and dangerous to trans people. Their ideas to combat this included: creating community based non-carceral processes for accountability and justice. Key findings from the Healthcare report: “I’ve been out as trans for 10 years and it’s a rarity to feel like I’m being taken seriously by the police when I’ve reported hate crime. I’ve pretty much given up now.” – Participant, Criminal Justice Workshop • Many participants identified experiences with gender clinics as one of the hardest parts of their transition, mainly because of long wait times and difficult experiences with clinic staff. Problems included a lack of communication while waiting, administrative errors leading to people waiting

• Participants reported often facing invasive and inappropriate questions, physical exams being conducted outside of standard procedure, and being repeatedly misgendered. • Participants highlighted how difficult they found it to access information about trans healthcare, getting most of their information online from trans forums or informally from friends. “To get healthcare, someone has to see you as a whole being, if you’re white, cis, straight, male, it’s easier to see that someone as a whole. When you’re anything that deviates from that category, they start nit-picking at everything. You can’t be autistic and trans. You can’t be queer and have mental illness. These things are pitted against each other. They can’t see the complete person.” – Participant, TPoC Workshop. TRANSforming Futures aims to fund and create projects designed by the trans community, for the trans community. A similar community consultation will be conducted with under 18s on their experiences of healthcare, state agencies, and violence. The partnership encourages community organisations to use the ideas recorded and shared in the criminal justice and healthcare reports as a starting point in discussions about forming their own projects that are for trans communities, by trans communities. D To learn more & to download the reports in full: www.transformingfuturespartnership.co.uk D For more info on Stonewall Trans Advisory Group: www.stonewall.org.uk/trans-advisory-group


14

14

Care Quality Commission approval for Kingsway Care

) LGBTQ+ inclusive Kingsway Care has been approved by the Care Quality Commission, meaning that it is regulated for personal care (dementia, live in, respite, emergency, palliative), which is at the core of its service.

OLLY CARTER

Olly Carter, managing director, said: “We continue to offer, as we have done for the last six months, a broad range of other support services - housework, gardening, pet care, health & beauty, transport, shopping & meals, home technology, home safety - and companionship.” The organisation also buddied up with AgeUK for the winter and has been helping it with emergency support packages, such as support after hospital discharges. Kingsway Care’s other big news is that it has gone live with its website www.kingswaycare.com where you will find an LGBTQ+ community page.

DARREN (L) & SCOTT (R)

It has also started to offer some online events, such as weekly quizzes and music shows through its Facebook page: www.facebook.com/kingswaycaresussex, and YouTube channel: https://tinyurl.com/ouqhd4yo. The quizzes are run by Dave Taggart who has been touring with Belinda Carlisle as her guitarist for some 20 years. May is being slated as the month the organisation will move into 22 Victoria Terrace, Hove, with a community space and café. Kingsway Coffee Club will be run by Scott Burey aka Drag With No Name and his manager/partner, Darren, with community events and activities planned (for normal times). D www.kingswaycare.com y https://tinyurl.com/ouqhd4yo f www.facebook.com/kingswaycaresussex

Clare Project announces new booklets ) The Clare Project, the trans support and social group, has announced a new series of information booklets, written by and for the trans, non-binary and intersex (TNBI) community. Designed and written by Luka White, a training and development worker employed by the Clare Project, the newest booklet in the series offers tips and advice for family and friends of TNBI adults. The next topics will be Being TNBI and Neurodivergent and Intersex Community Needs. Further booklet topics are yet to be decided but may include topics such as Body Image, Social Transition and Dealing with Discrimination. e If you would like to be a part of the consultation group for future booklets, email luka.white@clareproject.org.uk to express your interest. D To download the booklets, visit: www.clareproject.org.uk/resources

BLAGSS runners stay on track up this challenge. Participants can see how far everybody has got on the map of Iceland and Tommy asserts that this is something that definitely spurs him on and he claims that he has done more running on this initiative than when he was marathon training. There are also environmental benefits; every 20% of ) Two BLAGSS running convenors, the route a runner completes guarantees Tommy Martinsson and Roy Haines, a donation from the organisers to cover have embraced lockdown restrictions by the planting of a tree in one of the Eden turning them into a positive opportunity Project’s reforestation programmes. to enhance their fitness and endurance. Both have signed up with Conqueror Tommy said: “I’d highly recommend Events for the Virtual Icelandic this challenge or similar initiatives. It’s Challenge which involves logging got me out of the house a lot more their running distances across Sussex than I would have otherwise during the within a system which also automatically lockdown. It’s easy to get demotivated moves them along their virtual challenge and once your exercise regime course; a circular 1,332.5km route of decreases you end up in a negative Iceland’s entire coastline! This challenge spiral where your motivation gets even tests their endurance and speed and lower. Considering how mental health both runners are well on target to beat has decreased, I’d say anything that gets the average completion time of 357 us out of the house is worth it. It also days. gives you something to talk about with the people in your virtual community.” Using the Conqueror app, Tommy and Roy have created a small community of D For more info on BLAGSS, visit: old and new friends who have taken www.bhssrfc.com/

5


6

New hate crime helpline risen considerably over the past two years. A 2020 report found hate crimes against LGB people rose by 19% over the last 12 months, and those against trans people increased by 16%.

Ian Green, CEO of HIV/sexual health charity Terrence Higgins Trust (THT), welcomes the city’s bid to pioneer the system-wide opt-out testing called for by the HIV Commission. ) Galop, the LGBTQ+ anti-violence charity, has launched a national helpline to provide advice and support to LGBTQ+ people who have been affected by anti-LGBTQ+ harassment and violence.

) Increasing HIV testing is the key recommendation of the HIV Commission, launched last December. As we look towards ending new cases of HIV within the decade, we need to learn from what is working on the ground, in particular testing initiatives. The HIV Action Plan that the government is currently working on must embed local success stories and provide support to scale them country wide. We need to shine a light on the great local leadership that’s happening in town halls and ensure councils have all the tools they need to play their part to end the HIV epidemic.

IAN GREEN

The leadership of Brighton & Hove City Council and local MPs used last month’s National HIV Testing Week to put forward the city as a place eager to implement the routine, opt-out testing the HIV Commission was calling for. The letter from the city’s political leadership to Health Secretary Matt Hancock says: “With some of the new funds that we are sure [the Department for Health and Social Care] will make available, Brighton & Hove would like to put itself forward as an early implementer for the national aspiration of normalising HIV testing across health services – we are eager to get this underway and would be honoured to be the first to make it happen.” This is really welcome. The city has been a shining example of embracing new technologies, such as installing HIV tests vending machines, which have helped find people living with HIV who otherwise did not know their status. Signed by Phelim Mac Cafferty, Leader of Brighton & Hove City Council, Caroline Lucas MP, Lloyd Russell Moyle MP and Peter Kyle MP, the letter highlights that the city has “some of the best online testing services in the country”. The only way to make routine, opt-out HIV testing happen is new guidance and new funds. This is vital if we’re going to find the 5,900 people in England who remain undiagnosed. Brighton & Hove has the second highest rates of new cases of HIV each year outside of London and is home to a range of fantastic local organisations, including The Sussex Beacon, Martin Fisher Foundation and Lunch Positive, as well as our own colleagues who provide services across the city.

According to Galop, LGBTQ+ people may feel discouraged from seeking support after experiencing a hate crime due to concerns about homophobia and transphobia in service provision, or fearing that non-LGBTQ+ led services will not fully understand the issues they face.

D To read the letter in full, visit: https://scene.pub/3cOiAZc D For more info on THT, visit: www.tht.org.uk

“[After] seeing what was happening to our community, [it was clear] we needed to offer a safe space for support and advice to those who need it.”

The fully confidential helpline, which is run by and for LGBTQ+ people, is open Monday-Friday, 10am-4pm. Call 020 7704 2040 or email HateCrime@ galop.org.uk.

Statistics from the Home Office showed anti-LGBTQ+ hate crimes have D www.galop.org.uk

Play the Mega March Hospice Quiz and support The Sussex Beacon

of fun, and it’s a fine way to raise muchneeded funds for hospice care providers in Sussex. The Sussex Beacon said: “Love a Quiz? We are delighted to be part of the Mega March Hospice Quiz organised by Friends of Sussex Hospices. Get a team together virtually, enjoy on your own or with family, download the quiz, select the Sussex Beacon to make a donation and get quizzing!”

) While this year’s Mega March Hospice Quiz can’t take place in the usual way, quizzes will take place online instead and you can support the Quizzes take place on Monday: March vital services of the Sussex Beacon 1, March 8, March 15 and March 22. while playing. D For more info and to register, visit: http://scene.pub/39W2Iln There will be one timed quiz each week in March – with 20 minutes to D For more info on the Sussex Beacon: answer 21 questions! It should be lots www.sussexbeacon.org.uk

MindOut announces new peer support groups, where you can share your experiences, talk about how you manage and find out what helps others.

Peer Support groups include: Open Wellbeing-Themed Peer Support Group; Out of the Blue for those with experience of suicidal distress; LGBTQ+ mixed group; Women’s Group; Work It Out for those juggling mental health and work.

A key recommendation from the HIV Commission is for councils to develop individual action plans to reduce new cases of HIV by 2030 and achieve a 80% reduction by 2025. This will involve engagement with people living with HIV, the local voluntary sector, practitioners, commissioners and local leaders. Only together will ambition meet action. The fact Brighton & Hove is ready to go is a great sign and we hope the government will take advantage of their kind offer.

Leni Morris, CEO of Galop, said: “Because lockdown makes households more easily identifiable in public, same-sex couples were subject to abuse when they were seen together. We saw situations with transphobic and homophobic neighbours escalate.

pic cap

Brighton & Hove bids to lead national effort in ending new cases of HIV

) LGBTQ+ mental health charity MindOut’s Peer Support groups on Zoom are now open to new members. MindOut offers friendly, supportive

D For more info, visit: www.mindout. org.uk/new-peer-support-groups-areopen-for-new-members/


14

14

Lunch Positive and Together Co Vaccination champions needed launch befriending scheme for people living with HIV in Brighton & Hove

) HIV charity Lunch Positive and Brighton loneliness charity Together Co have announced their new partnership to launch a befriending scheme for people over 50 who are living with HIV in Brighton & Hove. The scheme will match people living with HIV with like-minded volunteers, to develop supportive friendships that will help combat feelings of isolation and loneliness.

Despite vast medical advancements in treatments for HIV, living with HIV as a long-term medical condition can still be challenging, and is sometimes lonely and isolating. As people live healthier and longer lives, the number of people ageing with HIV has also increased. In the UK, over half of all people with HIV are now approaching or aged 50 years and more. Safe and supportive friendships, together with the highest regard for confidentiality, underpin the scheme, and staff will be looking to match people based on the needs and interests of the members. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, conversations will initially be phone based, rather than in person, until government advice changes. When circumstances allow, people can meet faceto-face and further develop friendships.

GARY PARGETER

Gary Pargeter, service manager at Lunch Positive, said: “We know from experience that supportive and enjoyable friendships can change lives. We also know that finding and establishing friendship is not always easy, and the impact of Covid-19 has become another challenge. “Social connections and friendships can make such a meaningful difference to everyone involved and we’re dedicated to supporting this in the HIV community. Please do get in touch if you would like to take part in this scheme, and please help spread the word to others.”

ENABLING INDEPENDENT LIVING AT HOME OUR SERVICES: Home Care Home Services Companionship

If you are looking for a befriender, the scheme is open to anyone living with HIV who is also aged over 50 and based in Brighton & Hove. To join the Together Co as a volunteer befriender, visit www.togetherco.org. uk/volunteer and mention the Lunch Positive scheme in your application. Volunteering is open to anyone, regardless of HIV status or age. ) To find out more or register, visit www.lunchpositive.org/befriending, email gary@lunchpositive.org, or tel 07846 464384.

CONTACT US TODAY FOR A FREE HOME CONSULTATION 01273 077444 WWW.KINGSWAYCARE.COM

7


14

8

First exhibition at Ledward Centre Rainbow Hub seeks new trustee

) The Rainbow Hub, the point of contact for LGBTQ+ info, advice and support in the heart of Brighton’s LGBTQ+ village in St James’s Street, is looking for a new trustee, which is an opportunity for those who can bring strategic decision making and gain experience while bringing new ideas and a fresh perspective to ways the hub can continue to serve and support LGBTQ+ communities.

) The Ledward Centre’s (TLC) first major event is an exhibition by Brighton & Hove’s Socially Engaged Art Salon (SEAS) offering “evocative” images that encapsulate significant moments and spaces for the LGBTQ+ community in the UK and abroad. Launched to coincide with LGBTQ+ History Month and running until March 15, Queering Spaces tells these stories through film, photography, installations and “socially engaged practices that amplify often unheard voices” – and it’s available now to view online at www.SEASBrighton.org as well as through the LGBTQ+ hub’s windows on Jubilee Street, Brighton.

The board currently consists of four trustees and as they embark on moving forward into a post-Covid future, one with real challenges for LGBTQ+ communities, The Rainbow Hub wishes to expand and diversify the board.

DUNCAN LUSTIG-PREAN

Duncan Lustig-Prean, TLC director, said: “We’re thrilled to host the Queering Spaces exhibition at TLC. It’s a wonderful collection of artworks and the focus is very fitting, given that we are working to create an LGBTQ+ space for the community in Brighton & Hove.

To apply or for more info: email

“The arts have a long history of highlighting injustice and the need for social change. Our collaboration with SEAS is really thrilling, driving forward our ambition to promote the astounding contribution LGBTQ+ arts and culture make to our city and beyond.”

ANTHONY LUVERA COLLABORATIVE. PORTRAIT OF J BAYLISS

CAPE TOWN PRIDE BALL 2020 BY GIL MUALEM DORON

PHOTO OF TAREQ BY HUSSINA RAJA

Scheduled to open its doors in early summer 2021, TLC will be a community and cultural hub, complete with café, radio station, cinema, bookshop and much more. A range of events are planned over the coming months and the team has recently launched Facebook and Instagram pages, helping you to stay up to date with developments. D For more info on TLC, visit: www.ledcen.org.uk

Deadline for applications is Monday, March 15; interviews on Monday, March 22. The Rainbow Hub welcomes applications from the trans, non-binary, intersex and non-variant community. It recognises that those from black trans communities and non-black people of colour are under-represented in its team. People with disabilities are also underrepresented. Therefore The Rainbow Hub actively encourages applications from these under-represented groups.

New resource addresses mental health for LGBTQ+ people of colour

Among the renowned and emerging artists from the local area and around the world featured in the exhibition are Anthony Luvera, Cathy Cade, Hussina Raja, Luc(e) Raesmith, Nate Lavey & Stephen Vider, Shannon Novak, Tara Brag, Charlotte Grahamspouge, Queer History Now collective and Gil MualemDoron, who is also the exhibition’s curator.

“Throughout history, LGBTQ+ people have transformed places that were not created for us into spaces where we can be who we are,” says Mualem-Doron. “Often, it’s been those most marginalised - the queers, the outcasts - who have led the way. This exhibition is dedicated to them.”

hubmanager@ therainbowhubbrighton.com, phone 07821 898486 or write to The Manager, The Rainbow Hub, 93 St James’s Street, Brighton, BN2 1TP.

health issues; signposting LGBTQ+ people of colour to culturally safe health services; empowering individuals within our communities to become more informed decision makers.” To download the resource, visit: www.blackbeetlehealth.co.uk/ mental-health ) Black Beetle announced last month it was successful in applying for a National Lottery: Lived Experience Grant, and will receive a sum of £50,000+ over a two-year period. ) Black Beetle, a public health education community organisation dedicated to promoting health, wellbeing and equality for LGBTQ+ communities of colour, has published a new resource addressing mental health for LGBTQ+ people of colour. Black Beetle said: “We are pleased to present to you our new evidence-based, peer-reviewed mental health brochure. “The second in a series of our QTIPoC Health Brochures, we hope this guide can be used a starter tool for LGBTQ+ and non-binary people of colour who have long felt unable to take the first steps to improving their mental health by: addressing health misinformation; educating our communities on pertinent

This grant will help Black Beetle continue its work and give up-and-coming leaders with diverse backgrounds the opportunity to implement peer-led, community driven programmes, which will address misinformation, educate and empower queer people of colour across the UK. D www.blackbeetlehealth.co.uk


9

Vaccine now easier to access for those with HIV in England & Wales

Census 2021 to include LGBTQ+ for the first time

access the vaccine after people aged 65 and over and alongside those with a number of other conditions. In some areas this has already begun.

D For more info on THT, visit: www.tht.org.uk

LGBTQ+ youth in ‘mental health crisis’

) New research from LGBTQ+ charity Just Like Us has found young LGBTQ+ people are increasingly struggling with their mental health during the pandemic, with them being twice as likely to worry about their mental wellbeing on a daily basis compared to non-LGBTQ+ peers. The charity, which interviewed 2,934

secondary school pupils about their mental wellbeing, found that 55% of young LGBTQ+ people are regularly concerned about their mental health; 77% had worse mental health since the pandemic began; 52% experienced loneliness during lockdown, compared to 27% of non-LGBTQ+ students; 25% said they had been experiencing daily tension in their home, compared to 15% of straight, cisgender youth. D To see the results in full, visit: www. justlikeus.org/single-post/lgbt-youngpeople-mental-health-coronavirus

Unisex Hairsalon 18 St Georges Road, Kemptown, Brighton BN2 1EB

01273 623 408

Run by ONS, the census is the once-in-a-decade survey that gives the most accurate estimate of all people and households in England and Wales. It has been carried out every decade since 1801, except for 1941. Following discussions, testing and research with the public, charities and government bodies, the census will ask two new questions relevant to LGBTQ+ communities on gender identity and sexual orientation. As with all census questions, no personal information is shared, data is anonymised before aggregated statistics are used to shape policies and services. The voluntary questions will be asked of those aged 16 years+; no-one will be forced to answer. People can also request an individual census questionnaire and give their answers separately to their current household if they wish to. Iain Bell, deputy national statistician at the ONS, said: “While there are estimates of sexual orientation at a national and regional level, it’s not possible to produce robust estimates for all local authorities – that’s what census data will give.

IAIN BELL

Ian Green, chief executive of THT, said: “This is great news and the right decision from the NHS as it means people living with HIV will be able to take up the potentially life-saving Covid-19 vaccine at their earliest opportunity – even if they feel unable to share their HIV status with this doctor. We are working towards a society where everyone living with HIV feels comfortable sharing their status with their doctor and other health professionals, but we’re not there yet and we welcome this fast, pragmatic action.”

) Brighton & Hove LGBTQ+ Switchboard is working in partnership with the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and the Good Things Foundation to support LGBTQ+ people in completing the 2021 census, which takes place on March 21 with results available in 2022.

“There is no robust data available on gender identity at all. It is needed by local authorities and service providers to inform the provision of services. Sexual orientation and gender identity questions will be voluntary for people aged 16 and over.

“Without robust data on the size of the LGBTQ+ population at a national and local level, decision-makers are operating in a vacuum, unaware of the extent and nature of disadvantage which LGBTQ+ people may be experiencing in terms of health, educational outcomes, employment and housing.” ONS stresses it will never share personal details, and no-one, including government bodies, will be able to identify individuals in census data. Personal census records will be kept secure for 100 years and only then can future generations view them. The census will be run mostly online, with households receiving a letter with a unique access code in March, allowing them to complete the questionnaire on computers, tablets, phones or laptops. Switchboard is on hand to help you apply for an individual code, get a paper copy, help you understand the questions, help those with literacy or IT needs and more. Advisors have been trained by the ONS and can fill in the answers on behalf of the respondent. Jacob Bayliss, CEO of Switchboard, said: “It’s part of history and proves LGBTQ+ people are around. Communities weren’t counted in the past. The Census is making sure we are counted and are seen. It informs government spending, how charities are funded, or how health services are designed for the future, how population needs to be catered for. This data will be extremely helpful for LGBTQ+ charities too.

JACOB BAYLISS

In accordance with the government’s timetable, HIV+ people are able to

IAN GREEN

) Following a campaign by HIV/sexual health charity Terrence Higgins Trust (THT), the government has announced new Covid-19 vaccine rules that will enable people living with HIV in England to access the vaccine in phase six of the roll out as planned – without having to share their HIV status with their doctor. This decision, which follows the same announcement by the Welsh government, is in recognition of the stigma many people living with HIV still face – including within healthcare – and means this group will now be able to access the vaccine by contacting their HIV clinic directly.

This action follows the issue being raised with THT by people living with HIV. It was then put to Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi MP, by Shadow Health Secretary Jon Ashworth MP and Stephen Doughty MP, Chair of the APPG on HIV and AIDS.

“I can understand people might be resistant to filling it in. I trust the ONS to keep the data safe. There are a lot of safeguards in place.” To access support, contact Switchboard on 01273 234009. While we are still in lockdown, appointments will be over the phone or online. D For more info, visit: www.census.gov.uk D For more info on Switchboard, visit: www.switchboard.org.uk


10

Ophelia Payne’s Big Night In raises £1,900 for MindOut

SheSays Brighton announces International Women’s Day event

JOHANA RIQUIER

RACHEL MCCONNELL

MICHELLE STEELE

) SheSays Brighton has announced an evening of free online talks and networking for International Women’s Day on Monday, March 8 from 6.30pm with three speakers, including Michelle Steele from Trans Pride Brighton, talking about their extraordinary journeys in the digital world.

) Ophelia Payne’s BIG NIGHT IN raised £1,900 for LGBTQ+ mental health charity MindOut last month. MindOut said: “Thank you so much to everyone who attended and donated, and a huge thanks to Ophelia Payne for hosting. We had such a laugh taking part in bingo and hat-making, and watching all of our fabulous performers. We raised an amazing £1,900 thanks to Lloyds Bank Rainbow Network which matchfunded the ticket sales.”

Ophelia Payne added: “We did it! I want to say a huge thank you to all my wonderful performers - Misty Van Cartier, Sperm Donna, Sweet Boy, Richard Energy and Jess Robinson. You made it such a special night. Also, thank you to everyone who bought tickets and donated. MindOut is a fantastic mental health charity supporting the LGBTQ+ community.” D For more info on MindOut, visit: www.mindout.org.uk/

Dysphoria is a Drag online fundraising event on Saturday, March 6 at 8pm

Michelle Steele is a lead software engineer with 25 years of experience, currently at Brighton tech company Avalara. She coaches at Codebar, is a STEM Ambassador and is the head of volunteer coordinating at Trans Pride Brighton. Michelle is also the drummer in indie band Slum of Legs. Rachel McConnell is a content designer, strategist and consultant who’s also used to building and leading content teams. She’s worked with brands such as Deliveroo, M&S, John Lewis, Nationwide and Virgin Holidays to determine strategy and design content, and also trains UX professionals in UX writing. She’s currently content strategist at BT, and was the content strategy lead for Clearleft, a design agency based in Brighton. Rachel is also the author of Why You Need A Content Team.

RIFA THORPE-TRACEY

Johana Riquier, business strategist at Unity, is a prominent advocate for the widespread use of Unity Technologies, promoting minorities in the gaming space and works to bring awareness of the African and Middle Eastern gaming industry. Rifa Thorpe-Tracey, SheSays Brighton organiser and host, said: “Now more than ever, we want to be inspired by women thriving in the digital sector. I’m so excited to hear from this line-up of speakers - expect a few surprises! This event might not be the same as meeting in person, but I’ll do my very best to recreate the SheSays vibe. I can’t wait to reconnect with this amazing community of bad-ass Brighton women to celebrate International Women’s Day!” SheSays Brighton is part of global group supporting women in digital through networking and events with inspiring speakers. This free event is part of Spring Forward Festival, which encourages women to take a greater role in digital by creating a platform that promotes digital community events organised by women for women, and is open to all backgrounds, ages and genders. D To register, visit: https://shesaysbtn-march-2021.eventbrite.co.uk D For more info on SheSays Brighton, visit: www.weareshesays.com/ chapters/shesays-brighton/

) Join Corn Roberts and a starstudded cast of drag-tastic talent for DYSPHORIA IS A DRAG – a one-off online cabaret event, raising funds for the host’s gender-affirming healthcare fund on Saturday, March 6 from 8pm. With fabulous performances from: Alfie Ordinary, Alik, Alistair, Chub Rub, Crusty, Daphne, Dick Day, The Elizabeth E Crawford, Fran

Sparklypants, Scarlett Fever, Prince of Persia, Rococo Chanel, Prinx Silver, Lydia L’Scabies, Tayris Mongardi and Twinkerbell. D For tickets (£4) visit: http://bit.ly/ dysphoria-drag D To make an extra donation or to read Corn’s story, visit: www.gofundme. com/corns-top-surgery

Allsorts Youth Project service update ) For LGBTQ+ and unsure children & young people aged 5-25, Allsorts Youth Project is still here for you, offering Youth Groups, One-to-One Support and Advocacy online. D Visit www.allsortsyouth.org.uk, or e youth@allsortsyouth.org.uk


11

Community asked to March for Martlets Martlets is asking people in the community to connect with hospice care and get moving during the month of March with its fundraising activity, March for Martlets

March for Martlets will be the charity’s first event of 2021 and, due to Covid restrictions, people are encouraged to sign up and pledge to raise sponsorship for their own personal walking, running or marching target. Martlets cares for local people across an area of 34 square miles of Sussex, taking in Brighton & Hove, from Portslade in the west to Newhaven in the east. The charity is hoping people will be inspired by that distance, so whether it’s a 3.4km walk per day, 34 times up and down the stairs every morning, or 34 miles in total, everyone can make a difference – sign up at www.martlets.org.uk/take-part Over the past 12 months, Martlets’ charity shops have had to close during lockdown and all fundraising events have been cancelled, while the need for hospice care and support is greater than ever. Since the beginning of the pandemic, Martlets has seen a 25% rise in calls to its phone hub, which offers expert

advice and support to patients, families, carers and other professionals 24 hours a day, seven days a week. During April to September 2020, Martlets’ phone hub handled 7,456 calls from community patients and their families, and 7,891 from healthcare professionals. In many cases, crisis callers were only one call away from ringing 999. “Martlets has kept caring day and night for over 2,200 patients with life-limiting illnesses and supporting their loved ones across the community during the Covid-19 pandemic” Martlets supports people living with a terminal illness across the city and beyond. These people need pain management, symptom relief, emotional support and mobility care. Due to the impact of Covid-19 and social distancing measures, many people with a terminal illness are having to cope with long periods of isolation. They may also have decided not to go to hospital for treatment or visit their GP as often. This means the team at Martlets is working harder than ever to reach and support many more people with complex needs. Martlets is hoping that it can encourage people to remember its hard-working doctors, nurses and wider healthcare teams, and show their support by virtually

walking alongside them. Signing up to March for Martlets to raise a donation, no matter how large or small, will help Martlets to keep caring.

IMELDA GLACKIN

) Martlets is encouraging everyone – young and old – to take a step in the right direction to raise money for their local hospice. Martlets has kept caring day and night for over 2,200 patients with life-limiting illnesses and supporting their loved ones across the community during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Imelda Glackin, Martlets chief executive, said: “We’re looking to the future and doing everything we can to hold strong through the pandemic. We’re doing our best to provide the best care for patients and their families and avoid hospital admissions. However, working through Covid has felt relentless and support from our community at this time would mean so much to everyone as we need to make sure we can keep on doing what we do as we move forward “As a charity in the heart of our community, I’m so proud of the commitment our team has shown and how we’ve kept connecting with patients and their families. We really hope our community will connect with us and March for Martlets.” D For more info and to sign up, visit: www.martlets.org.uk/take-part e To send photos of you marching for Martlets, email: communications@martles.org.uk


12

Get Involved: Trans Pride Scotland announces series of virtual events

Brighton Pavilion Estate receives £1million from National Lottery Phase One of the project to refurbish Brighton Dome’s Corn Exchange and Studio Theatre. The project is a long-term collaboration between Brighton & Hove City Council, Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival and the Royal Pavilion & Museums Trust.

) Trans Pride Scotland, a movement aimed at bringing together the trans population in one place as a show of strength, solidarity and mutual support, has announced a series of virtual events to coincide with Transgender Week of Visibility from Sunday, March 28 till Saturday, April 3. On Sunday, March 28 and Saturday, April 3, Trans Pride Scotland wants to showcase 12 artists in the trans community for its opening and closing celebrations. If you are a poet, singer, musician, actor, dancer, etc get in touch via http://bit.ly/ performTPS21. Throughout the week from Monday, March 29 to Thursday, April 1, Trans Pride Scotland also wants to host some community workshops, either in the afternoon or the evening. Deadline for applications is Monday, March 8. If you would like conduct a workshop, get in touch via http://bit.ly/workshopTPS21.

The financial support, which is part of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport’s Culture Recovery Fund package, will be used to continue

call out for those in need, LGBTQ+ people felt “safer reaching out”, adding: “The people who received them were just really grateful... It was quite heartbreaking to hear the struggles people were facing, it made a massive difference.”

The society says: “We are all passionate about raising money for a charity that helps so many people. Anything you can donate, no matter how small, is greatly appreciated and will go to a great charity.” D To donate, visit: https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/Team/ CollyersLGBTQIAsociety i For more info on Collyer’s LGBTQIA+ Society, check out their Insta: collyers.lgbtqia.society D For more info on Brighton & Hove LGBT Switchboard, visit: www.switchboard.org.uk

) Daniel Browne, chair of Warwickshire Pride, has set up an emergency food parcel scheme to help LGBTQ+ locals who are in need of essential goods, such as food and household items. According to Coventry Live, the scheme started out as a Christmas initiative, but Daniel realised many LGBTQ+ people were still in need. The project has now helped 20 families in the Warwickshire area, with plans to continue into the future. Daniel said there is a need for the scheme, as many struggling LGBTQ+ people may not want to attend local food banks or social supermarkets for “fear of being judged” for their sexuality or gender identity. He said that because Warwickshire Pride put a

DANIEL OUT DELIVERING FOOD PARCELS

For more information, send Trans Pride Scotland a message on Twitter @TransPrideScot, email transpridescotland@gmail.com, or use the contact form at http://transpride.scot.

) Members of Collyer’s LGBTQIA+ Society have challenged themselves to walk 10k in the Easter holidays (date subject to change due to Covid-19) to raise money for Brighton & Hove LGBT Switchboard.

“The refurbishment of these heritage buildings has been incredibly complex and this welcome support from the NLHF has come at a crucial point, as we begin 2021 with a renewed determination to bring the arts to our audiences and communities.”

Warwickshire Pride sets up food parcel scheme

Trans Pride Scotland is offering compensation funding for performers and those running workshops. There is also a small fund available to cover essential technical needs (e.g. data costs or a webcam)

Collyer's LGBTQIA+ Society raising funds for Switchboard

ANDREW COMBEN

) The National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF) has awarded the city’s Royal Pavilion Estate regeneration an additional £1 million from its Heritage Capital Kickstart Fund, which will be added to the £4.823 million grant allocated by the NLHF for the project in 2016 and £458,920 from Arts Council England’s Cultural Capital Kickstart Fund awarded in December 2020.

Andrew Comben, chief executive of Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival, said: “Brighton Dome has been part of the city’s history for over 200 years and we want to protect its legacy for future generations to enjoy and for artists to continue to perform here.

A local Morrisons store set up a collaboration with Warwickshire Pride last month, which will see staff donate toiletries and food to the LGBTQ+ organisation. Browne praised those who run emergency food schemes, tweeting: “It’s heartbreaking that food banks need to exist, but how wonderful that people run them, donate to them, and ensure that people who are struggling get support.” D For more info on Warwickshire Pride, visit: www.warwickshirepride.co.uk f @warwickshirepride


13

Allsorts releases new podcast

Project to utilise Brighton city centre’s empty stores is underway

wanted to do it the ‘old way’. We were very firm and said it’s about inclusion. My sexual orientation was a way to make a stand and do it a different way.”

BEN

The latest episode, Allsorts of Community, reflects on what it means to be part of a community. It begins with an insightful interview with Allsorts training & education manager Ben, who talks passionately about his work at Allsorts and his role as co-founder of the Brighton Kop, the official Liverpool FC supporters’ club for Brighton and Sussex.

Ben shares his experiences of being a gay man involved so closely in the football world. Having founded the Brighton Kop with his partner, inclusion has been central in facilitating a safe space for all Liverpool supporters in their community. Ben says: “Football is a sport I love... I chose to openly and proudly be gay and who I am. It has come with challenges, in the early days of setting up there were people who

One young person says: “I’ve been going to Allsorts for two or three years. I feel like I am understood, that I am being treated equally. I have made some amazing friends. It’s a very strong community and I like it.” Another comments: “I feel like the support elements of community have been heightened during lockdown. A lot more people in our communities have been struggling and it’s good to know and people are still finding ways to be there for each other.” This thought-provoking and heartwarming episode of Allsorts of Thoughts is neatly rounded off with a touching reflection on community from community volunteer Riley, and another Felice’s Faves segment, reviewing LGBTQ+ media. To catch up on Allsorts of Thoughts, visit https://anchor. fm/allsortsyouthproject. D For more info on Allsorts, visit www.allsortsyouth.org.uk.

) Brighton & Hove City Council (BHCC) and Brilliant Brighton, a not-for-profit organisation formed of 517 retail, leisure and hospitality businesses within the city centre, have teamed up to make use of vacant premises within Brighton city centre. The temporary project aims to utilise empty properties by offering short-term pop-up shop opportunities to those looking to host their own store, restaurant, cafe or deli, but don’t want a long-term commitment. The project hopes to also engage local artists to dress windows and create eyecatching window displays in empty properties – not only to improve the appearance of unused units, but to also ‘Brighton’ up the city, and showcase the city’s thriving creative scene. Commissions of £500 will be granted for up to five artists to create art displays in five empty properties across the city centre. Shelley Welti, media officer for Brilliant Brighton, said: “While Brighton’s vacancy rate is less than the national average, we are noticing vacant premises’ numbers throughout the city centre slowly increasing. We’re pleased to have partnered with BHCC to utilise empty units – with either short-term pop-up shops or by making them more attractive with artwork installations by local artists. We’d love to hear from landlords, businesses and artists who’d like to be involved with the project.”

SHELLEY WELTI

series of podcasts made by and for LGBTQ+ young people, released by Sussex-based charity, Allsorts Youth Project, which listens to, supports and connects children and young people (5-25) who are LGBTQ+ or exploring their gender identity and/or sexual orientation.

BHCC, which owns a number of properties in Brighton city centre, is also offering its empty retail and hospitality units for art organisations to use on a cost-only basis, for a minimum six-month term. CLLR MARTIN OSBORNE

) Allsorts of Thoughts is a

This engaging interview is followed by a series of moving Q&As with Allsorts Young People. LGBT+ Youth Support Worker, Jo, who has supported the young people in creating Allsorts of Thoughts since its launch in 2019, asks the young people if they feel part of any communities, and how those communities have been affected by Covid-19 lockdown.

“Brighton & Hove is known for its innovation and talent and this project will not only provide new uses for empty buildings, it will help people struggling to find a platform during the pandemic and revive city centre shopping areas ready to welcome the safe return of visitors.” For more info and to get involved in the project, visit www.brightonpopupshops.co.uk or email Shelley at admin@brightonbid.com.

International Women’s Day event

Scene makes Feedspot’s list of the best LGBTQ+ mags Feedspot’s list of the 35 best LGBTQ+ magazines on the web. Scene said: “We’re absolutely delighted to have made the list! “Scene is a real labour of love; we will never stop reporting on the issues that matter to our LGBTQ+ communities.” D To see the full list, visit: https://

blog.feedspot.com/lgbt_ magazines/ D To see more LGBTQ+ news, visit: www.scenemag.co.uk f Gscene.Brighton t SceneLGBTQ

ANEESA CHAUDHRY

) Scene magazine has made

Cllr Martin Osborne, co-chair of Brighton & Hove’s Tourism, Equalities, Communities and Culture Committee, added: “We’re pleased to have the opportunity to offer creative people in the city new spaces to showcase their work and try out new business ideas.

) International Women’s Day is on Monday, March 8, so to mark the occassion Aneesa Chaudhry, who you may know as MD of LGBTQ+ inclusive choir The Rainbow Chorus, is organising an online Celebration of Women event on Sunday, March 7 from 3pm. A percentage of the proceeds from tickets will go to domestic violence charity, Rise. Expect live singing, inspirational & motivational speaking and a safe and inclusive space to listen and discuss topics for a couple of hours.

If you’d like to perform something at the event, message Aneesa on Facebook @aneesavoicebox D For tickets/more info, visit: www.facebook.com/events/253045592943281/


14 Gscene Scene 20

marriage are punishable under Sharia law, laws which the UAE adopts in different measures in different states. In Abu Dhabi, anal sex (defined as sodomy) is punishable by imprisonment of up to 14 years, in Dubai it is 10 years. Something to bear in mind Johan and Sebastian after a few too many gins at the hotel bar before you nip off to your balcony jacuzzi for a piece of fruitcake.

The Princess and the Pea for Brains (that’s YOU) By Craig Hanlon-Smith A series of provocative comment pieces by Craig Hanlon-Smith and Jason Reid. ) At the time of writing, a princess is missing. She is Princess Latifa bint Mohammed Al Maktoum, the daughter of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum. If you’re not familiar with the story I shall spare the details here, you have Google and there is a Panorama special on BBC iPlayer: The Missing Princess. The reasons why we should give a damn are multi-faceted. First, Sheikh Mohammed has form. This wouldn’t be the first time he has been accused of abducting his wives and children who have dared depart the shores of the United Arab Emirates for a life of freedom. Women’s rights to live as free and equal citizens in Dubai and surrounding states are limited, despite Dubai’s pedigree as an international holiday destination for Western tourists. That this has not come to our national attention before is certainly interesting. A UK High Court ruling in 2020 revealed details of an earlier abduction of another daughter, which took place in the UK. The Sheikh’s private security team tracked down his daughter Shamsa and took her back to Dubai against her wishes 18 years ago. An episode never fully investigated by the UK authorities. The exposure of all of the above by the BBC’s Panorama programme and now subsequent mainstream press is a diplomatic headache for the government. At a time when we need international business partners more than ever, having not only kicked our nearest neighbours in the nuts but severed any meaningful connection forever, we could do with our new friends not misbehaving. Furthermore, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum loves the Queen and Queenie loves Sheikhey Wakey KidNap. They share a love of racehorses and the

Sheikh houses some of our monarch’s horses on his land here in the UK. It’s all a little bit awks. Rich heterosexual princess held captive by father who is besties with Queen Elizabeth II, head of the Commonwealth. Questions asked on news programmes about the morality of such relationships, interviews with a sweating foreign secretary Dominic Raab over possible sanctions, it’s all getting really rather serious. I’m not sure what all the fuss is about myself. It’s not as if the British authorities, Royal Family or UK citizens who flock to Dubai every year for their holiday in a compound usually intervene.

“While snoozing on your overpriced sun-lounger, can you smell your brothers rotting to death in prison not 20 miles away?” How many homosexuals are currently languishing in solitary confinement in a Dubai prison? How many are actually put to death? How many of you actually care? How many people in the LGBTQ+ communities are getting their non-gender specific underwear in a twist about the infringement of UK civil liberties during lockdown, but as soon as possible will book themselves a five-night all-inclusive break in Dubai. I have a question for you: While snoozing on your over-priced sun-lounger, can you smell your brothers rotting to death in prison not 20 miles away? To all UK citizens feigning a human interest in the plight of princess Latifa, know this before you book your trip to the UAE because Lord knows after the difficulties of lockdown you ‘deserve’ that break. All sexual relationships outside heterosexual

Further punishments for any sexual misconduct (including in the privacy of your own beach chalet) can include flogging, execution, fines and deportation. Homosexuality is illegal in the UAE with up to three years’ imprisonment for consenting males (this includes Western tourists). You do not need to be caught in an act of sexual intimacy to be charged with homosexuality. Removing a speck of fluff from your boyfriend’s D&G swim-shorts will be deemed as inappropriate affection towards another male. If you’re lucky, £1,000 and then thrown on to the Airbus. If you’re not... Have a nice Christmas or three.

“How many homosexuals are currently languishing in solitary confinement in a Dubai prison? How many are actually put to death? How many of you actually care?” And don’t think when you’re caught having an idle mooch on the beach late at night your same-sex marriage or civil partnership means two hoots in Dubai. Nor can your holidaying mates stick up for you. Any expression of support for LGBTQ+ rights is considered a violation of public morality and the punishment for that? See former list which includes flogging. You may even want to watch your dinner conversations as people in Dubai have ears. Freedom of expression is allowed as long as it is within the limits of the law. Views which are in breach of public morality are considered to harm young persons or invite persons to espouse or promote destructive principles may not be shared in any form. Shut your mouth. It is also illegal to promote disorder and damage the national unity, social peace, public order and public decency. It is these laws which have had a smattering of tourists in trouble with the authorities in recent years. Most visitors are held for a matter of days, fined and then returned home with a bruised ego and emboldened indignation of the violation of their freedoms in somebody else’s oppressive regime. As for the local population? Any Muslim male found to be engaging in some or all of the above can expect imprisonment at best but the law allows for their execution. Just something to bear in mind as you pack your suitcase dreaming of selfies on that idyllic beach. Or perhaps you think it serves them right, for behaving like a princess.


20 Gscene

Scene 15

I still find myself frustrated at how often I have to explain what U=U means. I now have a standard response that I copy and paste. If they don’t get it, I move on, because it’s incredibly draining and demoralising having to repeatedly go through the same tedious rigmarole that I’ve been going through for years. And more often than not I simply do not have the patience to be schooling pissedup gays at 3am when all I want is a quick bumming. Just imagine how switched on people would be if the UK’s dominant print news outlets dedicated as many column inches to the good news story of U=U as they have done to scaring the bejesus out of people over the years. Sadly a large part of UK print media is agendadriven right wing twaddle that exists only to demonise and divide. The answer lies with education and engaging in fact-based, open conversations. Society’s worst problems tend to bubble up and eventually boil over when things are covered up and misinformation is allowed to fester.

BEING HIV POSITIVE & SEX POSITIVE By Jason Reid

) I’m HIV+

undetectable, and a proponent of sex positivity. In theory that should be fairly straightforward. In practice – sadly not. Don’t get me wrong, remarkable progress has been made in recent decades; attitudes have changed and more people now understand HIV better than ever. Charitable organisations have really hammered home the ‘undetectable equals untransmittable’ message (U=U means that people living with HIV who achieve and maintain an undetectable viral load – the amount of HIV in the blood – by taking and adhering to antiretrovirals as prescribed cannot pass on the virus). I applaud their sterling work. Especially for taking this important message to the wider population; those who now need to pay heed are hopefully doing so when they see the information presented to them on billboards and public transport. Of course, prior to going mainstream, queer media played its part in spreading the word – as was the case during the AIDS crisis and beyond – and I cannot stress its importance enough. I will always be a fervent champion of queer media regardless of

any professional affiliation. Whenever there are important issues to be highlighted that affect LGBTQ+ people, often overlooked by mainstream media unless there’s a sensationalist angle to be exploited, queer media is there. We should never take it for granted. So, before I digress even further, is the U=U message actually getting through? And to enough people? Because I believe that’s the only way undetectable people like myself will be unshackled from the HIV shame that is woven into the very fabric of our society. I think of myself as candidly HIV undetectable, I talk openly about living with HIV and my past experience of AIDS. But when I’m broaching the subject with potential sexual partners/relationships, I find it easier to just say I’m undetectable and hope for the best, because even now when some guys hear ‘HIV’ their brain goes to that place it’s trained to go to as a result of ingesting too much bigoted tabloid trash over the years. Conversely, when my use of the word ‘undetectable’ is instantly recognised and understood, without having to add a great deal of unnecessary personal context, I know the guy is a keeper. On the odd occasion that I do fire up Grindr

Surely the devastating effects of the AIDS pandemic and how HIV has been brought to heel in recent years should now be taught in schools, alongside U=U. I’m sure the coronavirus pandemic will be on the curriculum in years to come. I’m aware that this is the point at which homophobic parents who are all for gay people really but don’t want their children taught gay stuff will start screaming blue murder. Newsflash: HIV and HIV stigma affects heterosexuals too. Education about HIV/AIDS benefits us all.

“Is the U=U message actually getting through? Because I believe that’s the only way undetectable people like myself will be unshackled from the HIV shame that is woven into the very fabric of our society” Another reason HIV stigma is so difficult to overcome completely is because for too long the people who wield the greatest power in our country do not take responsibility for their inflammatory language which causes deep harm. Those scars run deep. We can’t just brush stuff under the carpet and move on without understanding its impact. Words have consequences, and ignorance seeps through families and generations like poison. That poison has to be treated. I don’t want to undergo inquisitions anymore. I want to be able to be unashamedly HIV+ and sex positive. You cannot contract HIV from an undetectable person. It’s a simple as that. Shout it from the rooftops for me, and tell people outside your queer bubble, because I’m tired.


TRANS PRIDE 2016

Trans Day of Visibility

Rory Finn on why 2020 will go down in his books as the year when transphobia in the UK reached fever pitch ) Trans Day of Visibility is celebrated on

March 31 every year. It may feel these days that trans people are everywhere. It’s true, we are. We always were. This year we will be officially counted in the census for the first time. For the past decade we’ve been relying on best guesses to figure out how many trans people are in the UK. In 2015, Brighton & Hove City Council estimated that there were 2,700 trans people living in the city, or about 1% of residents. Compare that to the Office for National Statistics claiming that only 2% of the population identify as lesbian, gay or bi. I invite you to draw your own conclusions.

“Visibility is vital to advancing our interests as trans people. We have a government which is openly hostile towards us and quite content in playing politics with our rights” Regardless of numbers, trans rights are very much on the agenda, of both our allies and our foes alike. 2020 will go down in my books as not just the year of Covid but also the year when transphobia in the UK reached a new fever pitch. With front page stories on the likes of The Times declaring that the PM himself, no less, was planning to shelve plans that would allow trans people to amend their birth certificates. The Gender Recognition Act is a red herring of trans rights. The one-time radical bit of law has now faded into being behind the times and not fit for purpose. The consultation exercise for how

best to amend this legislation has unleashed a toxic load of transphobic sludge from which endless smears and hate have arisen. Enter a certain influential children’s author

who publicly trolls the trans community, regurgitating transphobic tropes, much to the disdain and horror of her previously adoring fans and the actors who brought her books


to life. It’s one thing to have an opinion, no matter how misguided, but it’s quite another to use your influence and platform to promote hate. It really felt like it wasn’t just a virus that was out to get us. Thankfully all this has revealed true allyship from every corner of the LGBTQ+ community. It has been amazing to see the groundswell of support, online and in person. Even more importantly, seeing the community reacting so strongly when those transphobic voices come from within our own ranks and gay media. We must be vigilant about those who seek to divide us. It ultimately affects us all.

“The weight of poor representation is immense; trans people being framed as serial killers, unhinged villains and objects of disgust. It is no wonder cis people fear us. It is no wonder we struggle to come to terms with who we are” I have the mixed blessing of being a ‘passing’ trans person. By this I mean people assume I’m cisgender (ie not trans) until they find out otherwise. It’s a blessing in that I gain some privilege by being perceived to be a cis man. I’m not questioned anymore about which toilet I use and rarely get misgendered

BRIGHTON & HOVE PRIDE - © RICHARD JARMY

TIME MAGAZINE - JUNE 2014

Scene 17

(when I do, it’s because someone has the wrong end of the stick and thinks I’m a trans woman). Coming out regularly is exhausting and it doesn’t always get acknowledged. I had an encounter recently when I told someone, no fewer than three times, that I was trans yet they still didn’t comprehend that I wasn’t cis. I was trying to explain to them that I understood how to communicate with trans people better than they did.

rights. In late February the House of Lords debated removing rights from pregnant trans masculine people. A simple semantic shift from ‘person’ to ‘woman’ is all it takes. The usual form is for legislation to be written in genderneutral language. The wilful ignorance of the Lords is staggering. Legally recognised men do get pregnant and have children. See Freddy McConnell, the subject of the documentary Seahorse, being denied the legal title of father to his child (the courts insist he is the mother), despite holding gender recognition and being regarded as male in every other aspect of his life. This is a deliberate attack on us. Baroness Liz Barker advocated against the amendment, lamenting that trans people are under a “sustained unwarranted attack”. She went on to describe how hostile the media has been. The Times, she says, which is read by many in power, has “each of the last two years… had over 320 articles about trans issues. Almost all of them full of gross misrepresentations”. Representation matters and our visibility is power, no matter how much they try to erase us through other means.

“It may feel these days that trans people are everywhere. It’s true, we are. We always were” Cisgender is the default assumption, so to lead an authentic, congruent life, I am open about my trans status. It informs how I navigate the world, the work I do and the perspectives I have. By being visible I am both more at risk of transphobia but paradoxically I am empowered. When I can choose when to disclose, I hold the power that comes with it. When I am outed, that is taken away from me. Visibility is vital to advancing our interests as trans people. We still do not have any openly trans representation in Parliament. We have a government which is openly hostile towards us and quite content in playing politics with our BRIGHTON & HOVE PRIDE - © CHRIS JEPSON

So how can we unpack this narrative to see the woods from the trees? Disclosure (Netflix 2020) documents trans representation in cinema and TV since the early days of film. The weight of poor representation is immense; trans people being framed as serial killers, unhinged villains and objects of disgust. It is no wonder cis people fear us. It is no wonder we struggle to come to terms with who we are. No one wants to be Buffalo Bill. Disclosure does an incredible thing. It helps trans people to understand why we might feel the way we do and educates everyone about the power of representation, good or bad. It also shows hope and proves the power of visibility. In 2014, Time put Laverne Cox on its cover, proclaiming the “transgender tipping point”. Since then, many doors have opened for trans storytellers and with it many people coming out. You can’t unsee the beauty and diversity of the trans community now. Perhaps that’s why they hate us. In spite of all the hate, our time has come for our stories to be told, by us and with love.


“Make the most of the waterside; sit back, kick off your shoes, breathe deeply and take the time to look around; allow yourself to be healed and inspired”

PHOTOGRAPHY BY TOM SELMON, WWW.TOMSELMON.COM WORDS FROM THE MINDFUL ART OF WILD SWIMMING BY TESSA WARDLEY, PUBLISHED BY LEAPING HARE PRESS.

DIVE INTO THE GREAT OUTDOORS


Scene 19 ) During a year of lockdowns, the outdoors

Of course, even that has been banned since Christmas, despite the prime minister assuring everyone last September that everything would probably be back to normal by the festive season. So when we set this magazine’s themes for the coming year, we were labouring under the impression that we would all be enjoying at least some freedom to roam in the elements. Obviously, we were mistaken, although strangely the ‘great outdoors’ has actually taken on more resonance in recent weeks, that window of time afforded to exercise the only escape many currently have from their own four walls. And maybe an upside to this has been the inventive ways people have found to make the most of that time outside. New hobbies have been discovered – the first lockdown reportedly led to record sales of paddle boards, surf boards and kayaks as people sought the tranquillity of riverways or the thrills of the ocean, while on dry land skateboarding too saw an unprecedented boom. Wild swimming has become a thing, as has sea swimming – evidenced by the hoards of dry robe-wearing (please don’t let that become a fashion…) bathers on Brighton beach. Then there have been those who have discovered birdwatching, either by design or luck – the latter contributed to in no small part locally by the sweeping starling murmurations that accompany winter sunsets between the piers – fungi-foraging, stargazing, frisbee… the list goes on. But the fact is our outdoors freedom is still severely curtailed and will remain so for some weeks with restrictions put in place to help check the spread of coronavirus not being fully lifted until June 21 at the earliest. So those pursuits that can be accomplished solo are likely to remain our only respite from the crushing monotony of being stuck in the same place for months on end. While there is some light at the end of the tunnel for those who play basketball, tennis and golf, many of the team sports enjoyed by vast swathes of the community look set to remain off-limits at least until May, but in the following pages we have some tips from the experts on keeping up team morale and how to continue ‘outdoor’ pursuits in other ways. We also look at how to enhance the solo walking or running experience, offer some suggestions of things to look forward to and generally bring the great outdoors to the pages of this magazine.

“We can all benefit from some of the healthgiving properties of water to swim in, jump in, splash our friends with or sit beside and reflect on life”

PHOTOGRAPHY BY TOM SELMON, WWW.TOMSELMON.COM WORDS FROM THE MINDFUL ART OF WILD SWIMMING BY TESSA WARDLEY, PUBLISHED BY LEAPING HARE PRESS.

has become a new haven for many people. Denied what are, for many in our LGBTQ+ community, the natural social hubs of bars, clubs and restaurants, refuge instead has been sought in the companionship afforded by being allowed to meet friends and relatives outside in the sunshine.


ONE OF THE FLOCK ON SHEEPCOTE VALLEY, ABOVE EAST BRIGHTON PARK. PIC CRED: STEPHEN WRENCH - INSTAGRAM @ANURBANSHEPHERD

20 Scene 20 Gscene

NOT A BAAAD JOB STEPHEN WRENCH BY STEPHEN WRENCH INSTAGRAM @ANURBANSHEPHERD

Stephen Wrench chats to Jaq Bayles about his work as a volunteer urban shepherd with the city council ) What does the role

entail? I’m a lookerer, one of the volunteer shepherds who help look after flocks of sheep grazed by Brighton & Hove City Council. First job on any shift: check the sheep and get them walking. Are they limping or suffering any other malaise? Sheep sometimes get stuck in brambles, searching for tender shoots. They have to be cut out with secateurs because they can otherwise die within hours, simply because they literally can’t see a way out. All fences have to be checked, particularly the electric fence powered by a car battery that keeps the sheep in and dogs out. Occasional electric shocks are part of the job. Water troughs need to be checked and, if necessary, refilled from the on-site bowser. Serious problems are reported to the farmer who owns the sheep. Otherwise I text the council ranger at the end of the shift. How did you get involved? A friend heard about a strange council project involving sheep and said: “You have to do this!” I didn’t know the first thing about sheep but I loved the idea of being an urban shepherd.

There was a course not long after, so I applied. What sort of training is involved? There’s a day of instruction on how to check the electric fences, how to handle sheep, why the project is important and what the legal position is if, for example, there’s an attacking dog harming the sheep. How long have you been doing it? Eight years. The project has been going for 13 years and is unique in using volunteers to keep it going. Where do you do it? Mostly, I volunteer on Sheepcote Valley in east Brighton, just behind where I live. The sheep are moved from one patch of grazing to another as they nibble their way through the edibles. At the moment, I’m also on duty with a flock below the racecourse. Do you need special skills? Just a willingness to be outside in the most inclement of conditions. That and infinite patience with sheep and their peculiar ways. What about it appeals to you most? The sheer connection to the outdoors and to the flock. And then there’s the sense of doing something – however small – for the planet. The council grazes the sheep to eat back

invasive species such as brambles, allowing the return of indigenous plants. One is the Kidney Vetch, with its small yellow flowers, a favourite food for caterpillars of the smallest butterfly in Europe, with the endearing Latin name of Cupido Minimus. It too has returned in numbers. All because of the sheep. Do you do it rain or shine? The worse the weather the more important it is to check the sheep! There’s a rota with morning and afternoon shifts, so that the flock is checked by volunteers twice a day. I always do evenings, going up an hour or so before sunset, whatever the conditions. What sort of clothing do you need to wear? Tough, outdoor gear, preferably resistant to brambles and emphatically resistant to whatever the weather can provide. Shorts are to be avoided at all costs. Walking shoes are essential. I always carry work gloves in case a sheep needs to be handled.

“It’s the most extraordinary privilege, a link to the shepherds who’ve done this job for hundreds of years. My mental health can be variable, but once out on the Downs, everything else fades away” Do you get attached to the sheep? My job isn’t supposed to be at all sentimental: some 95% of all sheep grazed in Britain end up being someone’s dinner and it’s important to remember that. There was a bossy pair of sheep last summer who seemed to fuss around the rest of the flock, so I named them the Misses Fleece. Embarrassing, but true. Does it benefit your mental health? It’s the most extraordinary privilege, a link to the shepherds who’ve done this job for hundreds of years. My mental health can be variable, but once out on the Downs, everything else fades away. I’m 60; there’s no doubt that physically I’m a fitter man through doing this work.

SNOWY SHEEP ON TENANTRY DOWN AT THE TOP OF BEAR ROAD IN BRIGHTON,. PIC CRED: STEPHEN WRENCH - INSTAGRAM @ANURBANSHEPHERD

Any funny stories to recount? The sweetest sheep are the most trouble. Herdwicks, more usually found on Lakeland Fells, are the most mischievous. One recently jumped a high fence and headed - of course for dense scrub in search of something tender to munch. I attempted to emulate my professional counterparts who can direct sheep with just a few whistles. Naturally, that provoked only disdain in the sheep and amusement in passersby who happily then joined me in physically persuading the escapee back over the fence to join the rest of her flock. Most memorable moments? Every shift has its memorable moments, whether it’s stoic sheep in the snow or seeing the flock in the soft beauty of a summer’s evening. There’s nothing to beat lambing time though, and the way the other sheep cluster around to protect the new arrivals. Often, there’s a ram on sentry duty, stamping a foot as a warning to stay away from the lambs. i Follow Stephen @anurbanshepherd


Scene 21

“Embracing the elements and connecting with nature is great for our wellbeing, and one of the simplest ways to do that is by walking” the cycling leaders the opportunity to think up new rides. Overall the pandemic has, in fact, been good for cycling in Brighton & Hove in various ways and this might bring about some growth in the group on the other side. Alison Field, organiser of the BLAGSS Walking group:

Out & About

Whatever your sport, the Brighton LGBTQ+ Sports Society (BLAGSS) has you covered! Sport and social group BLAGSS aims to encourage LGBTQ+ people to play sport. Walking, running and cycling have been the main forms of exercise it has been able to continue throughout the pandemic. Viv Woodcock-Downey, BLAGSS’ publicity officer, asked the organisers of these sports what is so great about outdoor-based activities. Conor Sheehan of BLAGSS Running group: What does the concept of the great outdoors mean to runners? The weekly training sessions are opportunities to improve fitness, make friends and enjoy the parklands and green spaces of Brighton and Sussex. The Saturday meetings combine camaraderie and healthy competition in a diverse and inclusive environment. While Preston Park acts as a base, activities take place on the South Downs, from Hollingbury Fort to Devil’s Dyke. For some, running in the countryside offers a sense of freedom and escape from work or domestic routine. New routes discovered by members running alone are shared and kept in the ‘treasure trove’ of new places the group can visit in the future What has it meant to runners during the pandemic? While the pandemic has necessitated many curtailments to everyone’s freedom, the beautiful countryside has continued to beckon to us, offering a welcome space to run, relax and reflect. What have you done to try to keep your sport going and people interested? The spirit of support continues and they have found ways to continue connecting. Running routes, times, photos and videos are shared on social media and individual achievements are celebrated. What are you planning to do to ‘relaunch’? Keeping in touch during lockdown is important to encourage each other to remain active. When the lifting of restrictions appears imminent,

a ‘back to the track’ training scheme will be provided so members can prepare further for returning to our sessions. It is likely only smaller exercise clusters will be permitted initially, so more convenors will be needed to support training within each of these groups, but this should not be an issue. Dee Lewis and Patrick James of BLAGSS Cycling group: What does the concept of the great outdoors mean to cyclists? It is many things, but an important one is exploration and discovery. Actually, we could talk about the little outdoors, because on a bicycle even small trips around areas that you thought you knew can bring discoveries. You are engaged with the environment and your senses are alive so you see things you never saw before, have experiences that you’d never have in a car. If, for example, you are passing some cows in a field you can stop and they will come over to ‘talk’ with you. It is a small but lovely experience. What has it meant to cyclists during the pandemic? The pandemic has been a mixture of good and bad for BLAGSS cyclists. The stricter lockdowns stopped cycling in groups, but then in the summer of 2020 there was a more relaxed period and cyclists were able to ride in groups of up to six. Those were great because there was so much less traffic on the roads. What have you done to try to keep your sport going and people interested? WhatsApp has become essential for keeping the group going. It is good for information and updates about rides but also for maintaining a sense of community and keeping people engaged. They still go out riding on their own and they send pics to the WhatsApp group, which is fun and motivating. We are still a cycling group even when we are not cycling as a group. What are you planning to do to ‘relaunch’? The space created by the pandemic has given

What does the concept of the great outdoors mean to walkers? Embracing the elements and connecting with nature is great for our wellbeing, and one of the simplest ways to do that is by walking: it’s free and requires no special equipment or training. You can walk almost anywhere and at any time, so it’s easy to fit into your everyday life. Even in or near the city you can enjoy the outdoors by walking on the Downs, in woodland or along the coast. What has it meant to walkers during the pandemic? Recreational walking is a relatively low-risk activity when it comes to Covid-19, so finding time to walk outside, even on the greyest days, is a great way to be active while getting some fresh air. And because we must stay local, we have the chance to slow down and take interest in the small details. What have you done to try to keep your sport going and people interested? At times of fewer restrictions we’ve been permitted to offer walks for groups of up to six. Even during lockdowns, our members have been able to meet up for a local walk with one person from another household. We’ve also been sharing walk photos, links and route suggestions with each other on our WhatsApp and Facebook groups. What are you planning to do to ‘relaunch’? We offer a wide range of group walks and we’ll start them up again as soon as allowed. We’ve introduced some extra precautions to ensure group walks are both Covid-safe and enjoyable. Maybe we’ll be able to organise one of our walking weekends this year – fingers crossed. Anyone interested in getting involved in BLAGSS can try a sport for free with a one-day membership (court fees may apply). D To take part, visit the relevant sport page on the website (www.blagss.org) and message the organiser.


22 Scene

that are still the inspiration for the garden today, maintaining a wonderful freshness.

Gardener’s Delight

Laurie Lavender recommends some of Sussex’s outdoor spaces to lift the spirits when lockdown ends ) I was thinking recently of places I would like

to go when we are able to get out and about safely again and one of them, even though I have been before, is Great Dixter, the garden designed by Christopher Lloyd, which is just off the A28 at Northiam just inside East Sussex.

in for the road to the Palace of Mopu in the Himalayas! I worked there for a short time on the gardening team. We opened for six weeks a year, four in spring for the camelias, rhododendrons, azaleas and bluebells, and two weeks in the autumn for the colours when the trees turned.

I first heard about this wonderful garden when I was working at Leonardslee back in the 1970s. I was reminded about Leonardslee while watching the original film version of Black Narcissus that was on over Christmas. It’s hard to believe that West Sussex could stand

Anyway, back to Great Dixter and Christopher Lloyd. I was given his book, The Well-Tempered Gardener (without irony I might add), and was blown away by his use of colour when planting his beds. He was quite happy to break ‘the rules’ and create vibrant clashes and textures

Christopher had grown up at Great Dixter, the house had been renovated and extended by Edwin Lutyens, an architect from the Arts & Crafts movement responsible for the Cenotaph in London, Lindisfarne Castle renovations and also many buildings in New Delhi. Christopher’s mother, Daisy, was a keen gardener and had introduced him to Gertrude Jekyll, a British horticulturalist who had created gardens all over the UK, Europe and America. Her own house, Munstead Wood near Godalming (designed by Lutyens), is privately owned, but there are open days when the public can visit the garden she designed. In the opposite direction, the village of Winchelsea has open days in the spring and the summer but I don’t know if any dates have been provisionally allocated this year. I was chatting with a friend of mine who works


Scene 23

at Charleston Farmhouse and Garden and they are hoping to open the gardens at least in the spring, hopefully around Easter. Their website is www.charleston.org.uk, so all information will be on there (see also p40 of this issue for more about Charleston and the Bloomsbury Set). I also hear there is a new exhibition that is being prepared. Of course, after learning all about the Bloomsbury Set you can travel the short distance to St Michael’s and All Angels Church at Berwick to see the paintings by Duncan Grant, Vanessa Bell and Quentin Bell.

“[Christopher Lloyd was] quite happy to break ‘the rules’ and create vibrant clashes and textures that are still the inspiration for the garden today, maintaining a wonderful freshness”

I normally take a packed lunch to eat before I return back. NB: if it is a hot day take plenty of sunscreen and plenty of water as there is little shade on this walk.

HAZELPITS REGULARS - SUE, PETER & JOHN. IN 1979/80 PIC: PETER M

The other place I find I am looking forward to going back to when the weather is more clement is the walk from Patcham across the Downs to the Ditchling Post. This walk takes you past the Chattri and affords great vistas northward over the Weald. The Chattri is where the bodies of Hindu and Sikh soldiers who had died fighting in World War One were taken to be cremated. Their ashes were then scattered in the English Channel. The monument was actually built in 1920 from Sicilian marble and ‘officially’ unveiled in February 1921 by Edward, Prince of Wales (later Edward VIII).


BRIGHTON & HOVE WOMEN'S RUNNING CLUB

20 Scene 24 Gscene

group activities when lockdown regulations are lifted, ranging from outdoor strength and conditioning classes, to beginners’ groups and a buddy scheme to help people find plus one partners for running. The group prides itself on being a space for all self-identifying women, with Helena and club chair, Imogen Wallace, saying the club will continue to provide a safe space during the pandemic: “Overall, this period has reinforced to members how crucial running is to mental and physical wellbeing and we will continue to strive to be an inclusive club which encourages all women to start running.”

Activity for All

Rachel Badham talks to Brighton & Hove’s outdoor organisations about sporting inclusivity and staying active during the pandemic ) Organisations which provide outdoor

activities, ranging from team sports such as football to group walks and runs, are integral to Brighton & Hove’s community. While coronavirus has severely limited our ability to interact with one another and do social activities, it has also encouraged many to explore the great outdoors and incorporate more exercise into their daily routine. More than ever, people are trying to get active and are taking care of their physical and mental wellbeing. However, LGBTQ+ people are more likely to feel discouraged from joining outdoor groups than their cis-het counterparts, as prejudice continues to be all too common in the sporting world. A 2019 study by Outsport found 16% of LGBTQ+ respondents had negative experiences in sporting groups, with an even greater number of trans people reporting harassment. The majority of the victims said the abuse came from their own team members or other group participants. LGBTQ+ people may feel excluded from outdoor spaces in general as, historically, they have experienced disparities between their

) Another local running club, designed with

private and public life due to being unable to live openly. A new project, the LGBTQ+ Outdoor Equality Index, aims to increase data surrounding the outdoor experience of queer people. It said: “LGBTQ+ people lack representation, access, safety, opportunity, and overall visibility in the outdoors and in most diversity initiatives.” As LGBTQ+ people may struggle to participate in group activities, a handful of our city’s most inclusive sporting groups spoke to Scene about how they’ve been encouraging all members to stay active during these trying times. ) Helena Warburton, secretary of Brighton &

Hove Women’s Running Club, said although the pandemic hindered group activity, the organisation is continuing to support women in the area by creating online networks and promoting the mental health benefits of exercise: “We’ve been encouraging daily dancing by posting dance tracks, and checkingin individually with vulnerable members. Our online network has been a place for members to get encouragement from others on days when staying active is proving challenging.” The club is also able to offer socially distanced

LGBTQ+ people in mind is Brighton & Hove Frontrunners, which was established in 2018. Club marketing officer James Barron said the club’s aim is to be as inclusive as possible, and create a space “where everyone can feel comfortable to be who they are without judgement”. Despite the pandemic, Frontrunners has continued to help its members stay active: “We’ve run online Zoom fitness classes, and we have a very lively WhatsApp group so used this to check in with each other. We even did an 18-hour continuous virtual relay around Brighton & Hove.” James pointed out that LGBTQ+ people often feel marginalised from sports, saying: “Queer people often feel apprehensive, nervous or hesitant about partaking in sport – perhaps due to bad experiences in the past, or negative memories of PE lessons in school, or even just not knowing where to find specific LGBTQ+ sports groups.”

FRONTRUNNERS

However, Frontrunners wants to help LGBTQ+ people reap the physical and mental benefits of running, as well as create a sense of community. James says that everyone is welcome at the club, and once lockdown restrictions are eased, running is due to recommence: “We are hoping to be able to resume our weekly Wednesday Club Runs, Saturday Park Runs and social events as soon as we possibly can. We are optimistic about the coming year and many of us have already signed up for lots of races. We’ve also got some exciting plans for some additional sessions so watch this space!” ) For those who are wanting more gentle

exercise, Brighton & Hove Healthwalks, which is part of the city’s Healthy Lifestyle programme, could be the perfect option. Shanni Collins, walk leader, said Healthwalks is great for beginners, and despite lockdown ceasing group activity, members have continued to participate in individual walking challenges: “Our walks are led by volunteer leaders and have a focus on socialising and getting some


HEALTHWALKS

) As well as walking and running groups,

Brighton is home to a handful of inclusive t eam sports organisations. Brighton & Hove Cricket Club colts manager, Peter Underwood, said local cricketers have remained active during the pandemic, with a busy summer season: “In the summer, we played a lot of friendly games with different clubs – we’ve done a lot since last April. Our autumn net practices then saw 75 sign up with a mixture of boys and girls from all age groups, training four nights a week.” The club encourages people from all backgrounds to participate and promotes the wellbeing of its members: “We’re a very

community-driven club, we’re fully inclusive of all people and we try to get as much cricket and social activity in. It’s so important for the wellbeing of children and adults, and getting them all back into training was brilliant.” Peter also highlighted the importance of physical activity and how sports can be a mode of social support, particularly during the pandemic: “When my 12-year-old son could meet up with his friends and start playing cricket again after lockdown, you could see him brighten up. It’s about physical activity but also about wellbeing.”

Once lockdown is over, the club intends to start up again, welcoming everyone to get involved and join the community: “We all miss the social side and the community hub, we’re all very much looking forward to that coming back. Once we’re allowed to, there’ll be one hell of a party.” ) The city is also home to Brighton &

To anyone thinking about starting cricket, Peter added: “We’ll start again as soon as we can. We welcome everyone with open arms.” ) For those into something a bit more rough

and tumble, Brighton is home to a smattering of rugby groups. Geraldine Brown, chair of Hove Rugby Club, explained how the club has been running throughout the pandemic, but the contact element of the sport means adjustments had to be made to adhere to social distancing measures. As the contact

Hove Sea Serpents Rugby Club, which was founded in 2015. Chairman Ian Chaplin said the organisation aims to provide a space for LGBTQ+ players. Like Hove Rugby Club, the Sea Serpents has been unable to play during the pandemic, but Ian said they are continuing to give players help with their personal exercise and nutrition goals. The club is run by LGBTQ+ staff, and welcomes people of all sexualities and gender identities: “We are not just gay men, we welcome everyone who can play on our sides or support on the touchline, we want all people to socialise together and learn about each other to create a better society.” BRIGHTON & HOVE SEA SERPENTS

Shanni has found Healthwalks has not just provided physical benefits for its members, but has helped their mental wellbeing and created a sense of community, particularly for LGBTQ+ people: “Some of our walkers have been with us for years, and they have created really amazing supportive communities, helping each other through bereavements, relationship break-ups and illness. Our regular walkers consistently tell us the walks have hugely improved their physical, mental and social health.” After the current lockdown is lifted, the group plans to “get the walks reignited and welcome the community back”, with everyone of all orientations and identities being invited to join in.

The club has various groups for people of all ages and identities, and hopes to promote physical wellbeing for all its members, with Geraldine saying how important this has been throughout lockdown: “I spoke to a mother of a couple of members of our youth group. She said how important physical activity has been throughout lockdown and how pleased she is that her kids are involved in sport; it gave them a routine and an outlet.”

BRIGHTON & HOVE CRICKET CLUB

Healthwalks also has a group specifically for LGBTQ+ identifying people, which was set up in September 2020 and has seen great success. Led by Shanni and Viv Woodcock-Downey, LGBTQ+ Healthwalks is “a safe space for social interaction and welcoming to people who feel socially excluded... Members of our LGBTQ+ group have said it is very inclusive and helps with their anxiety. They have found it nice to feel connected and to be given the opportunity to socialise, and it comes with the benefits of good conversation, fresh air and great views.” LGBTQ+ Healthwalks also hopes to continue working alongside groups such as LGBTQ Carers, Trans Can Sport and The Rainbow Hub.

element of the game has been reduced, it’s a great opportunity for beginners to get involved without feeling daunted: “In a time when we couldn’t play contact, a lot of new members have joined as they don’t have to jump straight into playing contact sport, which gives them time to learn the lower level skills and techniques.”

HOVE RUGBY CLUB - WOMEN'S

gentle to moderate exercise. We have kept people walking through our Lockdown Walking Challenge, which saw 150 people take part and walk a grand total of 7,000 miles.”

Scene 25


Historically, LGBTQ+ people have been excluded from team sports, which led to the first inclusive rugby team in 1995, with the Sea Serpents continuing to promote tolerance and acceptance in the sport. Ian said: “There is clear academic research indicating LGBTQ+ people feel excluded from team sport. This begins at school, and is a major reason for the starting of gay and inclusive rugby in 1995 with the formation of the Kings Cross Steelers in London. The problem is, if you don’t learn a sport at the same time as your peers, it’s very hard to start at all. This is where we as a gay and inclusive club give a real benefit. Unlike local rugby clubs all over the country, we are more used to welcoming new players often way past university age, who haven’t played before.” The club has a handful of events planned in the coming year, with the team going to Birmingham in July to play other inclusive teams. Touch rugby is due to be reinstated in the summer, and Covid depending, the Sea Serpents will be attending Brighton & Hove Pride in August. Ian said as soon as the coronavirus restrictions are lifted, the group will be getting together for “a cold beer and a catch up”. ) Brighton & Hove Albion football club is

Despite coronavirus restrictions, the group is continuing to help all local people harvest the benefits of staying active: “Throughout 2020 we’ve managed to deliver nearly 350,000 minutes of online support, and the benefits

include lower blood pressure, improved sleep, stronger bones and improved mood. Alongside this, we find just as important are the social connections and interactions our participants get from coming together as a group to play sport.” Paul hopes the pandemic has encouraged more people to take care of their physical wellbeing, and hopes as many people as possible will get involved in Albion in the Community: “If there can be something positive to come from the coronavirus pandemic then I really hope it’s a greater understanding and appreciation for the benefits of organised sport and being physically active.” ) As Brighton is situated on the coast, many

local people’s exercise of choice is swimming. Out to Swim Brighton is a swimming group inclusive of LGBTQ+ people; part of a larger London based club, it encourages people of all abilities, body types, genders and sexualities to get active. Club representative Iain Gowers said during the pandemic the sea became the group’s new swimming pool, and members continued to support one another: “The whole club has really come together to support each other in this difficult time. We have multiple events online each week, including swimspecific exercises and fitness. There are also socials, quizzes and talks. We even had a virtual Pride Month during the summer.” Swimming comes with a handful of health

benefits, with Iain saying: “There is a strong link between exercise and cold water immersion and mental health,” adding that the group’s focus is on personal improvement and supporting fellow members. LGBTQ+ people are often excluded from the benefits swimming can bring, which Out to Swim hopes to change: “Historically swimming has been primarily a male-focused activity, and swimming clubs can come across as internally competitive with many LGBTQ+ people then feeling left behind. It’s important that, as LGBTQ+ people, we are part of a new movement of older people who have recently rediscovered sports, and we are able to offer an inclusive environment regardless of identity, orientation or body type.” Once the current lockdown is lifted, the group aims to get back to swimming as soon as possible, with plans to increase its range of sea swimming activities and launch development lessons for beginners.

Get Involved ) Brighton & Hove Women’s Running Club:

email secretary.bhwrc@gmail.com, or visit www.bhwrc.org ) Brighton & Hove Frontrunners: email

brightonandhovefrontrunners@gmail.com, or visit www.bhfrontrunners.org.uk ) Brighton & Hove Healthwalks: email

healthylifestyles@brighton-hove.gov.uk, or visit www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/health-walks ) Brighton & Hove Cricket Club: email

colts@brightonandhovecricket.co.uk for the youth programme, or visit www. brightonandhovecricketclub.co.uk/contact for a full list of club contacts ) Hove Rugby Club: email claire.slater@

hoverugby.club or geraldine.brown@ hoverugby.club

) Brighton & Hove Sea Serpents RFC: email

info@bhssrfc.com or visit www.bhssrfc.com ) Albion in the Community: email paul.

williams@albioninthecommunity.org.uk, or visit www.albioninthecommunity.org.uk ) Out to Swim: visit

www.outtoswim.org/brighton OUT TO SWIM BRIGHTON

arguably Brighton’s most well-known sporting group. Albion in the Community is the official charity of The Albion and uses the “global appeal of football” to support the local community. Paul Williams, head of community programmes, said the organisation hopes to break down the barriers which may prevent people, such as LGBTQ+ communities, from getting active: “Our role is to make it as easy as possible for people to engage and to break down any barriers that might be in their way so everyone can benefit from playing sport and being physically active. We use our platform to tackle discrimination, anti-social behaviour and promote positive mental health.”

BRIGHTON & HOVE ALBION FC

Scene 26 Gscene 22


20 Gscene

Scene 27

Freeing the mind Vajrasati yoga teacher Alistair McCall outlines the benefits of meditation along with some basic steps for the practice Meditation can be defined as concentration. Not the sort of concentration you might apply to solving a problem, but rather a light, bright attention to your inner state. There are many benefits from meditating regularly. Stated conservatively, you will experience an increased sense of peace and wellbeing. If you continue in your practice you may notice that your daily life begins to feel richer and more vivid.

Healing Properties of the World Around Us

Richard Jeneway offers some simple suggestions for using nature to improve mental and physical health ) Yesterday, while walking my dogs along the

undercliff at Rottingdean, I took a moment to enjoy a glimpse of wintry sunshine, feeling its warmth on my face while inhaling the saltladen air. At the same time I was regaled by the plaintive call of a curlew wading in the rockpools – a sound seasonably linked in my mind to winter, but in the knowledge that spring is on its way. As a blind person my life is auditory, heightening my other senses and making me reliant on sound and smellscapes to understand my surroundings. Before I lost my sight, vision often dominated my other senses.

“Making the most of what is here – whether park, beach or Downs – is paramount to our wellbeing” We are fortunate here in Brighton to have both coastline and a city surrounded by downland forming part of the South Downs National Park. At the time of writing, I am going to stress that we will be limited by travel restrictions for more time to come. So, making the most of what is here – whether park, beach or Downs – is paramount to our wellbeing. It’s worth stopping now and then, whether you’re out for a run or just an amble around your neighbourhood, and taking time to be in the moment. Following an extraordinary winter of lockdown, social isolation and much more, I’ve been keeping in contact with a wide range of people of all ages, some of whom experienced depression for the first time and others a paranoia of becoming infected with Covid. For many emerging from winter alongside Covid feelings of depression remain, but hopefully with the roll out of vaccinations this will get easier. However for some this won’t happen overnight.

I am acutely aware from speaking to a wide range of people in our community that many have a negative outlook, so accessing support from friends and other sources is very important for mental health and wellbeing. Sometimes getting out of our home environment can be achieved with a little encouragement to enjoy the beauty of springtime and putting the dark days of winter behind us. From childhood the spring has always filled me with a sense of excitement and renewal. The swelling buds of hawthorn, the sticky buds of horse chestnuts, the fluffy down of pussy willow, the early wild flowers and the heady fragrance of new season’s grasses along with the lengthening days. Bird song changes from the wintry sound of the territorial robins and gulls to the sound of chattering finches, sparrows and the gentle hum of bees brings a sense of joy. One of the few benefits of the current situation is that many have discovered what is local and on their doorstep.

“As a blind person my life is auditory, heightening my other senses and making me reliant on sound and smellscapes to understand my surroundings” Yoga and meditation are part of my own routine. With the warmer and longer days ahead, maybe find a place in a local park or within your local area and take time to sit under a tree and clear your mind of chatter and random thoughts. Learning to meditate has heightened my sense of self but, more importantly, my surroundings. The learnt ability to focus with a clear mind is a result of some very simple steps in meditation. I’ve asked a dear friend to make a contribution to this piece, enjoy reading and try the practice.

Happily, you don’t have to fold yourself into a pretzel shape to practise meditation. The actual practice is very simple. In the Satipatthana sutra, the Buddha’s advice is straightforward: Find a tree (or quiet space), sit with the body upright, and observe the breath. Try it. Find a time when you have 15 minutes to yourself. Sit comfortably with eyes gently closed and the spine straight – a hardback chair is fine – breathe freely and watch what arises within your mind and body. It could be a thought, a feeling, a sensation, or something else entirely. Most people’s minds struggle to accept that anything that offers a great benefit can also be this easily achieved. For this reason, people often worry that they ‘aren’t doing it right’. That’s where trust comes in. Trust whatever it is you are noticing, keep your attention on it and see what it does. There’s no need to describe the feeling to yourself or create an inner commentary on it. Just let it be what it is. Give it total acceptance. And, when the next thing pops into your head, do the same with that. You might notice in time that the space in-between things ‘coming up’ increases. At some other point, your mind will probably stray. Mine does. This is normal and fine. Bring your attention back to the breath. Don’t worry about it. It is only by redeploying the energy we lose to the various distractions of everyday life that we get to focus on our true selves for a while. I sometimes speak to people who have the impression that their meditation has been unsuccessful unless it is a profound spiritual experience. The truth is that, for many people, most of the time, meditation is not like that at all. This is because when we meditate, we move beyond what we sometimes refer to these days as the ego, which is essentially a collection of stories we have constructed about ourselves. It is this ego that is gratified when we feel a sense of achievement. Surprisingly, it is this break from the need to achieve or ‘be something’ that, for many people, can be the most compelling aspect of meditation. Meditation is unconditional love applied to every aspect of our being. No wonder it does us so much good.


PHOTOGRAPHY BY TOM SELMON, WWW.TOMSELMON.COM WORDS FROM THE MINDFUL ART OF WILD SWIMMING BY TESSA WARDLEY, PUBLISHED BY LEAPING HARE PRESS.

“Swimming alone in the exclusivity of unbroken water is sublime. It encourages you to consider new ideas and swim towards new territories; you expand your horizons, face new experiences and find new joys”


DAVE LYNN. PHOTO BY TOM SELMON WWW.TEMSELMON.COM

Scene 30 Gscene 20

became my party piece. I would go behind the door and my brother would give me light with a torch, and often take the piss. When I finished the family would sit there and applaud. I never dressed up at that point though. It never crossed my mind. Then one day my friend from school encouraged me to go and do the talent contest at The Black Cap,” Dave recalls. The gay scene was very different in the 1970s and 80s, clandestine and often underground ensuring safety was paramount, and putting aside the obvious dangers from society more broadly, Dave remembers the fear of being a young and naive gay person and having to be constantly cautious: “I was scared. There were all types of perverts around. It was all new to me. When you’re young, you’re very impressionable. Looking back now it’s horrifying to think of some of the situations I was in. Thankfully I am able to look back.”

“Everyone wanted to play the Vauxhall. I was hoping I didn’t because I was scared of falling off the bar”

DAVE LYNN - A LIVING LEGEND Jason Reid catches up with the iconic Dave Lynn, who has just celebrated 45 years of treading the boards ) Born and raised in Hackney, London, Dave

Lynn is a living drag legend. Pure and simple. An artist that has stood the test of time, and then some. Ordinarily when people talk of legends in a particular field of artistry they talk of those who have been pivotal players and have passed away. There are very few living drag artists who are held up in such high esteem by fans and peers alike. Now in his fifth decade of performing, there’s no sign of Dave slowing down. And why should he when gigs are still coming in? I spoke to him recently during lockdown and, as always, he was charming and witty, full of showbiz stories, punctuating sentences with a cheeky laugh. “It really doesn’t feel that long. Obviously it’s

been my whole life but everything changes so quickly on the scene, and the last decade was quicker than ever. Where did it go? I’m hoping to have a proper celebration in-person when we’re out of all this [pandemic].” Dave Lynn first set foot on a stage in November 1975 at the young age of 17 when he entered a talent competition at the greatly idolised London cabaret venue that is no more, The Black Cap in Camden. “It all started with me falling in love with Liza Minnelli, the film Cabaret, and the song Liza with a ‘Z’, and also watching Shirley Bassey perform. When I was very young I would DJ at family parties at home, and it was then that I realised I had a knack for lip syncing, so it

“I never knew what I was when I was very young, I just knew there was something different about me because I wasn’t like the rest of my friends. When I went to The Black Cap that night I was chatted up, admired, and something clicked. It was a huge learning experience. Those days were about chatting up and foreplay. It was a lovely underground thing, not many people knew about it. Sunday nights at The Black Cap featured the crème de la crème of drag: Hinge & Bracket, The Harlequins, Disappointer Sisters to name but a few; you always had to queue to get in there. The Harlequins were mentors to me in the early days, they taught me a lot about make-up and glamour. Alistair and I were very close; we were kind of in a relationship for a bit.” Seeing Dave perform it’s apparent that he has a natural flair, something very special; it’s almost as though he was made to be a drag queen, yet it was something that he never in his wildest dreams imagined doing when he was that young boy performing to just his family.

DAVE LYNN. PHOTO BY TOM SELMON WWW.TEMSELMON.COM

Soon after that first performance at The Black Cap, Dave found himself in the presence of the drag greats of the time. “I was starstruck many times. Especially by Mark Fleming; he was quite something to a young guy like me. Mark was an act that would go among the audience, you know the type, he really frightened people, and he also said he was best friends with the Queen Mum – that story got me at such a young age “Mrs Shufflewick was barely audible most of the time, but I was totally in awe of her; I remember one time she was lying on the floor flat-out backstage and the compère called her name; when she got up I said, ‘Do you want me to do the back of your hair?’ to which she curtly replied, ‘Oh no, no-one touches that, dear’. She then went on and did her whole set and when she came off she lay back down on the floor and fell straight back to sleep again.” Dave’s love for drag is apparent when you talk


Gscene Scene 21 31 DAVE LYNN. PHOTO BY TOM SELMON WWW.TEMSELMON.COM

“It really doesn’t feel that long. Obviously it’s been my whole life but everything changes so quickly on the scene, and the last decade was quicker than ever. Where did it go?”


DAVE LYNN. PHOTO BY TOM SELMON WWW.TEMSELMON.COM

22 Gscene

to him; that passion continues to burn deep: “Drag is a special kind of magic. What I love is the different types of characters that stick in your mind. The Trollettes were very important, and Topping & Butch, Phil Starr, Nicky Young, Hinge & Bracket and Adrella. I’ve been very lucky to do all of this, and feel very grateful.”

the Vauxhall. I was hoping I didn’t because I was scared of falling off the bar. When I did eventually play there – on the stage, not the bar – it was Pat and Breda McConnon (RVT landlord and landlady at the time) who got me properly into glamour when they asked me to host a sort of Mr Gay UK contest”

As well as playing alongside the greatest drag artists, Dave found himself playing the great venues that catered specifically to gay drag and cabaret; places that served as safe havens and creative community hubs for gay and trans people – some of which are still going strong to this very day.

“I absolutely love and admire the new acts of today. I look at some younger artists and think they shouldn’t do this and that because it’s a bit dangerous, but then I was told I was dangerous years ago. If you’re not And now that Dave is, in his own words, “a dangerous, you’re boring” grandmother of drag”, what does he think of

DAVE LYNN WITH MICHAEL TOPPING, HIS PARTNER FOR SEVEN YEARS

Opportunities have come Dave’s way throughout his career that were very rare in the drag world at the time, breaking through to the mainstream was not a given, only afforded to a select few drag artists of his generation and generations immediately before and after – there were no Drag Race golden tickets offering instant fame every year. Dave worked hard to be seen as a ‘serious actor’ and as such has been cast in numerous TV shows and films – most famously Beautiful Thing, Silent Witness, Coronation Street. But at what price comes fame? “A lot of painful things start happening when you get very successful; people can be very cruel. Then there was the loss of my parents. You know... people change. And I know I certainly used alcohol a lot when I was miserable. Which sometimes was, actually sometimes is, still my enemy. But I fight against that. Truly I do. Life hasn’t been that perfect. My parents didn’t want me to go into showbiz because they thought I was too sensitive. And to be honest, I thought they were right at the

the new British drag artists who are fearlessly taking the world by storm? “I absolutely love and admire the new acts of today. I look at some younger artists and DAVE LYNN WITH HIS MUM

“When I was young and getting to know the scene, in my mind there were three royal variety venues: the Royal Vauxhall Tavern – if you got a gig at the Vauxhall it was like getting a huge thumbs up from everyone; The Black Cap, and then joining them later on, the Two Brewers. The Union Tavern was also a big deal at that time – it was almost like a little theatre. But the Vauxhall was the most famous; I remember it being on TV, and seeing Lee Paris performing on the bar. Everyone wanted to play

time. I remember years later when we were all at some do my mum said she felt so guilty for saying that because she thought it prevented me from making it, that I went in the back door – so to speak – and I told her she should never feel guilty. A comic who was present at the time said I was right to go in the back door, performing as a drag artist rather than going to drama school and the like, because that’s how you learn, and I had a niche, I wasn’t just another actor among a sea of actors all vying for the same job. It’s the best way in and you get to understand everything.”


Gscene Scene 23 33

Being a nurturer to young artists who are finding their feet on the scene is something that’s very important to Dave, and he believes that should be standard across the board. That sense of family and belonging has long been a part of the culture of drag: “Maisie Trollette and I used to always - and still do - encourage new acts because the gay and drag scene is a community, it always has been. Some other acts hated us because we were putting on shows to try and find new talent; I even had my own drag academy. I would say to other queens: ‘Darling, if we don’t carry this on, or encourage it as an art form it will die. We need young blood’. At first some were upset because new acts were getting more bookings and they were losing out, but that’s just how life goes. It happened when I was young, and has happened to me as I’ve grown older. We should be all encouraging acts – that’s so vital. I’m thrilled that in this terrible and dark time we are living through right now I can switch on my TV and see a friend or someone I know doing what I do, showcasing drag to a huge audience. That’s incredible.”

“I never knew what I was when I was very young, I just knew there was something different about me because I wasn’t like the rest of my friends.” Now with the world on pause, but with glimmers of light finally shining through, what does the future hold for this giant of the drag world, where will Dave Lynn go from here? “I’ve been asking myself this a lot throughout the lockdowns. When I look back at my career I feel great. Not many people can say that. The age bit I never really understood. I often think of Maisie, who doesn’t care about age and just carries on doing what she loves. But of course not everyone is the same. I think after the pandemic it will be like a new beginning for all of us, when the venues are fully open and lockdowns are a distant memory. I would like to perhaps direct and write. I’d love to write a book. There’s a couple of things I’m currently working on, a documentary being one of them. “I’ve also been thinking more about a book that’s written from the heart – that’s very important to me, it must have real meaning. We’ve got to make things feel good. I’ve obviously got my battles; I’m old now, and there’s younger acts chomping at the bit. I will continue to work thanks to the reputation that I’ve built up over the years through hard work and determination. I can’t do the things I did 30 years ago, but I wanna see it though. Let’s just say that. I’ll continue performing beyond lockdowns and Covid-19. That’s not the way I want to stop, I’ll do it on my terms.” Piece illustrated with photography by Tom Selmon - www.tomselmon.com

DAVE LYNN BACK IN THE DAY

think they shouldn’t do this and that because it’s a bit dangerous, but then I was told I was dangerous years ago. If you’re not dangerous, you’re boring.”


34 Scene

Brighton & Hove Pride 2021 With Brighton & Hove Pride confirmed for August 6-8, 2021 the organisers respond to some questions about the event put by Scene magazine ) How is Brighton & Hove Pride different

to other Prides? Here in Brighton & Hove we have a long history of Pride and are recognised as one of the most welcoming cities in the UK with everyone from local businesses to education hubs and residents really getting behind the celebrations to show off our fine city in the best light. What makes us different from other Prides, and special, is that we have a high-profile city centre parade route that leads directly to

the festival in Preston Park with its multiple sites and entertainment stages, dance tents, cabaret venues, food stalls and so much more. Most other cities in the UK do not have the size and location of facilities to match what we can offer. What is the future of Pride? When we were handed the baton as the organisers of Pride, the event was in dire financial difficulty, many of the themes were somewhat frivolous and there was virtually no campaigning and very little fundraising.

The current pandemic has impacted hugely on charities, community groups and businesses, and importantly on their ability to deliver their services, and Pride is no different. In a normal year we would advocate for community gatherings and events so we can meet, support and celebrate our hard fought for rights, but also campaign for the rights of those marginalised communities at home and abroad who still suffer persecution on a daily basis. We are committed to fighting for the rights of all members of the LGBTQ+ family and standing with those who suffer homophobia, transphobia, biphobia and racism.

BRIGHTON & HOVE PRIDE 2019. PHOTO: JAMES DALY

Under the seven-year tenure of Brighton Pride CIC, we are proud that the organisation has become more financially stable, with a small reserve that enables us to work on the year-round planning process.

“Protest and campaigning will always be at the heart of Pride and we should never forget our roots and continue to fight for marginalised members of our community” Pride by nature has campaigning and protest at its roots, and in the changing political environment must continue to listen and evolve. We must continue, now more than ever, to stand together as one LGBTQ+ community. How can Pride respond to the voiced needs of the community who want a more politicised activist presence to raise legitimate concerns about the current political situation and real equality? Pride means different things to different


BRIGHTON & HOVE PRIDE 2019. PHOTO: JAMES DALY

people. For some, Pride is a celebration of how far we have come, for some it is a protest of issues and rights that still need fighting for and for others it is a combination of the two. Protest and campaigning will always be at the heart of Pride and we should never forget our roots and continue to fight for marginalised members of our community.

Like many charities and local LGBTQ+ organisations, sponsorship has become an essential part of their annual income to help with the ongoing provision of services and certainly we’d not be able to deliver the Pride weekend and see the huge benefits to the city and our fundraising without sponsorship support.

We endeavour to offer a safe space at our events for the whole community to demonstrate how Pride manifests in their life, underpinned by a fundraising mechanism that ensures we can raise money for our local charities and community groups that do such essential work all year round.

We are very mindful that all businesses we engage with must have a serious LGBTQ+ policy and messaging and actively support diversity and inclusion and their LGBTQ+ employees. This also applies to the Pride Community Parade where all entrants must adhere to a comprehensive set of standards.

“We are committed to fighting for the rights of all members of the LGBTQ+ family and standing with those who suffer homophobia, transphobia, biphobia and racism”

We are not interested in companies that just want to push their newest product on our community but we are interested in supporting companies with their LGBTQ+ campaigns and giving visibility to their employees’ networks, and over the last three years several sponsors have agreed to make direct contributions to the Brighton Rainbow Fund.

After Pride’s previous management going bankrupt in 2010, this model was agreed to ensure ongoing funding for our local LGBTQ+ charities, community groups and projects. We are immensely proud to have raised almost £1million in the past seven years that, through the Brighton Rainbow Fund and Pride Social Impact Fund, has directly supported marginalised people through the pandemic as well as throughout the year, and ensured the viability of many of our essential community groups that otherwise would not have survived during this period of austerity and funding cuts from central government. Criticism of some Prides is that they are very corporate. How can Brighton & Hove Pride work in and with the corporate and commercial word to ensure fair treatment of LGBTQ+ people across the world is part of its ethical engagements policy? Historically, Pride organisations have always sought to engage with local groups and businesses to help fund the delivery of events. Indeed, looking back at a Pride programme from 1995 the organisers were looking for support from businesses and ‘big companies’.

Pride has become a beautiful monster, isn’t it about time the city had a more strategic approach to this magnificent beast? As event organisers we totally agree and at our Pride Summit in 2018 specifically put forward the suggestion that there was a citywide strategy for all large events in Brighton & Hove. While we take full responsibility for the safe running and clean-up of all our official event sites, we are not responsible for the whole city and all the visitors that come for the beach and other attractions. Through our CityAngels initiative we already sponsor beach cleans and put in place additional resources for the cleaning of the city’s streets but there clearly needs to be a city-wide strategy for events that attract large crowds such as Pride, the Brighton Marathon and the Brighton Festival, as well as bank holiday weekends and rallies. What advice would you have, as leader of one of the most successful Pride events in Europe, for smaller Prides just starting up? Pride cannot be organised in isolation and

Scene 35

“Pride by nature has campaigning and protest at its roots, and in the changing political environment must continue to listen and evolve. We must continue, now more than ever, to stand together as one LGBTQ+ community” the most important thing we have found is the benefit of positive working relationships with local partners, local authorities, the council, transport providers and blue light services. It is vital that we listen to and engage with the community, local business and their LGBTQ+ employees while being mindful that as your Pride grows there are greater challenges and requirements put in place with cost implications for health and safety, traffic management, transport etc. Having a fundraising plan is also essential. We have found that relying of people to put money in buckets on the day raises very little for charity, in fact the Brighton Rainbow Fund calculated on the day giving at 11p per person, so having some specific ticketed fundraising events allows you to support many more local charities and community groups. Brighton & Hove Pride to return in 2021! Following the roadmap to end lockdown in the UK, Brighton & Hove Pride has announced its 30th anniversary celebrations will be going ahead on the weekend of August 6-8, 2021. More info/tix: www.brighton-pride.org Since 2013, Brighton & Hove Pride has raised just under £1million for LGBTQ+ causes in the city, funds which are distributed by the Brighton Rainbow Fund. Look out for more news on Pride with a full breakdown of its Cultural Development Programme in the next issue. Have your say on the future of Brighton & Hove Pride and WIN VIP tickets to the Pride Festival! Pride is conducting a public survey to get feedback on what you like and don’t like about Brighton & Hove Pride to help them, and their partner agencies, plan for the future. All answers will be anonymous and strictly confidential. Brighton & Hove Pride says: “We value your views and feedbackit helps us change and improve. “We want to ensure we’re doing everything we can to achieve our vision and support LGBTQ+ people during the Festival and throughout the year.” All participants who respond to the survey by April 1 are eligible to be entered into the prize draw for VIP tickets. To complete the survey, visit: www.brighton-pride.org/survey2021


36 Scene been proud of my husband as I’ve watched him listening to a young person’s story, and just being the supportive and caring guy that he is.

Sussex Nightstop Alison Marino is executive director of Brighton-based charity Sussex Nightstop, which co-ordinates volunteer hosts who provide a safe place to stay for people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness a community of volunteers who provide access to a safe, non-judgemental, inclusive place to stay for people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. Its vision is a society where everyone has access to a secure and sustainable home and the opportunity to sleep safe every night. Who does Sussex Nightstop help? Sussex Nightstop provides a safety-net for young people and adults aged 16 upwards in the Brighton & Hove area who may otherwise be forced to sleep rough, with all the risks that go with that, including the very real threat to physical and mental wellbeing. Somewhere safe to sleep is essential. Feeling warm and secure, having a hot meal and being treated with dignity provides people with the rest, energy and confidence with which to access the resources and support necessary to find a safe, longer-term home. Our volunteer hosts provide that. By opening up their spare room for short stays, people can sleep well, share a family meal, access crucial amenities, including somewhere private to wash and, above all, experience kindness in an otherwise bleak situation. The majority of Nightstop guests have either suffered a family or relationship breakdown or breakdown of their tenancy, often brought about by a number of combining pressures, such as financial strain, the challenge of living with poor mental health and a local private rental market increasingly beyond affordability. We also know that some people are more vulnerable than others; worryingly 24% of young homeless people identify as LGBTQ+ with 77% believing that coming out to their parents was the main factor. At Nightstop we also know that guests are individuals – both interesting and interested in life, often working or studying, who have aspirations and plans and who just need a secure place from which to navigate this difficult time in their life.

What difference has Covid-19 made? Covid-19 has brought even more anxiety for those facing or experiencing homelessness. Many families and individuals have faced challenging lockdown circumstances and the end of the furlough scheme and the prospect of a recession on the horizon will only precipitate the issues that place people at risk of homelessness. Never has a community response been so needed and ensuring we have a pool of volunteer hosts ready and waiting is a top priority. That is why we are currently looking for new host households. If you think you could help someone experiencing homelessness through short stays (roughly four to seven nights) then we’d love to hear from you.

“None of this would be possible without the confidence gained through the training Nightstop provides, as well as the support provided when hosting. Advice is always just a phone call away, so you never feel you’re on your own.

“The biggest difference is giving me somewhere safe to be. Not needing to stress and worry about where you are going to sleep that night” – Sussex Nightstop guest “I’d really encourage anyone with the time and space to get involved with Nightstop hosting to give it a go. It really is the most wonderful feeling knowing a young person is safe, wellfed and refreshed because of you and that you’re a part of them finding somewhere to call home. Plus, you get to meet some nice, smart, funny, interesting people along the way.”

Get involved We’re inviting ALL members of our caring and diverse community – all genders, faiths, ethnicities and sexual identities – with a spare room to join our community response to homelessness. If you think the rewarding role of volunteer host is for you then get in touch: www.sussexnightstop.org.uk/contact-us/

DAVID & MARK

) Sussex Nightstop creates and coordinates

“At the start of our journey with Nightstop we wondered how young people would react to being placed with a gay couple, but we quickly learned this wasn’t an issue at all. Young people today just don’t care so much about those things; we’ve just been seen as any other family they may have stayed with, and they’ve all been just as accepting of us as we are of them. And when we’ve had gay or trans young people to stay, it’s taken on an even greater meaning for us, as we’ve been able to do something meaningful for our own community.

David and his partner, Mark, have been hosting with Sussex Nightstop since 2014. David says: “Me and my husband had been looking for a volunteering opportunity for some time when we came across Sussex Nightstop. Our first thought was that it was a brilliant idea, but also a little bit scary. Some of the most rewarding things in life are though, so we decided to give it a shot. “Hosting the 40 or so young people we have taken in so far has been the most rewarding thing we’ve ever done, and has actually brought us together as a couple. I’ve often

Full training, support (including 24-hour oncall service) and nightly hosting expenses are made available to all of our host volunteers. D www.sussexnightstop.org.uk t @SussexNightstop f Sussex Nightstop To make a donation, visit: https://localgiving. org/charity/sussexnightstop/


'TIME OUT' ISSUE FOR GAY PRIDE 1979

ROSE'S STILL-INTACT SOUVENIR BAG FROM GAY PRIDE 1979

Scene 37

The Boy and The Bear As part of her ongoing Arts Council England-funded Forty Years Out (And Counting): Performing The Archive multi-media project, The Boy and The Bear was written, performed, recorded, edited, arranged and produced by Seaford-based performer and writer Rose Collis during the 2020-21 lockdown Funny, provocative and moving, the film includes personal testimony, letters, photographs, diaries, ephemera, news cuttings and others materials from the extensive archive of Rose Collis curated over five decades, plus some of her original music.

several months of watching people do that, I figured that audiences might want something a little more interesting to watch or listen to, and I certainly wanted to work on something more challenging. DAILY MAIL HEADLINE

) The Boy and The Bear was inspired by, and draws on, sections of the research and script development of her new solo stage show (postponed until 2022) — a scripted and performed audio-visual account of the rich personal and political journey taken by Rose Collis and her then closest gay male friend, who both came out in 1978. The personal stories unwind against a social and political backdrop and context of early Gay Pride marches; police harassment; anti-fascist/ anti-racist activism; ‘agit-prop’ gay and feminist theatre; the London lesbian and gay scene and media of the late 1970s and early ’80s; and the first decade of the AIDS crisis — all viewed through the lens of a veteran lesbian writer, performer and activist who participated in, witnessed and chronicled these events.

“After that, it took on a life of its own – and this film is the result. It’s been really exciting to teach myself how to use all this fabulous equipment and software, especially as it presents me with new opportunities to take work to global public audiences, now and in the future. “And I did it all here from my desk at home in Seaford. What’s not to like?

ROSE COLLIS AGED 19 IN 1979

“It’s rather funny how this film came about,” Rose Collis wryly reflects. “Once lockdown came and I had to postpone the stage show, I had to think about delivering different project outcomes. Arts Council England was very flexible about re-purposing my Project Grant to buy relevant equipment.

“I immediately saw the potential of simple audio-visual digital pieces and originally envisaged doing a series of five-minute, ‘straight-to-PC-camera’ vlogs. But then I realised just as quickly how boring that would be for audiences – and for me. I mean, that sort of piece is all well and good, but I think after

“And I’m already planning my next film project – so watch this space.” D To see The Boy and The Bear, visit: https:// youtu.be/g3pNXvMSlRM D www.rosecollis.com SYLVESTER'S PANEL ON THE AIDS QUILT (PHOTO BY ROSE WHEN IT CAME TO LONDON IN THE EARLY 90S)

“So – for less than £500 in total – I bought a complete podcast/audio recording equipment kit; a Canon professional quality digital video camera kit; a digital projector, stand and tripod project screen, and downloaded the free Windows Movie Maker video software and Audacity professional audio recording software.

“I hope what I’ve done inspires other older women artists to be confident about embracing digital equipment and technology to create their work, and tell more women’s stories. We are 51.9% of the population – the majority, treated like a minority, and our histories are so often overlooked, hidden or forgotten.


38 Scene

“I’m a huge fan of the cabaret scene in Brighton and have lived here for 15 years. I love all the performers and somebody gave me an introduction to David, saying he was lovely, colourful, and he let me into his life. I just sort of fell in love with him” the curtain falls. David can be challenging at times and it was an eye-opener, but it’s quite touching in the way he was so open to exposing himself and the frailties of old age.

The Doyenne of Drag Lee Cooper, of Proper Charlie Productions, made “an intimate portrait of ageing and friendship”, following the life of David Raven, the performer behind Maisie Trollette, in the run-up to their 85th birthday. Lee talks to Jaq Bayles about the project ) Britain’s oldest performing drag artiste and

scene treasure Maisie Trollette, aka David Raven, is the subject of a new documentary by Brighton film-maker Lee Cooper, who set out to make a piece of work that addresses the twin concepts of ageing in the LGBTQ+ community and the “dying art” of panto-style drag. Lee describes his 75-minute “passion

project” as: “An intimate portrait of ageing and friendship in the LGBTQ+ community. Viewers can follow David as he counts down to his 85th birthday [in 2018] and all the celebrations on the way. “It’s very much about exploring ageing in the community and it’s a warts-and-all look at that. In some of the backstage footage he was generous enough to let us see everything when

“There are many amazing coming out stories on film, but what about the other end of our experiences? It’s just not sexy – trying to raise money to help make the film was difficult. A lot of younger people in the community think drag is RuPaul and that very British, endof-the-pier, panto-style of drag faces being replaced by pageant queens – which I do think are brilliant – so it’s a dying art form.” In order to complete the documentary Lee and his cameraman, Sam Parsons, and sound expert Shane Gravestock, spent three years “on and off” following the cabaret legend around. Lee picks up the tale from the beginning. “I am relatively new to film-making, my background is in fashion art direction. But I went to film school and as part of the course we were tasked with creating a documentary. A STILL FROM THE FILM


A STILL FROM THE FILM

“I’m a huge fan of the cabaret scene in Brighton and have lived here for 15 years. I love all the performers and somebody gave me an introduction to David, saying he was lovely, colourful, and he let me into his life. I just sort of fell in love with him.

would love to have his involvement in the film and would he record something for David’s birthday? He told us he was going to be in London the next month, had never been to Brighton and would love to come here. The stars aligned.”

“He’s such a character and has led such a colourful life. He was really generous about letting me into his life.

The two artists did a performance together at Legends, but “before they met as their female alter egos they met as men for afternoon tea,” says Lee. “It was the big meeting of the US Pageant Queen with Britain’s Panto Dame.”

At that point Lee only had around four minutes of footage, exclusively put together for his course work, so filming then began in earnest and the ensuing research unearthed an unexpected bonus. “We knew David was the oldest performing drag artiste in Britain, but we wondered if there was anyone older doing the same thing elsewhere in the world.” Guinness World Records put Lee on the trail of Walter Cole, aka Darcelle XV, who “comes from a long line of drag queens”, lives in Portland, Oregon, and is two years older than David. “We contacted Walter when we found out he was the world record holder and said we

While exploring the ageing theme, the documentary doesn’t skimp on the fun stuff either, featuring other well-known cabaret names such as Miss Jason and Dave Lynn, “really exploring how the cabaret community supports and look after David”. Then, of course, there are the songs. Luckily, the BFI Doc Society came on board and helped to pay for the usage of the songs, permission to use them in film not coming cheap. “This means we will be able to distribute the documentary worldwide and everyone will be able to enjoy it. As well as watching behind the scenes they can enjoy the scenes in the cabaret.” Among old favourites that feature are The Lady is a Tramp and the “big finish is one everyone knows and loves him for, If I Never Sing Another Song”, while viewers will catch in the background the likes of Sonia, The Three Degrees and Rozalla. Lee is currently seeking distribution and hopes the documentary will

But the work doesn’t stop there. “We are talking to a number of charities, including the Brighton Rainbow Fund, and are planning on releasing a charity single of The Trollettes singing Two To One, which was written for them. “When we get confirmation of a release date for the film we will release that and hopefully release the soundtrack to the film.” D For more information, visit: www.propercharlieproductions.com LEE COOPER

“When I finished the course I did a complete left turn and made a horror film in Spain. At the premier a director, who is known, came up and said she enjoyed the film but where was the documentary about Maisie? She reignited that interest in me and I realised it had been a scratch I had not quite itched.”

be released in the summer.


40 Scene exploits inspired the sexual revolution of the 1960s, while the bohemian interiors of Charleston went on to inspire many designers. As you’re taking a tour around the house, you’re seeing the original vision that would go on to add a splash of colour and character to homes all over the world. The style of the property is timeless.

Jewel of the South Downs Alex Klineberg gives a tour of Charleston, the Bloomsbury Set’s glamorous country retreat near Firle ) One day, when we emerge from lockdown

with terrible hair and depleted social skills, booking a trip somewhere will be at the top of my list. While travelling abroad might be off the table for the foreseeable, staycations and day trips might be the best we can hope for. One of the best day trips you can take from Brighton is to Charleston in Firle, which was the Sussex home of Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant. It became a country retreat for the Bloomsbury Set, which was a group of writers, artists and intellectuals, many of whom lived in Bloomsbury – yeah, that’s where they got the name.

The London properties of the Bloomsbury Set were destroyed in The Blitz. Charleston is the only Bloomsbury property to survive with the original furnishings intact. And what lovely furnishings they are. Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant were both great designers and artists. Charleston became a life-long artistic project as well as a home. They painted everything themselves, from the fireplace to the dining table. The property has been preserved exactly as they left it. It’s now managed by the National Trust. The Bloosbury Set is credited with helping to eshaping the culture we live in. Their sexual

Beyond the charming furnishings, the stories of what went on in the house are quite something. Your tour guide will fill you in on all the details. Although Duncan Grant and Vanessa Bell lived together and had a child, Grant was openly gay. Social and sexual experimentation were the order of the day among the Bloomsbury Set. Such behaviour was not only allowed, in many cases it was encouraged. The columnist Peter Hitchens has credited the Bloomsbury Set with giving us the liberal sexual politics of today. As Quentin Crisp said, he came from a time that was so conservative, if a girl wanted to wear nail polish she had to leave home for good. The Bloomsbury Set changed all of that. Another Bloomsbury and Charleston luminary was economist John Maynard Keynes. He was also gay, although he would later marry Lydia Lopokova, a Russian ballerina. One day, while sitting on a bench in Charleston garden, he wrote arguably the most important letter in British history. In the letter, he pleaded with the Americans to send financial and military aid to support the fight against Nazi Germany. The letter yielded the desired result, but the British government wouldn’t finish off paying the debt until Gordon Brown was prime minister. This is one of endless Bloomsbury anecdotes you might CHARLESTON STUDIO. PHOTO: PENELOPE FEWSTER


DUNCAN GRANT'S STUDY. PHOTO: PENELOPE FEWSTER

hear as you explore the house. You can even take a selfie on the bench looking all pensive. Virginia Woolf was Vanessa Bell’s sister. She lived in Monk’s House just outside Lewes. She used to walk to Charleston and join her sister’s friends in their bohemian exploits. If you’re really looking to expand your Bloomsbury knowledge, you can also take a trip to what was Virginia’s house, which is nowhere near as interesting as Charleston. If you’re feeling

a little morbid, you can retrace Virginia’s final steps to the River Ouse where she ended her life – it’s just ten minutes from Monk’s House. Anyhow, back to Charleston. As you’ve gathered by now, many of the most influential British figures of the 20th century were regulars at Charleston. Towards the end of her life, Virginia Woolf said to her sister that while she had the fame and the career, Vanessa Bell had the family and the beautiful home.

After lockdown, book a trip to Charleston. The guided tour will take just over an hour. You’ll feel very sophisticated. D www.charleston.org.uk CHARLESTON DINING ROOM. PHOTO LEE ROBBINS

DUNCAN GRANT'S BEDROOM. PHOTO: PENELOPE FEWSTER

You can still see the faded paint on the kitchen table made by decades of elbow marks. It’ll make you wonder about the marks you’ll leave behind. While few of us can hope to leave a mark like the luminaries of the Bloomsbury Set did, visiting Charleston will inspire you to up your game. The Bloomsbury Set may have been overachievers, but they also mastered the art of friendship and good living. “Only connect,” Bloomsbury author EM Forster famously said. And as Virginia Woolf discovered at the end, although she became a legend, she’d probably have traded it all in to live the life her sister had at Charleston.


42 Scene non-binary people together, maybe a livestream – still working on this but check social media and our website for info nearer the time!

The #FvT2021 campaign kicks off the week leading up to Trans Visibility Week on March 31. Natalie Washington, campaign lead, tells us more... ) Organisers of Football v Transphobia (FvT)

are putting the finishing touches to plans for this year’s week of action, which takes place the week leading up to Trans Visibility Week on March 31. Natalie Washington, FvT lead, shares what they’re working on and answers a couple of questions. To keep up to date with plans, visit www.footballvhomophobia.com or follow @FvHtweets on Twitter. • Podcasts with some trans people in football – focusing a lot more on their actual involvement in football than gender stuff, with the idea of inspiring trans and non-binary people, but also portraying us as fully rounded people with lives in the game. Hoping to have players, supporters and people involved in administering or covering the game. • #TransFootyAlly campaign asking for wider participation on social media around the value

of allies, and how the game is enriched by the presence of trans and non-binary people. Idea is to get people to share videos, images etc on social media talking about who they are, what they do in football, and, if they’re an ally, how trans people being in football has enriched their experience, and if they are trans, how being in football has enriched their life. To get involved in this part of the campaign, tweet #TransFootyAlly during the week of action. • We’re looking to share something on the Pathway to Play – outlining the rules for gendered participation, highlighting the difficulties this poses to the non-binary community, and giving a spotlight to the LGBTQ+ and gender inclusive leagues and teams in the UK that welcome trans and non-binary people to play. • Some sort of fun event to get some trans and

FvT KIT

Football v Transphobia

How has the campaign grown since its inception? Football v Homophobia has been going for years now, but FvT only really started as a specific campaign in 2019 with the first week of action scheduled to coincide with Trans Day of Visibility. That year we did a few small awareness campaigns, some social media, and some clubs got involved with some designated fixtures, including football league match day programmes. Last year we had bigger plans, but of course the pandemic intervened, forcing us to do most of it online. This went a lot better than we could’ve imagined, as our #bintransphobia campaign got loads of people excited about filming themselves finding imaginative ways of getting a football into a bin during lockdown. This year we’re still doing the vast majority online, but hopefully next year we can have more actual football in the campaign.

Has trans representation in football improved in recent years? Trans people have always been in football, but in recent years we have seen some first steps towards greater representation. We have some great trans football writers emerging, and there are a good number of trans footballers playing at a grassroots level, with one or two at a really competitive semi-pro level in England. We’re seeing trans people taking their places in the LGBTQ+ supporters groups, and beginning to feel safer to be visible in stadia (when we can go to them), as well as in administrative and support roles on and off the pitch. There’s a long way to go but seeing players like the Canadian international player Quinn being open about their identity is a huge boost. Trans people still face real barriers in getting into the game, in many countries being restricted to their sex assigned at birth, and in the vast majority of cases there is little or no provision for non-binary people. We hope by continuing to celebrate trans and non-binary identity in the game, and by providing resources to help clubs and administrative bodies to be more inclusive, that we can move in the right direction.

NATALIE WASHINGTON

Get Involved The FvT week of action will take place the week leading up to Trans Day of Visibility on March 31. During the week of action, use #FvT2021, and/or #TransFootyAlly, and tag @FvHtweets.


Marcus H - Belfast Photography & words: Liam Campbell, editor & chief photographer of Elska magazine Although I had suspicions about Northern Ireland being a conservative place, I kind of assumed that this was more just a stereotype. So I wasn’t prepared for how difficult it would be to find guys willing to take part in my Elska magazine project when I arrived in Belfast. I decided to reach out to the local drag scene, figuring that drag queens are often some of the most bold, brave, and activist people in any city. One of the first people I spoke to was Marcus, aka Lady Portia Di’ Monte, who quickly got on board, and also helped spread the word to some other Belfast guys, as well as offering me a place to crash if I needed it. It was all and more that I expected from probably Northern Ireland’s most legendary queen. Funnily, Marcus was pretty nervous during our shoot, that is until he put on this dress. I suppose he’s more used to the camera when in drag, and even though our shoot was ‘untucked’, a bit of drag helped give him some of the courage and fierceness he needed.


COLIN (IN PURPLE WIG) AT THE FIRST BUTTMITZVAH. PHOTO EIVIND HANSEN

Scene 44 20 Gscene drag king competition called Man Up.” The pandemic has brought life grinding to a halt, as if you needed reminding. The effect has been especially extreme for the travel and hospitality industries. Successful businesses were forced to shut and watch their profits evaporate. And then came the tiers system that even government ministers struggle to clearly articulate.

Hope & The Glory The Glory is the place to party in East London and is one of the most popular LGBTQ+ bars in the country. But then the pandemic came along and it was forced to close. Colin Rothbart, a co-founder of The Glory and TV director, tells us of its origins, how it became so popular and the nature of running a bar during a pandemic ) Colin dated performance artist Jonny Woo

for several years. One day, they decided to open a bar together. Colin explains: “While we were together, I had an informal club in my garden called The Shed. We had big after parties. It became quite well known in East London.” The Shed still pops up every once in a while from Colin’s garden. Well, it will when venues can reopen. “I’m a TV director; Jonny’s a performer. Opening a bar made sense, although venues are really expensive in London and it took us years to find one we could afford in the right area. We went into business with John Sizzle and opened The Glory in December 2014.” While it all happened quite quickly, taking over the bar came with considerable risk. “I was nervous. My whole life savings went into it. My dad told me not to do it. Haggerston, where the pub is, is called the Bermuda Triangle – not quite Dalston and not quite Shoreditch. It has to be a destination venue. Whereas Dalston Superstore gets lots of passing trade due to its location.

COLIN ROTHBART (R) WITH BETH DITTO

“At the time, The Black Cap, The Joiners Arms and various other gay bars had closed – it seemed like the time to do it. It was originally

going to be called The Hackney Carriage; we also considered Her Majesty’s Pleasure. The Crown and Glory was also in the offing, but that sounds like a dentist so we called it The Glory.” The venue has been a pub for around two centuries and it was called The Victory. The building itself dates back to around 1815, so ‘The Glory’ is also a reference to the Napoleonic Wars. East London queers dancing the night away. Nelson and the Duke of Wellington would be proud! “We wanted somewhere with a performance space,” Colin says. “It’s an alternative gay bar – not your mainstream West End gay bar. It’s somewhere that gives stage time to someone who might not normally get it. We want it to appeal to the whole spectrum of the LGBTQ+ community – from gay to non-binary and trans. That’s why I think it works; it’s fun for everyone, regardless of sex, race or gender. We do collaborations with performers and promoters. We’ve collaborated with clubs in NYC and Berlin. We did a Jewish gay club night called BUTTMITZVAH. We’ve done Polish, Latino, Afro-Caribbean and Spanish gay nights. We’ve done lesbian nights, including a super-popular

The Glory was able to open with restricted capacity and table service in Tier 2. The Culture Recovery Fund proved to be a lifeline. “We’ve been very lucky, not everyone got grants. The furlough scheme also helped. The government could have done more, of course. We were one of the last countries to lock down and our borders have been open. London is very much an international hub. There has been help, but hospitality has been hit the worst. Amazon and the supermarkets have seen their profits increase. There are winners and losers in a pandemic. It’s accelerating the move to online shopping and online everything. People are using apps more, from Deliveroo to Grindr,” says Colin. Tier 2 was only just profitable. Overheads remained just as high but profit margins were dramatically squeezed. People were queuing up to get into The Glory, but the venue was forced to turn people away when it reached capacity. “Historically, pandemics seem to last for 18 months to two years. Societies tend to go back to normal after pandemics. After the Spanish Flu in 1918 you had the Roaring 20s. It was a boom time. Hopefully, we’ll have another Roaring 20s. Make out on a dancefloor, go see live shows! For the few months when things reopened in summer, we were packed. The demand to go out was still there.” The internet cannot act as a substitute for real life, as we’ve all discovered during lockdown. Scrolling through Instagram and watching YouTube videos doesn’t match making out on the dance floor of a packed club. “We’re hoping we can open around April – fingers crossed. It’ll be interesting to see what happens with the vaccines. Do we need vaccine passports? Will low-risk people be vaccinated last?” The Glory’s patrons are generally in the low risk category! “Our capacity is 250 people and we had to go down to around 80 in Tier 2. It’s stressful for bar staff, cleaning the toilets every hour, everyone wearing masks. You go along with it because you have to. We want to be open but we have to do it in line with government guidelines. The key is to stay in business, we got support but many gay venues didn’t.” The Glory has a devoted following and it’s a truly unique venue. One thing is for sure: if the vaccine programme succeeds the new Roaring 20s will be in full swing at The Glory. D For more info on The Glory, visit: www.theglory.co


20 Gscene

Scene 45 that brave. Russell has definitely added his own imagination to that part of the story.” What is true to life is the depiction of the young Jill visiting patients with AIDS – often their only visitor. “My time visiting hospitals on a regular basis spanned the best part of a decade. In the early years I went as a volunteer just to help fight the stigma and then in a more intense way when people very close to me fell ill. I was always in a hospital ward, it seems.”

”My feelings at the time were fear and confusion – fear of a mystery illness and much like now, confusion and misinformation or simply lack of information”

#BeMoreJill

Brian Butler catches up with Jill Nalder, the inspiration behind the central character from Channel 4’s It’s A Sin ) Jill Nalder has had a distinguished and wide-

ranging stage career, but I guess nothing could have prepared her for the amazing AIDS-era TV series It’s A Sin, where she plays opposite a fellow actor, Lydia West, who is playing Jill’s younger self. And creator Russell T Davies adds another spin – Jill plays TV Jill’s mother in the Channel 4 series. How was that I ask her – coming face to face with her younger self? “It was very surreal – more so off the set in discussions rather than during the filming. Once you are actually acting you are so concerned with the job and making the scene work, you forget the real-life story.“ Her long connection with Russell started when they met at West Glamorgan Youth Theatre as teenagers. “It was a county drama course. We loved it. We had such a laugh, a lot of crazy times and we – a small group of us – have been friends ever since.“

LYDIA WEST (L) AND JILL NALDER (R)

Central to the story of It’s A Sin is the Pink Palace where five young friends set up home initially unaware of the tsunami approaching. “The Pink Palace was our nickname for our flat when we were in drama college. It was seriously pink! The furniture – sofa and chairs – were dusky pink dralon. There were long pink velvet curtains, dark pinky/purple wallpaper and sort of dark pink carpets. It had many chandeliers and solid silver cutlery. It really was a palace.

We had the best flat ever,” she tells me. The staggering central theme of the series is the nature of the illness and its painful untreated spread, leading almost always to death. Jill says: “The loss of my friends has left a big gap in my life. I feel so sad that they have missed so many years. Sadly someone who was part of the Pink Palace did die in the early 1990s. In It’s A Sin the characters are a mixture of the personalities of many of my friends and of Russell’s.

“My time visiting hospitals on a regular basis spanned the best part of a decade. In the early years I went as a volunteer just to help fight the stigma and then in a more intense way when people very close to me fell ill” ”My feelings at the time were fear and confusion – fear of a mystery illness and, much like now, confusion and misinformation or simply lack of information. The stigma and prejudice then was very different though.” Her parents were extremely supportive although they didn’t march as in the TV episode depicting a demonstration. “However, they did come down from Wales many, many times to all our fundraising events’ “ Jill says. “I didn’t get arrested as Jill Baxter does. I’m not

Jill has kept involved with AIDS-related fundraising with the charity West End Cares, and over the years with some fundraising for The Sussex Beacon in Brighton with David Raven, aka Maisie Trollette. “Now our theatre charity is called Theatre MAD – Make A Difference – and we are right now planning our next fundraising event in the West End when we finally come out of lockdown.”

Jill’s theatre career has been heavily populated with musicals since she left college – Annie, Gypsy, Godspell, Oliver! and Les Mis as well as extensive UK tours – a total of eight years in the West End. “That was joy. Recently before It’s A Sin I was in a film called Finding Your Feet and I also work with my own theatre company, set up with fellow Les Mis performers Linda Jarvis and Jon Osbaldeston, together with lifelong friend and West End MD Jae Alexander. The company – WestEnders – performs staged musical concerts everywhere from Brighton to the Amazon.” Was she surprised by the outpouring of feeling over It’s A Sin? “I’m overwhelmed by the public reaction to the series. We all are. It is so, so exciting. It seems we are trending all over social media – unbelievable!“ she says. As the weekly slot of the series comes to an end, it’s obvious that the young Jill is the glue that keeps these friends together and leads to behind-the-scenes work caring for those who suffered the onslaught of not only a then-deadly illness but the public and media ignorance and phobia at the time. And real-life Jill Nalder is still supplying that glue today – some 40 years on. It’s even been given a social media tag – #BeMoreJill. Fabulous lady. D For more info on Theatre MAD - Make a Difference, visit: www.madtrust.org.uk


20 Scene 46 Gscene

We chat to two couples from a new project which celebrates those who found love in the decade of social division, Section 28 and the AIDS/HIV epidemic ) The We Found Love In The 80s project,

launched to coincide with LGBTQ+ History Month last month and supported by Arts Council England and Future Arts Centres, was created by artist Dawinder Bansal and synth pop musician Martyn Ware (of Human League and Heaven 17 fame). The project is part of the Here and Now celebration of culture, which celebrates couples who met in the era of innovation, social division, Section 28 and the HIV/AIDS epidemic, and explores how they overcame obstacles such as homophobia, racism and class prejudice. D More info: www.wefoundloveinthe80s.com

Ian & Ian Ian Bodenham and Ian Johns had to grapple self-acceptance in a society rife with homophobia, Section 28, prejudice and misinformation about AIDS. They came out to their families 10 years after starting their relationship. They were married in 2014, and now run a vintage shop in Brick Lane.

What do you remember of the AIDS epidemic? IJ: The first time I heard about a strange new disease affecting gay men I clearly remember. It was in 1983 and I was talking to friends in Heaven nightclub. Someone was speaking about herpes, saying it never goes away. Another friend said there was a new disease that gay men were catching in America, you got flu and then died. It just got closer and closer until

Tell us your coming out story. IJ: I was sexually active from a very early age but didn’t come out to family and friends until I was 22. To my astonishment I had no problem with anyone, in fact most people I told said they thought I probably was anyway. My family, especially my sister, was very supportive; I was very lucky, I felt so much more confident and happy living as an openly gay man. IB: In 1981 I moved into a flatshare in Camberwell with a flamboyant girl called Fiona, to whom it was fairly easy for me to come out, initially as bisexual – not that I was, but back then it was a way of testing the waters, perhaps it still is for some. Through Fiona early in 1982 I met a gay friend of a similar age and he took me to the RVT, then clubs like Bang, Cha Chas and Heaven. Gradually I built up a network of friends with whom I could be myself. I’d dropped out of college and was doing casual

“My family, especially my sister, was very supportive; I was very lucky, I felt so much more confident and happy living as an openly gay man” There was a strong political element to life, not confined only to LGBTQ+ issues, but galvanised by the acts of a very right wing Tory government led by Thatcher, who was almost universally despised. By this time we were beginning to appear in the media, but in the most horrific way – represented as freaks, monsters and pariahs. Some of the coverage was so extreme, some were calling for draconian measures like exile and quarantine. This in turn emboldened an already hostile minority to attack individuals and venues. Public services were also affected by the paranoia – some healthcare workers refused to treat HIV+ people, or even anyone gay, police conducted raids in PPE style protective gear. But this hostility just brought us together even more, lesbians were particularly supportive and tireless in helping their ailing gay brothers. IAN & IAN. PHOTO CREDIT: DEE PATEL OF OUTROSLIDE PHOTOGRAPHY

How did you meet? IJ: In late 1983 I spotted a cute young man at The Bell in Kings Cross and tried to catch his eye, but he wouldn’t look at me. A few weeks later I saw him again at The Asylum at Heaven, still no luck. A short while later I got on a train at Tottenham Court Road and he was sitting directly opposite. He still would not look at me. A week or so later at Asylum he was there again – one last try and if it doesn’t work that’s it, I thought. I was in luck! He smiled at me and we finally met. I found out he had seen me too but was just too shy to reciprocate.

it was a friend of a friend, then a friend and ex-partners. It was terrifying, there was no test and I thought I was going to die. For a while I tried to block it out but that changed a few years later when I felt I had to learn as much as I could. I did a lot of training around HIV/ AIDS and became a volunteer at Switchboard in London.

jobs where there was no pressure to hide my sexuality. London was becoming an exciting and varied scene around then with places like The Bell in Kings Cross and The Asylum at Heaven catering for a pretty left-field crowd of underground sounds and styles, which is where I felt I fitted at last.


DEIRDRE & HELEN. PHOTO CREDIT: DEE PATEL OF OUTROSLIDE PHOTOGRAPHY

Helen & Deirdre Helen Juffs and Deirdre Figueiredo met in Nottingham while neither were ‘out’ nor had had a relationship with a woman before. Through support of gay friends, they established their relationship and gradually confided in friends and family. They married in 2014. How did you meet? H: Deirdre was working in the Exhibitions Team at Nottingham Castle Museum (her first job), and I volunteered to gain experience just after I had left university. The first time I saw Deirdre she was jetting off to Germany to courier a painting and she was wearing gold shoes. Gradually we became friends and found we shared interests. It was very much an analogue world so we left each other handwritten notes and small gifts. Eventually Deirdre summoned up the courage to move things along. When I leant in to kiss her on the check when I was dropping her off at home she moved her head and kissed me on the lips. I reciprocated – a first with a woman for both of us. My head blew off and her heart melted – and the rest is history.

“The acceptance of the acronym LGBTQI+ and particularly the reclaiming of the word queer has been liberating and would have made life in the 80s easier” For those who weren’t there, what was it like living as LGBTQ+ in the 1980s? H: I came of age in the mid-80s – turning 16 in 1983. Male homosexuality had only been decriminalised since 1967 and the age of consent was 21. I experienced strong feelings for men and women but lacked the vocabulary and information to know what this meant. Growing up during the AIDS epidemic and introduction of Section 28 set an underlying feeling of fear and shame which was difficult to overcome. D: I had no relatable role models and there were no positive ones in the mainstream media. I felt different and was attracted to different people not linked to a particular sex. Information was hard to come by. I didn’t feel I could be open with my immediate family or with friends or colleagues so I kept my feelings hidden. If we couldn’t be ourselves with our blood family we

had to create new forms of family among an alternative community – what Thatcher’s Section 28 legislation described as ‘pretend families’. What do you remember of the AIDS epidemic? H: It wasn’t until 1992 that one of our close friends was diagnosed with AIDS. Even though by then a lot more was known about the disease and how it was passed on, our friend was reluctant to share his diagnosis with even the closest of friends. We went to visit him in hospital, and he was desperate for some sign of normalcy – asking Deirdre to kiss him on the lips, their usual greeting, rather than the hug she tentatively offered, not knowing what was safe.

“Growing up during the AIDS epidemic and introduction of Section 28 set an underlying feeling of fear and shame which was difficult to overcome” D: In the early to mid-80s I remember a fear and stigma with terrifying and marginalising adverts on national TV. What would you say if you could speak or offer advice to your 1980s self? H: Be confident to follow your instinct and intuition – don’t put other people’s feelings above your own. Don’t try to protect people from the truth. Appreciate what you have – youth, vigour, good health – have more fun and be more outrageous! D: Talk to someone. Tell us your coming out story. H: Given the fear caused by AIDS and Section 28, and the generally homophobic society, I was reluctant to come out until I was sure what I was ‘coming out’ as. The first people I came out to were Deirdre’s gay friends, and then some close work colleagues. This just happened naturally – though I did have to take one colleague to the pub and spell it out! I wanted to come out to my immediate family as soon as I felt secure in my relationship with Deirdre – because I didn’t like being dishonest about events. However, my dad was diagnosed with cancer and I just didn’t want to add to the family trauma. After my dad had died I came out to my mum by showing her a copy of a

Scene 47

book called Women and Bisexuality – she had a meltdown and didn’t speak to me for some weeks. Eventually she picked up the phone and has been incredibly supportive ever since. D: It has been a cautious and piecemeal process across life, friendship and work. I have always assessed a situation before deciding whether to come out or not. It’s only now in my 50s that I feel l can always be open, but for most of my life this hasn’t been the case. LGBTQ+ communities have made progress, but do we have further to go? H: Yes definitely – there is still a legacy of fear, mistrust and unexpressed grief from people who identify as LGBTQ+ from the 1980s, and before. While millennials are experiencing a renaissance in acceptance of fluid sexuality and gender which hasn’t been seen globally for many years (Ancient Greece, trans people in India, etc), the elders of our community are still reeling from their experiences. As we age people generally turn to authorities and institutions to provide extra assistance but for older LGBTQ+ this means either coming out again and again, or having to hide again. In cases where people have dementia this is particularly confusing. Statistics show that LGBTQ+ communities are just not accessing help when they need it. D: The acceptance of the acronym LGBTQI+ and particularly the reclaiming of the word queer has been liberating and would have made life in the 80s easier. I feel like I’m going through a renaissance of discovery and new possibilities for identity and belonging.


SKIN. COPYRIGHT MARCO OVANDO

Scene 48 Gscene 20

Releasing their debut record in 1994, they were loosely associated with the Britpop movement. But Skunk Anansie don’t fit into any one category. Led by a working-class, black, British gay woman, Skunk Anansie broke the mould. All these years later they still do. How many successful rock bands have emerged since with a singer like Skin? Her story is unique and she’s decided to tell it from her own perspective. Her memoir, It Takes Blood and Guts, came out in September 2020.

“You’ve got to keep moving forward, keep striving for everything you want to be” According to Skin: “It’s been a very difficult thing being a lead singer of a rock band looking like me and it still is. I have to say it’s been a fight and it will always be a fight. That fight drives you and makes you want to work harder... It’s not supposed to be easy, particularly if you’re a woman, you’re black or you are gay like me. You’ve got to keep moving forward, keep striving for everything you want to be. It’s been a fight, and there has been a personal cost, but I wouldn’t have done it any other way.”

IT TAKES BLOOD & GUTS

Skin, lead singer of rock band Skunk Anansie, solo artist, LGBTQ+ activist and all-around trailblazer, launches her memoir this month in a broadcast event hosted by Southbank Centre ) When Skunk Anansie emerged in the

mid-90s, they did so with quite a bang. This was largely due to Skin, the band’s almost impossibly cool lead singer. With her shaved head, big voice and charisma, she became

a star overnight. No one else in the music industry looked or sounded like her. They released six albums and secured themselves a place in the Guinness Book of Records as one of the most successful British bands of the 1990s.

Skill will be discussing the book at Southbank Centre as part of the Inside Out literary events programme. The event will be broadcast online on Thursday, March 4 at 7.30pm and will be available On Demand for seven days. She is set to return to Southbank Centre in June to perform at Grace Jones’ Meltdown festival. Naturally, Grace Jones broke the mould in the same way back in the 70s and 80s. The combined force of Skin and Grace will make for quite the post-lockdown treat. According to Skin, Skunk Anansie are very much a live band. In 1999, they performed on the biggest stage in British rock as Glastonbury headliners. Fast-forward 20 years, and Stormzy did the same to great effect. He initially claimed to be the first black artist to secure the headline slot, but when he realised his error he Tweeted: “Skin from the band Skunk Anansie was actually the first black artist to headline glasto she done it with her band in 1999 no disrespect intended and MASSIVE salute to you – my apologies! @skinskinny.” (sic)

SKIN: IT TAKES BLOOD & GUTS

It’s unfortunate that her groundbreaking headline slot was all but forgotten, but as Stormzy’s Tweet demonstrated, Skin is finally getting the credit she deserves. D For tickets to Skin’s Inside Out literary event, visit: www.southbankcentre.co.uk/ whats-on/literature-poetry/skin-it-takesblood-and-guts D For more info on Grace Jones’ Meltdown festival, visit: https://www.southbankcentre. co.uk/whats-on/festivals-series/ meltdownblood-and-guts


Scene 49

"What I really want though is for straight, cis-gendered people to pick it up and understand our journeys. I don’t believe anyone could harbour homophobic or transphobic feelings after reading these heartfelt and inspirational stories” heard so many stories where the first reaction was negative, but eventually friends and relatives came around to it. Sometimes it’s the next day and sometimes it’s years down the line. Most people want to find a way. You’d have to be pretty callous or heavily steeped in religious ideology to reject your kids for being gay. It goes against human nature.

LIVE YOUR TRUTH Alex Klineberg catches up with Emma Goswell, whose new book, Coming Out Stories, aims to help people come to terms with their sexuality and/or gender identity ) Emma Goswell, who hosts the breakfast and drive-time shows on Gaydio, has appeared on many radio programmes over her long career as a broadcaster, often for the BBC. Her voice has that strangely familiar quality. She recently launched Coming Out Stories, her first podcast. Having interviewed over 50 people, the podcast has become something of an audio archive of LGBTQ+ history. Coming Out Stories focuses on the stories of people out of the public eye. All too often, the coming out stories we hear most loudly are those of pop stars and famous actors. This podcast redresses the balance.

We caught up with Emma to discuss the book and what she’s learnt about coming out. “Coming out is a marathon – not a sprint. You need to prepare and you should never rush it. I spoke to one person who told themselves over and over again in the mirror that they were gay – just to get used to saying it and to learn to accept themselves. You also need to accept that you might NOT get the instant reaction you want immediately. The person you’re telling may have never questioned your sexuality or gender identity,” she said. Quite often, people can find themselves coming out more than once. Emma explains: “I’ve spoken to bisexuals who have come out as

The podcast was Sam’s idea – she’s also a writer and broadcaster. Emma wasn’t sure at first – why do we still need to advise people on coming out? She later had to eat her words. Some kind of trauma comes through with coming out. Very few people she spoke to have had a seamless coming out. Over two years, she heard amazing stories. Some were very sad; some heartwarming. Even people who were rejected by their families have moved on to find their own logical family. Coming out stories have similarities but each one is unique. One woman she spoke to was threatened with a lobotomy in the 1960s. Emma cited her interview with Enoch as a particularly moving one. You would think his story happened in the 1950s, but it was contemporary. Raised in a very religious town in Texas, he was outed on Myspace (remember that?) and rejected by his family. He was also kicked out of his Christian university. Enoch was also sent for conversion therapy. Today he lives in West Hollywood with his partner and he’s also found his logical family. His relatives no longer speak to him. Enoch’s story is certainly on the more extreme end of the spectrum. Emma’s main piece of advice for those coming out: it gets better. She

“I’m beyond proud of this book,” Emma says. “If it helps one person come to terms with their sexuality or gender identity then I’ll be happy. What I really want though is for straight, cis gendered people to pick it up and understand our journeys. I don’t believe anyone could harbour homophobic or transphobic feelings after reading these heartfelt and inspirational stories. As Russell T Davies said: ‘This book is so vital. It should be in every school and home!’. Wouldn’t that be incredible?” ) Coming Out Stories by Emma Goswell & Sam Walker is published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers, RRP £12.99. D For more info on the Coming Out Stories podcast, visit: https://whatgoesonmedia.com/ portfolio-item/coming-out-stories/ EMMA GOSWELL

Getting a book published can be tricky, even for a professional writer. Emma and Sam Walker (her podcast co-host and co-founder) found themselves in quite a rarefied situation. Jessica Kingsely Publishers contacted them and asked if they’d like to write a book based on their podcast.

pansexual later, lesbians who have later come out as trans men, trans men who have then come out as non-binary. It’s a journey and it’s one for you to make on your own terms. I’d never tell anyone they should come out. All I will say is that every single person I’ve spoken to is glad they did and felt a huge sense of relief to be finally living life as their true self.”

Coming Out Stories is an important contribution to LGBTQ+ literature. It’s a book that’ll put your own coming out story into perspective. It’s also a guide for people who are wondering when and how to come out. As you’re reading this, there will be people all over the world struggling with their sexuality, waiting to live their truth.


COVER ART: KEMI OLOYEDE

JANE TRAIES

50 Scene

FREE TO BE ME ) Earlier this year a very sexy-looking 92-page literary magazine called Covert was released to showcase the creativity of black, Asian and ethnically diverse writers and artists.

) While admitting that her new book, Free To Be Me: Refugee Stories from the Lesbian Immigration Support Group (LISG), is “not an easy read”, Jane Traies hopes this selection of lesbian life stories by women who have been part of the LISG in Manchester will be read as being “about courage, being yourself, the kindness of strangers”.

Produced by Writing Our Legacy in association with New Writing South, the magazine’s theme was: Sussex Fortune Teller – What Do Writers See in the Future, and its impact in terms of both contributors and audience wasn’t necessarily something the editorial team could have predicted.

Jane’s journey into this book began three years ago when she received an email from a volunteer with the group who had heard of the work she had done with older lesbians and wondered if she might have anything in her research that could help a refugee from Uganda.

“I think I blew people’s minds a little bit. I decided to really push the boat out [...] .It’s nice to have something a bit special, especially for readers of colour when they don’t have much validation.” “We had more than 100 submissions in each of the categories: fiction, poetry, artwork,” says editorial team member and a driving force behind the project, Amy Zamarripa Solis.

The woman, in her 70s, had been fighting for asylum for 13 years but been turned down because the Home Office didn’t believe she was a lesbian. Jane met with the group and helped prepare a statement.

“In 2019 we published an anthology of writers of colour called Hidden Sussex, which was life stories, but this book [focusing on fiction and poetry] was something I had been thinking about for six years.

Jane wanted to tell the stories and was able to carry out most of the interviews face to face in Manchester “literally days before lockdown”. Jane says: “Some of the experiences of the women who have to leave their country were horrific and do include sexual violence. It’s not an easy read but I hope it’s worthwhile.” “My mum called me and cried on the phone, saying I’d brought shame to the family. My father said he never wanted to set his eyes on me again and that the day he does, he will kill me.” (Faith) All proceeds from the book, to be published by Tollington Press on International Women’s Day, Monday, March 8, are going to go back to the LISG, “so I have no shame in saying ‘buy my book’”. It wasn’t the easiest of projects to put together, as Jane explains: “If you’re seeking asylum and have had your claim rejected by the Home Office they take away your support, so most of the women have no income and nowhere to live; no computers, only a phone, and no money to use the phone. We do take all those things for granted.” There were also language barriers, so there was toing and froing to ensure everyone was able to say what they wanted to say, but, despite those hurdles and the restrictions of various lockdowns, all the stories were finally signed off and can now be told. “The ways are different here, and at first it was too odd. In the winter, it is so, so cold! But I think I’m better off, far from my own country. Because even if things are so hard, I’m not being beaten, I’m open, I’m free. Nobody says anything like, ‘Why are you wearing clothes like a man?’“ (Sophie) “It’s been a journey,” says Jane. “This is only one small corner of the refugee world. I knew nothing about this three years ago and now I know there are groups all over the UK. All these people have had horrible experiences here because of the culture of disbelief.”

AMY ZAMARRIPA SOLIS

Eventually the woman was granted asylum. “She and I were born in the same year and I kept thinking about her life and mine and I don’t think I’ve ever been so aware of my own privilege.”

“I could observe that there were a lot of talented writers but they might not try to access opportunities or try to get published, so I thought if there was something local [that might sway them]. “A lot of the work we do with people of colour is really about confidence building. We try to do things that still help with that and being published is a great feeling. It really gave me a taste of what community publishing could achieve.” As with so many projects, it was somewhat hampered by the pandemic and the first lockdown, but the group applied for emergency funding from the Arts Council and from March to May was busy organising “lots of solidarity Zoom calls to try to help people stay connected”. Amy and her fellow voluntary editorial team members, writer Sharon Duggal and poet John Prebble, made the initial selection of works and gave recommendations to guest editors for their consideration. Each submission had to fit the theme, which, says Amy, was about asking writers to look into the future. Fifteen contributors are showcased in the magazine. As for the final article, with its high-quality finish: “I think I blew people’s minds a little bit. I decided to really push the boat out. I was originally thinking of doing something digital but with lockdown it’s nice to have something a bit special, especially for readers of colour when they don’t have much validation.” And the work doesn’t stop there. “The next phase will be approaching universities and libraries to get it to a wider audience,” says Amy. “We haven’t put it on Amazon but we do have an e-book.” Writing Our Legacy has managed to secure further Arts Council funding and is in the process of moving to become a Charitable Incorporated Organisation, along with planning how the next edition will be funded. D For more info, visit: www.writingourlegacy.org.uk


Book Reviews by Eric Page ) Justin David The Pharmacist (£8.99, published by Inkandescent). What a prodigious, heaving, sweaty, sexy book this is, based around the utterly compelling relationship between Billy, a young man drawn into the sphere of Polari speaking, and strikingly debonair Albert, The Pharmacist, a compelling and damaged older drug dealer. Set deep in east London, they first meet in Columbia Road Flower Market, pre-gentrification and drowning in drugs and sex – this is Harold & Maude meets Aldous Huxley. The narrative swirls, dips, rages and explodes across a landscape of enlightenment and change and author David’s prose manages to capture the throbbing urgency of the chemical indulgences deeply entwined with the passion of these two men. This isn’t chemsex, this is a new electrically sensual drug exploding across London. The dialogue is electric and funny, although the humour is often dark, twisted and uncomfortable, perfectly queer. David captures the crepuscular geography of Shoreditch with a loving grace, takes in The Royal Oak pub, filled with seriously diverse queer patrons, noting sunshine brickwork and the dust of generations of Londoners. This is a story of real contact, and physical presence, these men meet, touch, live, share space – physical space – and being visible is urgent and necessary. As Billy learns more of his much older lover’s life the focus of this short book changes, as the ecstasy thumps through his body he begins to understand how accumulated loss can define you. By parts astonishingly tender and brutally honest, The Pharmacist should be on every gay man’s reading list. It’s a seriously impressive book, which pulls you deliriously down into drugged up sensual exploration and fucks you senseless. It also reminds us of what we’ve lost, and that’s a sadness worth reflecting on. Recommended. ) Adam MacQueen Beneath the Streets (£8.99, published by Lightning Books). ‘What if Jeremy Thorpe had succeeded in murdering Norman Scott?’. MacQueen’s first novel gives us an alternative history based around corrupt 1970s England and the dark London underbelly of sex for sale and political intrigue. Set in 1976, the naked corpse of a young rent boy is fished out of a pond on Hampstead Heath. Since the police don’t seem to care, 20-yearold Tommy – himself a former rent boy – finds himself investigating. Dodging murderous Soho hoodlums and the agents of a more sinister power, Tommy follows the trail of guilt higher still. The ruthless Establishment will stop at nothing to cover its tracks. The narrator

is darkly funny, the streets as grubby as you’d imagine and the insights into gay life in this shadowy pre-AIDS world of queer

Scene 51

Soho and its endless opportunities for ‘cottaging’ are wonderfully evocative. With a cast of real-life characters from The Sex Pistols, Prime Minister Harold Wilson to adviser Lady Falkender, this is a well-balanced thriller which keeps the pages turning until the rather sharp, surprising sting in its closing chapter. ) Niven Govinden Diary of a Film (£14.99, published by Dialogue Books). This perfectly poised story about cinema, flâneurs and queer love takes us into the world of the ‘maestro’ -

auteur and creative. Clocking the toil, keeping control of the stories you harvest, create and define you can take on the teller. We follow our ‘maestro’ and his lead actors as they flounce around a European festival at the premiere of his latest film. By chance he meets a woman who invites him to explore her world, her story, her perspective and as her powerful narrative captures his attention, they walk the streets together. This gentle stroll contains an urgent story of love, loss and responsibility that the ‘maestro’ wants to own, any way he can. That’s it, the plot. The book is written with no quotation marks, paragraphs or the usual signallers to assist a reader, so the book itself is an observation of the creative process. It’s an oddly distanced book, with some oddly distanced queer love, which took some time to get into, but when it unfolded itself into a study of the creative process it hit its stride. Govinden’s careful eye keeps the story interesting, and his prose is rich in descriptive details. It’s meditative in the way it roams, both through our slightly arrogant narrator’s thought processes and the city he stalks through.

) Meg Barker & Jules Scheele Sexuality A Graphic Guide (£13.99, published by Icon Books). This book impressed on every level, historically it gives a pretty good introduction from earliest societies’ attitudes and practices, then sweeps across various global societies giving insight and learning from different epochs, cultures and highlighting social changes and who and what made them happen. The fun and informative monochrome illustrations on every page bring lighthearted insight to the topics being discussed. The illustrations immediately let you know what’s being debated here and help to highlight intersectional aspects for contemplation. Scheele’s deft comic touch shines a light into the darkness of shame, fear and frustrations. The book looks at lots of up-to-date concerns, examining their roots in prejudice, bigotry or intolerance and looks at ways of integrating previous taboo subjects into everyday healthy practice. This guide is fun, educational and makes you think, it presents as an easy to understand graphic guide to sexuality, which it certainly is, but it’s also rather more reflective than that. As the book gathers pace, and leads on from previous chapters, Barker’s solid historical understanding gives us insight into the monsters and pitfalls that hang in the glooms of sexuality but there is a solid narrative drive about acceptance of the infinite diversity of human sexualities and sex and how embracing, understanding and enjoying them is the healthiest approach for a culture or society to take. Barker and Scheele combine their talents again to serve this entertaining book about sexuality which manages to tease gently along the balance between being erotic and historically informative. Superb.


Scene 52 Gscene 20

) Adele – TBA. Britain’s biggest pop star

ADELE

MUSIC TO WATCH THE YEAR GO BY

takes her time between albums. Rumours of a new record have been doing the rounds for quite some time. Former Pearl Jam drummer Matt Chamberlain confirmed that he was working in the studio with Adele. He described hearing her voice in the headphones: “It was just so powerful and emotive. You know her voice, but to be across the room from somebody doing that, it’s just insane.”

2020 saw a somewhat paradoxical disco rival. Albums by Dua Lipa, Lady Gaga and Kylie Minogue summoned us to dance floors that no longer existed. Sophie Ellis-Bextor brought the disco to our living rooms via her Kitchen Discos. Jarvis Cocker released a song that acquainted house music with dancing in your actual house – “We are one nation under a roof” he sang, and such we were ) As live gigs are unlikely to return anytime

) Billie Eilish – TBA. Billie Eilish is the first

soon, you’ll have to make do with your Chromatica Oreos for now. There are, however, plenty of exciting albums to expect in 2021...

artist born after the Millennium to top the Billboard chart. Feeling old yet? Her debut album, When We Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?, established her as the biggest pop star of her generation. Since releasing the album, she’s dropped a number of incredible singles, including No Time To Die, My Future and Therefore I Am. With three new bangers under her belt, she’s highly likely to release her second studio album this year.

) Madonna – Madame X Live. Madge’s last

studio album had its moments, both good and bad. The accompanying tour was the most troubled of her career with persistent injuries forcing her to cancel a number of dates. Madame X was not her finest hour, sadly. That BILLIE EILISH

) Lana Del Rey – Chemtrails Over the

Country Club. This brilliantly titled album will be out on March 19 and follows her 2019 album, Norman Fucking Rockwell, which was hailed as her best album by fans and critics. Lana Del Rey is a creature out of time. She’s kind of like a throwback to an imagined American Golden Age. She has a knack for writing about romance tinged with obsession, even violence. Jump off the edge of the Hollywood sign indeed!


MADONNA

Scene 53

of the year. If the single Baby It’s You is anything to go by, this will be an unmissable record. ) Lil Nas X – TBA. LGBTQ+ artist Lil Nas X

being said, the album felt more like a studio recording of a musical theatre show. The live album and DVD could well show the album in a more favourable light. If the music industry wasn’t so ageist, I suspect her single Crave would have been a smash. (Alas, she’s probably drying her tears with $500 notes).

Prince – TBA. Prince’s legendary vault of unreleased material is so vast his estate could release a new album every year for about a century. Last year’s super-deluxe reissue of Sign of the Times featured 45 unreleased studio recordings and a live album. The next reissue is rumoured to be a superdeluxe version of Diamonds and Pearls. It’s highly likely at least one ‘new’ Prince album will come out in 2021. His sister inherited everything and she’s essentially been given a licence to print money. ) Kate Bush – TBA. Nah, the grandest diva

of them all isn’t known to be working on anything. We can but dream... ) London Grammar – Californian Soil. Set

for release on April 9, London Grammar will release one of the most anticipated albums

brought country and a dose of queerness to hip-hop with Old Town Road, which broke Mariah Carey’s record as the longest running number one on the Billboard chart. He is yet to release a full-length studio album but he has confirmed that it will happen this year. ) Sade – TBA. Sade has released only six

studio albums in her career. Like Kate Bush, she does things on her own terms and refuses to compromise. She recently reissued her albums on vinyl and has confirmed that a new album is imminent. ) SZA – TBA. SZA, who has emerged as one

of the best vocalists and rappers in the US, combines funk, soul, rap and dream pop on her albums. Her latest single Good Days is an irresistible track. The follow up to her 2017 album CTRL is on the way. In the meantime, check out her latest single and some of her other stand-out tracks: I’d suggest Julia and Supermodel. LIL NAS X

) David Bowie – Brilliant Live Adventures.

Bowie’s estate has swamped the market with ‘new’ albums since the Starman passed away in 2016. The latest round of releases comprises six unreleased live albums from the 1990s. The fourth instalment, Look at the Moon! (Live in Phoenix Festival, 1997), came out on February 12. The next two instalments will be released later this year. ) Rihanna – TBA. Her 2016 album ANTI

became an instant classic. Since then she’s been quite occupied earning vast sums of money from her make-up line. Rumours of a new album continue to swirl and could well do so for years to come.


54 Scene

CLASSICAL NOTES BY NICK BOSTON

JESSICA CURRY ISOBEL WALLER-BRIDGE

well as her own music from scores such as Dear Esther and Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture. Isobel Waller-Bridge has written wideranging scores for film, television (including of course, Fleabag) and theatre, as well as jazz, electronic and contemporary classical music. Nainita Desai, who concludes the series, is a highly acclaimed film and television composer, writing scores for The Reason I Jump, and Netflix’s documentary, American Murder. Listen on digital radio or online at www.planetradio.co.uk/ scala-radio. ) Live from London - Spring. Building on two successful online concert series last year, vocal

ensemble Voces8 are back with an even more ambitious festival, running from February to April. In March, they celebrate International Women’s Day a day early on Sunday, March 7 at 7pm, with a performance by pianist (and recently appointed Music Director of Brighton Philharmonic Orchestra) Joanna MacGregor, including music by Florence Price, Margaret Bond, Mary Lou Williams and Nina Simone, as well as some of MacGregor’s own arrangements and compositions. Then on Sunday, March 14 at 7pm, Dame DAME EMMA KIRBY

Sadly, it’s too early to be celebrating the return of live performance to our diaries. But in the meantime, here are some ideas for listening opportunities coming up on the radio or online, focusing on women composers and performers. ) She Scores on Scala Radio. A new series on Sundays at 6pm, from March 7, sees four women composers present a programme each, sharing some of their favourite classical music by women, as well as some of their own compositions. The series kicks off with film music composer Pinar Toprak, the first woman to score a Marvel film, Captain Marvel. Jessica Curry (who I interviewed in these very pages a few years ago), the wonderful Brighton & Hove-based composer for video games, will celebrate her wideranging influences, from Hildegard von Bingen to Errollyn Wallen, as

JOANNA MACGREGOR

PREVIEWS

Emma Kirkby is joined by friends including mezzo-sopranos Helen Charlston and Patricia Hammond, and theorbo player Toby Carr for music by Hildegard von Bingen, Clémence de Grandval and Margarita Mimi Fariña (sister of Joan Baez). Concerts are streamed live online then available on demand until the end of April. Tickets and info at voces8.foundation.

REVIEWS

) Michael Brown Noctuelles (First Hand Records FHR78). American composer-pianist Michael Brown takes the title of this recording, Noctuelles, from the first movement of Maurice Ravel’s (1875-1937) Miroirs. It is followed by the Second Improvisation (in variation form), Op. 47 by Russian composer-pianist, Nikolai Medtner (1880-1951). In Miroirs, Noctuelles (Night moths),

and its shimmering, fluttering textures are mesmerising, and Brown’s dexterity and sensitivity here, and in Oiseaux Tristes, is striking. Une Barque sur l’Océan is watery and flowing, and Brown brings out the stormy sea-sick swells as the movement develops. In contrast, Albarado del Gracioso is an athletic dance, and Brown enjoys the jumpy, balletic rhythms, before the mysterious tolling bells and dark clashing harmonies of the final movement, La Vallée des Cloches. Turning to the Medtner, The Song of the Water Nymph theme is lyrical and watery, yet chromatically ambiguous, this contrast providing the germ for the variations, from twisting dark harmonies in Meditation to shifting harmonic sands and virtuosic activity in La cadenza. Yet there is lightness too, in the sprightly Elves, frisky Gnomes, and chattering Feathered

Ones. Brown manages to bring out these contrasting characters, while still managing to create a unifying sense of direction, leading to a beautifully contemplative Conclusion. Impressive throughout, Brown demonstrates incredible virtuosity, but more than this, great sensitivity to the detail and contrasts within this remarkably evocative music. ) Oliver John Ruthven & Musica Poetica Tunder Appreciated (Veterum Musica VM020). The early music ensemble Musica Poetica, directed by Oliver John Ruthven, took part in the Brighton Early Music Festival Live! scheme back in 2012. For their debut recording, Tunder Appreciated, they present music by the German composer, Franz Tunder (1614-1667). A new one for me, he was the father-in-law of Dietrich Buxtehude (1637-1707), and there is a clear Lutheran line through him to the music of Bach, whilst at the same time elements of Italian influence. Here there are three works for solo voice and viols, and a wonderful choral cantata, Ein feste Burg. In the solo works, three of the five singers on the recording are given a solo

outing. First, soprano Lucy Knight performs Tunder’s setting of Psalm 137, Am Wasserflüssen Babylon (By the Waters of Babylon), with a beautifully clear voice, delivering the text with precision over the richly textured accompaniment. Alto Collin Shay brings us Salve mi Jesu, steadily declamatory in tone, and then emphasising Tunder’s wordpainting of sighing and weeping with great sensitivity, and the stuttering ornamentation is impressively adept. Finally the bass, Christopher Webb in Da mihi Domine, a highlight of the recording for me. Webb’s voice is rich yet agile, and he shifts between tender pleading and weighty declamation with ease. The accompaniment also shines through, with rocking melodies passed between instruments, and the two violins echoing the vocal lines beautifully. They add two works from Girolamo Frescobaldi (1583-1643): O mors Illa, a short but beautiful duet for tenor (Peter Davoren) and bass, beautifully blended here, and accompanied delicately by Toby Carr (theorbo) and Ruthven (organ), and Partite sopra Passacagli for solo organ, with its gently lilting introduction, running, winding lines and impressively fluid passacaglia. And the only time when all five singers and the full band come together are for Buxtehude’s Ad Latus, from his Membra Jesu Nostri. The dancing string introduction here has a real spark. The blend of the five voices is initially not always even, with a couple of voices dominating, although when the opening music returns, the balance seems to have settled. In the central sections, the touch is light, and one is left eager to hear their performance of the complete work. So, impressive performances here, and a great introduction to Tunder, of whom I hope to hear more.

More info For more reviews, comment and events, visit: n nicks-classical-notes.blogspot. co.uk T @nickb86uk E nbclassical@hotmail.co.uk


Scene 55

ART MATTERS

ALL THAT JAZZ

) This month I will continue to explore approaches and artworks of local artists who actively employ their days in creativity, and who are hopefully still finding comfort in their needed obsessions in these dark days. The ability for the drawn and painted act to allow us to see what is truly important in our usually hectic lives, a wordless communication that is even more important now that it has been denied to us.

REVIEWS

BY ENZO MARRA

I’m very happy to introduce you to another Brighton-based artist, Dawei Zhang, who explores the human condition via painted and drawn figurative imagery, all executed from his studio based at Phoenix Brighton. His imagery intrinsically connected with themes of friendship, love, seduction, fragility. His friends and family visible in touching evocations, which slowly unfurl as their cautious journey progresses from initial idea to finished set aside image. The emotive ties that bind us together, keep us close, draw us together, remind us of what is important to us, are only too visible in his works and remind us of the relationships which we are missing, we are hoping to again be able to properly take part in, the lives we used to live, would dearly love to be able to live again. Having first seen his works too many years ago during an Open House exhibition, and having been genuinely impressed, I have had the luxury of seeing them develop from an acutely textural all prima imagery with a genuinely gestural feel through to their more subtle and more washily applied contemporary works. His use of charcoal in his drawn evocations equally as powerful in their renditions of portraiture and part and full figures, each graduated in all scales of grey to achieve their photographic inspired yet equally distinctive hard fought effects. Having previously been drawn by him a number of times, I have seen how he can capture an individual’s personality, the glint in their eye, the almost invisible things that make them into a true likeness, that can make you recognise things about yourself you hadn’t noticed previously. The way he can sometimes use pigment in his paintings can be much more vivid, yet this potent palette doesn’t take away from the subject matter that it is utilised towards. His works have been exhibited at the National Open Art Competition; I hope you will be able to see more of them locally and nationally once a new normality returns. The opportunity to be able to see such artworks face to face in a real space, allowing us a truer connection with them, a form of communication that a screen can never mimic or adequately convey. The need to see and be affected by imagery is a luxury I truly miss, an experience I will relish when gallery doors open wide and allow me back in.

BY SIMON ADAMS

) ROB MAZUREK & EXPLODING STAR ORCHESTRA Dimensional Stardust (International Anthem/Firestone). Chicago-based trumpet, composer and arranger Rob Mazurek is both prolific and endlessly fascinating. Employing his 13-piece Exploding Star Orchestra – one of his many outfits, and his most adventurous – he delivers a suite of songs that uses modernist compositional structures while looking back in reverence at Chicago’s substantial avant-garde riches. Lead trumpets and traditional solos might suggest jazz, but the entire orchestra is on another level altogether. The dominant voices are vibes and flute, the vibes locking in with the rhythm section to deliver repetitive pulses worthy of Philip Glass at his best. To add the rich mix are the spoken vocals of Damon Lock, tackling themes of inclusion and oppression as well as some otherworldly oddities. Holding everything together are startling arrangements of complexity and wonder. It all adds up to a remarkable brew that bears repeated listening. ) MARY HALVORSON’S CODE GIRL Artlessly Falling (Firestone). American guitarist Mary Halvorson looks like a retiring librarian, but don’t let looks fool you, for she is one the most innovatory of guitarists around at the moment. Her use of distortion and delay pedal, and her double micing of both amp and strings, make her sound quite unique. On this second set from her Code Girl sextet, she is joined on three tracks by the wondrous British singer Robert Wyatt. His tremulous, interrogative vocals contrast sharply with the often-Brechtian approach of Amirtha Kidami, heard on the other five tracks. All the music is by Halvorson, whose guitar accompaniment is sometimes merely supportive but whose presence is formidable throughout. A set of songs like you haven’t heard in ages. ) JAKOB BRO, ARVE HENRIKSEN & JORGE ROSSY Uma Elmo (ECM). Now on his fifth ECM album as leader, Danish guitarist Jakob Bro has teamed up this time with famed Norwegian ambient trumpeter Arve Henriksen and Spanish drummer Jorge Rossy, who is renowned for his work with, among others, pianist Brad Mehldau. Amazingly, this was the first time the trio had ever played together; indeed, the first time ever Bro met Henriksen was on the day of recording! Despite, that, the trio mesh together perfectly, their often hushed lines and quiet delivery ideal for the measured material they play. Leader Bro’s guitar can be ominous in its haunting lines and enhanced electronic delays and reverbs, Henriksen’s trumpet is as ethereal and windswept as ever, while Rossy’s drumming is consistently supple and inventive. Luminous, unhurried, intriguing music that is perfect for our troubled times.


THE LAST WARNING

56 Scene

AT HOME

WITH MICHAEL HOOTMAN ) THE LAST WARNING (Eureka blu-ray). This is a rollicking mystery – with shades of horror – from neglected silent master Paul

crazy, secretary; Carrie Daumery is a great theatrical grand dame, and bears an uncanny resemblance to June Brown’s Dot Cotton. I also loved Mack Swain’s Robert Bunce doing a little dance for no discernible reason other than to annoy his crotchety older brother. The ending is fairly weak as the motivation for the murder is ridiculously mundane, but apart from that it’s an enjoyable slice of theatrical absurdity. ) VANISHING GRACE (Monte Perdido Studio). The ideal narrative-puzzle VR game has to immerse the player in its world, deliver a good story and have puzzles which find the sweet spot of being neither too easy nor so hard you have to resort to a YouTube walkthrough. Vanishing Grace has an intriguing premise: in the middle of this century a man has to find a childhood friend who’s gone off-grid looking for a place of sanctuary on a planet decimated by some world-changing event. You travel through some gorgeously rendered, yet quite desolate,

landscapes on a souped-up camper van with solar sails, which is pretty cool. However, the gameplay itself I found both frustrating and incredibly unchallenging. Tasks which I thought I’d completed seemed to become undone for no apparent reason and I’d sometimes have to go through a level again after becoming stuck. Whether this was due to poor design, a bug or my own ineptitude I couldn’t say. The puzzles themselves are hardly worthy of the name. Having played the first two chapters over a fairly gruelling few hours, the game simply requires you to complete fairly monotonous tasks involving putting an object in its appropriate slot. There’s none of the logical deduction of a Red Matter, the wit of I Expect You to Die or the excitement of battling the laser-shooting scorpions of Moss. Perhaps Vanishing Grace is supposed to be more of a narrative than a puzzle, even so I’m not sure I’m that invested in our hero’s journey to make it to the end. Available on the Oculus Quest. VANISHING GRACE

Leni. Based on an early whodunnit, and a subsequent 1920s stage play, the film starts with the murder of lead actor John Woodford during a performance of something called The Snare. The police are called and, in a tradition that was mastered by Agatha Christie, we’re introduced to the literal cast of suspects. Could the foul deed have been committed by other actors who were rivals, along with the deceased, for the affections of the play’s star Doris Terry (Laura La Plante)? Maybe Terry herself wanted to off her squeeze for reasons later to be revealed. How about the aptly named money men: the Bunce brothers? The cheery stage manager? The plot doesn’t really make any sense (I’m still not sure why the corpse goes missing) but the film has some remarkably fluid camerawork from Leni and there are some wonderfully ripe performances to enjoy. Torben Meyer pretty much steals the film playing the very suspicious, and slightly


SUSSEX. PIC: BEN COLLINS

Scene 57 more pleasure in wildlife and nature, set up a tent in your garden! BBQ in the winter, I promise that’s crazy fun – might weird out ya neighbours but what the heck? Look forward because your time will come again when you can get out and about. But what should we be doing outside? Take mother, for example. She loves to be in the garden, which for her is like therapy. It gives her peace of mind and joy to cultivate and to weed, to plant seeds, to see something grow from these tiny little things. That’s the thing with seeds right, you can plant one and a million things can grow from just one little seedling. Our life can be like that, our minds are like that. If you cultivate your mind and you plant positive little seeds, amazing buds will bloom in your mind as well.

THE REAL LIFE COACH The Great Outdoors, by Sam Adams t @ThisIsSamAdams i @samadamscoach ) The thing about the outdoors is how good it is for us to be in nature, active, to just drink in this amazing space, this planet that we live on. I’ve always loved being outside. I grew up in the 1970s and ’80s when we were encouraged to get outside and only return for tea. I’d spend my holidays climbing trees, picking mushrooms and scrumpying for apples, building go-karts, playing games in the fields. Bittersweet memories. As a kid I didn’t understand how great Mother Nature and the outdoors were. It’s one of the things that I use to keep me grounded these days, to keep my mind in a good place by getting outdoors. A simple look up to the sky and I’m mesmerised by the vastness of it. The beach, my happy place. I sit, look out at the sea and I’m mesmerised again. The one thing about being by the sea and at the beach is that it calms me. Studies show that the beach can relieve stress – the waves and sun combined have a calming effect. It’s enough to make a person leave their stress behind. The sun, the sound of waves, and your feet in the sand can help to fight

off feelings of anxiety and stress. Don’t live near the beach? Fresh air, trees and just being outdoors are proven to have healing powers. It can improve your mood, boost your immune system, stimulate you mentally and physically. 2020 has been a weird year. We haven’t been able to get out as much as we would like or do the things that we wanted – walk, run, swim, canoe, travel to foreign lands to visit new buildings, people, and cultures. It’s been tough. But hold on – it will come to an end. Nothing lasts forever.

There’s just something wonderful about being outside. Even on the dark days when it’s raining and it’s overcast, the light is still brighter than being in your own home. And we need light, fresh air. We need to see different things to cultivate our minds, to change our thought patterns.

“Studies show that the beach can relieve stress – the waves and sun combined have a calming effect. It’s enough to make a person leave their stress behind”

Think about past adventures or outings. What was your greatest adventure? Your childhood memories of being outside? I remember camping in our back garden – who didn’t do that, hey? Simple pleasures and actually something you could do again, despite the pandemic!

If we get in a slump, if our mood drops, one of the best things we can do is take ourselves outside and just be in a field, the woods, by the sea, walk, cycle, run. It can remove mental drift and shift your mood up.

There is something magical about being outside. Have you ever just laid in a field or on the beach and looked up at the sky? Or at the stars – they can just light up your soul. I take comfort that it’s always there despite all else.

So while we’re in these challenging times and can’t be outside as much, savour the opportunities when you can and just look for the little things around you, the things that we probably take for granted – the greenery, wildlife, the trees.

We take our holidays and adventures as a given, so now it’s time to appreciate the little things that we take for granted. Take BRIGHTON. PIC: DARREN COLES

A friend who lives abroad is currently posting loads of pics of greenery as they have had a lot of rain, which is not normal so they are absolutely loving it because they don’t usually see it, yet we take it for granted. Maybe don’t take it for granted today, go out and look at it anew with fresh eyes Abundance is everywhere. But you have to be willing to look. Everything is temporary, everything changes. While right now the great outdoors is limited, savour those moments when you do get there. It’s good to have something to look forward to. Even if you don’t know the date that you’re going to do it. Plan and think about your next trip, research it, find something to get excited about. I have decided I’m going to climb Kilimanjaro, so have started researching and looking into that. My biggest adventure is yet to come… It starts with you.


58 Scene

ROGER’S RUMINATIONS

TWISTED GILDED GHETTO

Living dangerously

Dydd Gwyl Dewi Hapus

) Naturally everyone enjoys a walk on the wild side even if it’s just a stroll round the park. Obviously we all need fresh air and some gentle exercise from time to time. But let’s not get carried away. There is a huge industry trying to tempt us outdoors to spend money on new clothes, shoes and hats. Not to mention the guide books and maps.

) St David’s Day was my original experience of the transformative power of donning a costume. My fundamental inkling that an amazing outfit would change who you were – magically. People would act differently, be charmed and amazed and this would give you power and freedom to do things usually not allowed. Admittedly being dressed as a leek by my smouldering Aunt Olga is not Drag Race quality (although a quick dip into H&M or hot gluing paper bags to your ass is setting a low bar…) but that green felt costume, with white crepe paper decorations, was my introduction to the quivering, magical potential of ‘Dressing Up’.

BY ROGER WHEELER

Climbing mountains has always been very popular; the adrenaline rush must be quite something. They call it a sport but it’s a pretty dangerous one. You can face falling rocks, ice, avalanches, crevasses, and the dangers from altitude and sudden changes in weather. Quite why climbers should want to put their lives at risk for no apparent reason is quite worrying. Do they ever give a thought to the mountain rescue teams that have to go and bring them down? There are actual queues to climb Everest. The price for a standard climb ranges from £20,000 to £62,000. A fully custom climb will run to over £84,000. Sounds great, I’ll think about it, but there will be a television programme to save me the trouble. The guardians of almost every famous mountain now want large sums to allow you to risk life and limb to climb it. They say it’s a challenge and exciting, I simply don’t understand.

Today there are plenty of people who are making money from wandering around and disturbing nature. All except of course St David Attenborough, who stated the whole thing off many years ago undoubtedly for the best of scientific reasons and has now become a national treasure. But this genre has turned into a television monster with dozens of attractive, young, mainly male presenters trekking to some extremely inaccessible parts of the world to bring their daring deeds to your sitting room. On most nights there is at least one television programme featuring acres of rolling hills or arid deserts, so you can sit in the comfort of your own home and look and admire and think how lucky you are not to actually be there. Never mind about the many wild animals intent on doing them harm. Of course sex outdoors can be fun, if only for the possibility of being seen. We found a meadow once in, what we thought was, the middle of nowhere, and so started to enjoy ourselves. Within a few minutes the 2.15 Brighton to Southampton trundled past about 20 feet away, we hadn’t noticed the railway line. If they had been looking, the passengers wouldn’t have been the least surprised. Ben Fogle’s television series New Lives in the Wild is enough to put anyone off ever leaving their house. We have always said that it’s great having all that lovely countryside so close, we can go and look at it anytime and then come home. We are constantly told that regular exercise results in a healthy mind and body, you can get both by simply resting quietly and thinking nice thoughts. The call of the wild? It should keep quiet.

BY ERIC PAGE

My Aunt Olga, Russian, magnetic with her waist-length thick black hair, ample bosom and ability to drink anyone under the table at the Oddfellow’s Arms, was very popular in the village most of my family lived in. My parents had moved across to the Ebbw Valley, another world in those days, so our visits to her childhood home, where my grandparents and aunts lived, was always a big day out. Olga had fallen in love when she met my uncle in Libya when they were both working on water pipelines. She’d married him then they chose to live in Pontnewydd and Olga, from the Ural Mountains just outside Yekaterinburg, instantly fell in love with slate grey, damp South Wales, and most of Wales with her. Having been brought up in the Soviet Union she could do everything – weld, tango, backcomb, butcher, brick lay, type and play anything which was put in front of her. My grandmother Ivy called her ‘that lovely raven tornado’. She had toured the USSR playing in an orchestra and also making costumes for the cast and adored making sophisticated outfits for my sisters and I. My St David’s Day leek costume was exceptional, with long starched green felt leaves wrapping up and around my head, my green face poking out from a hole in their curved leaves, which she’d made to look like a caterpillar had nibbled, which I also wore as a knitted moustache. The white crepe paper body of the costume, combined with a daringly long white fringe as the roots, borrowed from her fandango ballgown, combined to make me feel the best Welsh Vegetable in the Valleys. She’d embroidered ‘Cymru am byth’ – Wales forever – on the back, in the 70s a seriously shocking and daring thing to do. Welsh had been suppressed for many years, not taught in schools and was only spoken by my grandmother’s generation. To wear it was provocative, Olga knew that but having married into the Cymru and being fiercely anti-colonial and hating the English for their mono-cultural dismissal of our much older culture had been learning Welsh herself. She already spoke a half dozen languages, including Mongolian and Arabic, so that wasn’t a challenge. Olga not only made the leek costume, but with a plate of huge chocolate ginger biscuits spent an hour teaching me how to Be Leek, Think Leek, to ‘feel the power of the leek in your blood’ while my father looked on disapprovingly, surreptitiously checking out her breasts in her push-up bra. After an hour I was ready to wear and Be Leek, an essential symbol of the Cymru and somewhat confusingly connected to Dydd Gwyl Dewi Hapus. Now when I put any kind of costume or drag on and feel that electric transformative power surge through me, I remember Olga, standing back, smiling at little Eric-da-Leek-boyo, pushing an extra chocolate ginger into the secret pocket she’d stitched into the costume and telling me as a leek I could do anything, that I would win the Ty-Sign Junior School costume competition (which I did), that I was powerful beyond belief behind the magical folds and fringes of my costume and to step out there, be exquisite and never explain.


Scene 59

56 Gscene

CRAIG’S THOUGHTS It’s Not You, It’s Your Phone (It’s you) By Craig Hanlon-Smith @craigscontinuum ) With the exception of what now feels like an unwelcome belch of summer liberation, we’ve been living with current restrictions for almost 12 months. For some parts of the UK, our short southern summer break was nothing more than trapped wind as early experiments of the so-called tier system meant areas of the north, both east and west, have been completely locked down throughout.

“Its label as the ‘I’ phone is no accident. Your entire everything in one palm-held device. Just swipe up and start screaming” While enthusiasm for the vaccine appears largely universal as we pin all of our future dreams on the mythological messiah we call hope, we’re also warned that the easing of restrictions must be led by the data and not dates. I suspect anyone expecting a street party on March 8 should start polishing their disappointment today. And rub hard, the stains of tarnished hope take some shifting. We half-hear reports of impending financial ruin, both personal and state level. While I respectfully acknowledge not all have benefited, the government hand-outs to support future jobs and business survival will be paid for by all of us for years to come. We are warned of the unseen pandemics. The seismic growth of struggles with our mental health, increases in domestic violence, addiction to drugs and alcohol, and the inability to access medical services we’ve come to expect in normal times, as usual. This is just the beginning. We do, however, find ourselves living through a second pandemic which has been building for the past 15 years, and which has firmly taken hold during the days, weeks, months and now year of living in lockdown. Our self-harm, self-destruction and community annihilation through the medium of social media platforms. The current furore in Australia involving Facebook and news websites is an international indicator of just how far we have fallen. Most news in the UK (and indeed the

world) is accessed through links to articles/ stories/sites shared across social media platforms such as Facebook, not forgetting they own Instagram and WhatsApp too. A few problems with this. We only access what drops into our feed, which is in itself decided for us following years of computer-generated algorithms self-choreographed with every ‘like’, ‘dislike’, ‘love’, ‘guffaw’, ‘super-cutehuggybunny-emoji’. We no longer get the full picture. And if anyone reading this is thinking “Not me… I am SO aware of…”, yes you. Unless you drop by the newsagent, pick up all the newspapers, read them, watch a range of news outlets and, after all of that, make up your own analytical observation, we consume and regurgitate a fraction of reality. Social media makes it easier for us. It’s all in one place, we can access it anywhere on the go from our phone and the moment we are outraged to learn whatever it is we are outraged to learn, share said sudden illumination and uneducated opinions across as many platforms as our tired little thumbs can manage. If it weren’t for the hospitals packed to the rafters with Covid-19 patients, we’d have been seen for our repetitive strain injuries months ago, but we soldier on because there’s so much to say. In many ways it’s not your fault in that this has been 40 years in the making. The politics of individualism born out of the 80s across the Western hemisphere established a defiance of the self in real company, face to face. The difference being, then we had to make an argument stick with at least the flimsiest of evidence. Leap forward to now and we can drop the evidence and just shout. This form was settled long before the pandemic of course, the online discourse in the run-up to the UK/EU referendum is a demonstration of that on both sides of the discussion, and then there was the establishment of Trump’s America. Trump didn’t invent his route to the White House, he capitalised on a form of communication which we were all well versed in by 2016. My way. Online.

It’s not your fault, but it’s your responsibility if shouting in capital letters like an electronic replica of the Handforth Parish Council meeting. Peculiar, isn’t it? That we mocked the belligerence of such high blood pressured communication with an unaccountable belligerence of our own across faceless social media soap boxes. How horrified we are at the extreme racism broadcast across these app-driven sites and yet think nothing of screaming SHUT UP to those whose opinion differs to our own. Granted, belligerent shouting isn’t racist but both behaviours are bigoted and demonstrate an inability to connect with one another in an emotionally intellectual way.

“We [...] find ourselves living through a second pandemic which has [...] firmly taken hold during the days, weeks, months and now year of living in lockdown. Our self-harm, self-destruction and community annihilation through the medium of social media platforms” In lockdown, it just got worse. Me, myself, my phone. Its label as the ‘I’ phone is no accident. Your entire everything in one palm-held device. Just swipe up and start screaming. The challenge with this style of communiqué is that we can already see the consequences, the future and it’s ugly. The different social movements across the world who see the message of others as an assault on one themselves – so we shout louder. The misinformation and lies we are fed and in most cases accept. The storming of the capital in Washington DC. The military coups in democratic states in 2021. The Covid denying. In the face of the highest death toll in Europe, our leaders repeating the mantra that we are world beating and doing better than everyone else. And despite their lies, the popularity measured in the polls continues to rise as oppositions crumble. We see that if you shout, and repeat, it works and so we all do it. LGBTQ+ communities assault one another, online. And no corner of our collective is immune or innocent. In simple terms, it’s the art of not listening. We’ve grown deaf by choice. And when we’re eased from lockdown? If we do nothing to make a change, we’ll have never seen the like. Put the phone down, Mary. And yes, I’m talking to you.


60 Scene

GOLDEN HOUR

STUFF & THINGS

Bit nippy?

The (not so) Great Outdoors

) Almost every year, in a post office far, far away, if you’re as inclined to earwigging as I am, you’ll hear a conversation between two people insisting that this winter has been the coldest winter in years. Well this year it is the coldest it’s been in a decade, and yet while taking my stupid little walks along the seafront among the bundled up masses, I see something that never ceases to horrify and appal me. Winter sea swimmers.

) Ah, the great outdoors! Grass, birds, bees, woods, the whole gamut of nature. Haven’t been able to access most of nature or the great outdoors for a while now so have kinda forgotten what it’s like to go wandering through woodland or basking on a beach.

BY BILLIE GOLD

BY JON TAYLOR

Heading outside of Brighton at the moment smacks of an unessential journey, particularly as I’d need to get there by public transport. The recent snow we’ve had gave me a yearning to go tramping through a field leaving footprints in the newly laid drifts and for them to be the only indication of life for miles around. To be away from the noise, buildings and people of the city and to revel in the peace and quiet and the stillness of the countryside. But then to come home to tea and a doughnut.

“Refusing to believe in the holistics of this barbaric practice, I decided to do some research, and the first headline I found claimed: Swimming in subzero temperatures likened to an orgasm” Now don’t get me wrong, I can see the appeal of dipping in an icy pool in picturesque Sweden, steam rolling off a new bikini just enough to post on Instagram and running into a very hot sauna, but what I find completely baffling is people I can only describe as death wish swimmers. People running scantily clad into the sea, as if we are in the middle of the Bahamas.

But, I couldn’t do any of that (although I did have the tea and a jammy treat). I did get down to the seafront while it was snowing which was rather cute but it’s not quite the same.

“People have a hankering to retire to a little village in the middle of nowhere with the English countryside wrapped around it with bird song being the noisiest thing. I think it would drive me mad after a while”

I did have one wild thought where maybe I could be that person, perhaps instead of staring grunting at an app on my phone twisting into an impossible yoga position I could be an outside girl, one that rides bikes and swims in a cold English Channel for absolutely no reason except masochism, and then it hit me, why would a bunch of people choose to freeze to death on a February morning?

I was fortunate to be able to visit Toronto a number of years ago and so visited Niagara Falls, which is an amazing sight. We visited during winter and so the surrounding area was knee-deep in snow with railings covered in blocks of ice, with daytime temperatures at -22. Was brilliant. The Falls itself is stunning and gives an indication of the power of nature and how it really couldn’t care less about us wee humans. If it’s going to do something, it will do it.

Refusing to believe in the holistics of this barbaric practice, I decided to do some research, and the first headline I found claimed: Swimming in sub-zero temperatures likened to an orgasm. Colour me more confused but it’s apparently true, the endorphins released in the brain when a person exposes themselves to extreme cold is likened to the little death, receptors flooded with the need to keep the brain and the essential organs from going into shock are sent into overdrive, leaving the swimmer euphoric.

I think we all pretty much fall into two camps though – we’re either a city or a country person. I’m much more of a city boy myself. I grew up in Brighton, went away to Northampton for University and came back to Brighton where I’ve been ever since.

“The description of it being called ‘a hangover in reverse’ by one enthusiast tells me that as admirable as freezing your bits off for a high is, I would rather watch them in awe from the safety of the pebbles”

I’ve seen the countryside from car windows and visited it usually during holidays in France where the biggest town is usually a half-hour drive away. I do enjoy it. It’s nice to look over rolling hills and to see how the sunlight changes the colours of the fields and the trees. It’s calming and peaceful. But I would also like to be able to just pop down the road to buy a pint of milk without a major operation to do so. It’s nice to visit! After a while I get a bit twitchy for the civilisation of a major metropolis.

More euphoria, more shocks to the system, still as extreme, but cleaner. Reading some of the testimonials about ice swimming it almost (read, almost) made me want to take the five-minute walk from my door down to Brighton seafront and jump in head-first, hoping to wash away all my sins, however the description of it being called ‘a hangover in reverse’ by one enthusiast tells me that as admirable as freezing your bits off for a high is, I would rather watch them in awe from the safety of the pebbles.

MIDSOMER MURDERS

To me this seems like a very uncomfortable way to get off but the effects of cold water swimming don’t end there. There’s actually scientific studies going on right now that link this kind of activity to its abilities to combat even the most serious depression, pain management problems and anxiety. An interview at the Highgate Swimmers’ Society found that about a third of the swimmers there are addicts in some form of recovery; having been a former addict myself, it makes total sense that someone would trade in a destructive addiction for one that hits a ‘reset’ button.

People have a hankering to retire to a little village in the middle of nowhere with the English countryside wrapped around it with bird song being the noisiest thing. I think it would drive me mad after a while. Also, if you lived in such a small place, imagine not getting on with your neighbours or just not liking them and they’re the only people around in a five mile radius! Plus, have you seen Midsomer Murders? That’s what the countryside will get you!


Scene 61

However, that’s not the case.”

RAE’S REFLECTIONS

The straight debate: can straight, cis actors play queer characters? By Rachel Badham ) Following the launch of Russell T Davies’ It’s A Sin, the creator responded to a handful of comments which questioned his decision to cast only queer actors in the groundbreaking TV show. His comment is just one of many in the ongoing debate of whether straight, cisgender actors have the right to play LGBTQ+ characters. Of course, non-queer people are frequently cast as LGBTQ+ characters, but in recent years this has sparked backlash, such as when Scarlett Johansson quit her role playing a trans woman following public retaliation. However, what frustrates me about much of the discourse is that it fails to address the deeper issues going on behind the scenes. Perhaps the issue at the heart of this is not whether straight, cis characters should be playing LGBTQ+ characters, but the fact there are so few queer characters and narratives within mainstream cinema. There are so few queer film characters that when a straight, cis person assumes the role of an LGBTQ+ character, it deducts from one of the few chances queer people get to tell their stories.

“Gay is not a performance. I don’t think gay is performative. I genuinely think that casting gay as gay now is the right thing to do” Using the logic that non-LGBTQ+ people shouldn’t be cast in LGBTQ+ roles, some people – who are more often than not straight, cis, men – argue that queer people should then not assume non-LGBTQ+ roles. Yet I believe that the problematic nature of a straight person playing an LGBTQ+ person is made void when a queer person plays straight character because the issue disproportionately affects LGBTQ+ narratives, which rarely appear on our screens. In response to the arguments set out by those who believe LGBTQ+ people should not play straight characters, Russell T Davies said: “I believe in casting gay as straight. And I’ll tell you why – because from the age of eight, we are pretending to be straight. It’s the first thing we learn to do.” What I think Davies is highlighting here is the deeper question of

who holds authority over certain narratives, which is part of the reason why I too believe LGBTQ+ roles should be reserved for LGBTQ+ actors. Many queer people have already acted in a straight story in their daily life, and now queer people need authority over their stories because they have, historically speaking, been denied it, unlike straight, cis people. Queer actor Kristen Stewart has also weighed in on this in a 2020 interview, discussing the complexity of the issue: “I would never want to tell a story that really should be told by somebody who’s lived that experience. Having said that, it’s a slippery slope conversation because that means I could never play another straight character if I’m going to hold everyone to the letter of this particular law.” If Stewart were to be denied straight roles as a result of her sexuality, her career – in terms of which films she would be able to be cast in – would likely suffer significantly, so some have argued that actors should be able to play any role; it is acting after all. So what is apparent to me is that the debate should not just be about casting but the politics of film industry and a continuing lack of queer representation. Why is it that Stewart’s career opportunities would diminish if she was no longer allowed to play non-LGBTQ+ roles? It seems that discussing if straight, cis people should be able to play LGBTQ+ people only scratches the surface of exclusionary problems that exist in the media. And again, this is why I do agree that LGBTQ+ roles should be filled by LGBTQ+ people – there simply isn’t enough LGBTQ+ representation in cinema, and there isn’t enough space for queer actors in the industry. According to GLAAD’s annual Studio Responsibility Index, 22 of 118 films released by major movie studios in 2019 included characters who were lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and/or queer (18.6%). In a November 2020 piece for USA Today, Jane Ward, a gender and sexuality studies professor at the University of California, said: “It would be nice if there were enough LGBTQ+ roles that anyone could play them because there wasn’t any scarcity of representation...

In addition, LGBTQ+ actors may not be considered for any kind of role in a certain film due to the prejudices which continue to exist in the mainstream film industry – casting discrimination not often discussed in the debate, which tends to focus on the rights of straight, cis people to tell stories which they have not lived, but is a crucial factor to consider if we are to unravel the bigger picture of LGBTQ+ issues in the film industry. Ryan Cassata, a trans actor, said he rarely gets the chance to audition for cisgender characters: “That has nothing to do with my agents... That’s just the way the industry is,” and argues the injustice lies in cisgender actors taking away the few chances trans actors get to star in productions which feature a trans character (another rare occurrence). This leads on to the lack of LGBTQ+ directors in mainstream film studios; while Kristen Stewart’s queer holiday romcom, The Happiest Season, was directed by the openly gay actress turned director, Clea DuVall, many films which contain LGBTQ+ characters do not have this level of input from queer people. As Cassata said, LGBTQ+ people are able to tell more authentic stories about LGBTQ+ characters, but how are they able to do so if queer filmmakers do not have access to mainstream audiences. As GLAAD found, Hollywood films are disproportionately populated by straight, cisgender characters and storylines, but what is often not considered is the extension of this issue to behind the scenes. As Stewart said, there are grey areas when questioning if straight, cis people can play queer characters as it raises question of which roles LGBTQ+ people have access to, but what is not a grey area is the overall lack of LGBTQ+ narratives and acceptance within the industry. Instead of just focusing on casting, I strongly believe the debate needs to delve into the deeper politics of the film industry, which is excluding both LGBTQ+ workers and representation. Perhaps one day, straight, cis people will be able to play LGBTQ+ characters with no backlash, and this day will come when LGBTQ+ people are as widely and accurately represented in film, and queer actors and filmmakers have equal opportunities. Until then, LGBTQ+ people shouldn’t be denied the few chances they get to tell their stories. ‘It’s A Sin creator Russell T Davies on queer actors playing straight, gay Tories, TV erections and spunk’ – Darren Scott, Pink News, January 22, 2021. ‘Kristen Stewart on ‘Happiest Season’ and the ‘Gray Area’ of Only Gay Actors Playing Gay Characters’ – Kate Aurthur, Variety, November 23, 2020. ‘Hollywood’s casting dilemma: Should straight, cisgender actors play LGBTQ characters?’ – David Oliver, USA Today, November 24, 2020.


32 Scene

STREETS OF BRIGHTON Photography by Tom Selmon

FRAN I @xxywy_


JOSH I @ansransransr


32 Scene

LAUREL I @laurelda

HARVEY I @Harvey_Frost


Scene 33

ANNA

EMILE

I @HouseofArson


66 Scene

Turn Back the Pages

Gscene has been published every month for over 27 years, and is a rich chronicle of the history of our LGBTQ+ communities, in and around Brighton & Hove. Chris Gull raids the archives… Claudia Patrice, Topping & Butch and the DE Experience. From his time in Brighton, Drag With No Name and Maisie Trollette captured exactly what the show was all about – ‘the love of community.’ Finally, the crowd was brought to its feet by the Brighton Gay Men’s Chorus and the Rainbow Chorus, who delivered a magnificent finale to the show with their rendition of the show’s title song, When You Tell Me That You Love Me. It was a fabulous evening created by people who had a genuine affection for him and it was held together with military precision by Lola Lasagne, who is blossoming into a consummate compère as well as performer and organiser of community events.

March 2006 Fifteen tears ago (!) Brighton came together to celebrate the life of Phil Starr, and James Ledward called out a Tory councillor as a bigot. PHIL STARR TRIBUTE SHOW ) The Brighton LGBT community staged a tribute show for one of its favourite adopted sons on Sunday, January 29 at The Dome. The Phil Starr Tribute Show, When You Tell Me That You Love Me, attracted 1,400 devotees to the theatre to be entertained by colleagues from Phil’s 50 years in the business. All artists donated their services free of charge to help give ‘The Master’ the send-off he deserved from his fans and friends in Brighton. Representing his days in variety, You Me and Him – Paul James, Peter Anthony and Billy Knutt – set the tone and standard for the show with a 15-minute set of close vocal harmonies that set the audience buzzing. Representing the acts that Phil worked with in London were Jacqui Cann, Katrina & the Boy,

TORY ATTACKS ‘GAY VILLAGE’ ) A Tory councillor has attacked plans to upgrade the facilities in St James’s Street to make the gay village a safer and more comfortable place for everyone to live. Councillor for Hangleton & Knoll, Dawn Barnett, said in a recent letter to The Argus: “I am in agreement with the comments of Alan Bond of the St James’s Forum Action Group. As a heterosexual person, I see no need to make a song and dance about it or decorate my street in a certain way. Thus, it is a little disappointing everyone’s taxes should specifically finance LGBT taxpayers.”

James Ledward, editor of Gscene, said: “There are many examples where LGBT people have historically paid taxes that only benefit people in the straight community. If LGBT people used the same benchmark when paying their taxes, the children of bigots who express similar sentiments to Dawn Barnett would never receive an education. I saw the Greens’ suggestions about the development of St James’s Street published in The Argus as an attempt to flush out the bigots and trouble-makers, prior to the Gay Business Forum presenting their thoughtout proposals for the upgrading of the area. As expected, the bigots came out in force, many hiding behind their gay-friendly credentials, to remind us all we have a long way to go to achieve full equality and fairness.”

March 2011 ) Ten years ago (!), the Pride debacle rolls on,

with yet another incisive editorial from James Ledward, and Brighton named the third most gay-friendly destination in THE WORLD!

COMMENT ) “I approached Cllr Mary Mears last October after it became clear there was a distinct possibility that Pride 2011 would be boycotted by some LGBT voluntary organisations if the present organisers continued to organise the event. Over the following months many people, including the former Chair of Pride, David Harvey, who set Pride up as a charity, called for the charity to close down because it was in his view “wrong to raise money from people to stage a party in Preston Park which did not benefit LGBT community organisations”. The Women’s Performance Tent Organisers, Calabash, Lunch Positive, in partnership with Wilde Ones and Aeon Events produced a consultative document for a community business partnership to stage Pride in 2011. These organisations asked me to be a conduit between them and the council.

The Reclaim Pride organisers went to public consultation and developed a fully costed bid that would guarantee money for our LGBT organisations. They sat and waited for the invitation to present their bid to the council. The invitation never came. Instead a round table meeting was called at the beginning of February, the purpose of which was not clear to anyone, myself included. At the round table meeting it emerged that council officers leading for the council thought the purpose of the process had been to have a single Pride and it did not occur to them that the council had to choose between two opposing bids. Behind the scenes the council had been continuing to meet with Pride in Brighton & Hove organisers.


Scene 67 The outcome of the meeting with the council on February 2, 2011, effectively put the Pride Problem back to where it was last October. The Women’s Performance Tent organisers, Calabash and Lunch Positive made it very clear to everyone round the table that they could not work with the present Pride organisers, their paid worker or production company. To be honest, I believe council officers never took the bid by Reclaim Pride seriously, despite the organisers having a wealth of experience in organising this event. The council’s only feedback on the original consultation document was to comment the text was sexist, despite it being cleared by the Women’s Performance Tent organisers and Women’s Centre. Funny that!” BRIGHTON 3RD MOST GAY FRIENDLY TOURIST DESTINATION IN WORLD ) Brighton has been named third most gay-friendly destination in the world after San Francisco and Sydney by Lonely Planet, the specialist travel website and magazine. Brighton’s citation reads: “Perhaps it’s Brighton’s long-time association with the theatre, but for more than 100 years the city has been a gay haven.

The vibrant queer community is made-up of 40,000 residents – almost a quarter of the total population. Kemptown (aka Camptown) is where it’s all at, with a rank of gay-owned bars, hotels, cafés, bookshops and saunas. There’s even a Gay’s the Word walking tour.”

March 2016 ) Just five years ago, still innocently prereferendum, pre-Trump presidency, and pre-Covid, we can reflect that the past really is another country…

evergreen Stephanie Starlet which brought many old faces back out onto the scene for a night of nostalgia, great music and serious dancing.

MISS JASON RECEIVES AWARD FROM SUSSEX POLICE ) Jason Sutton aka as entertainer Miss Jason has been presented with a special community award by Chief Superintendent Nev Kemp from Sussex Police acknowledging the help he gave police officers during a bomb scare at the start of the Brighton & Hove Pride Parade in 2015. The start of the Pride Parade was delayed by two hours while police investigated a suspicious package strapped to a lamppost outside the Brighton Hotel.

BLAGSS’ 18TH BIRTHDAY ) BLAGSS, Brighton Lesbian and Gay Sports Society, celebrated its 18th birthday at the end of January with a dinner dance at the Sussex Cricket Club. One-hundred members were treated to a sumptuous three-course sit down dinner followed by classic disco and line-dancing. BLAGSS has more than 400 members of all different shapes, sizes, ages and abilities who participate in sports as varied as badminton, cricket, cycling, football, golf, orienteering, petanque-boules, running, sailing, squash, table tennis, tennis, tennis virgins, ten-pin bowling, walking and yoga.

Jason, who had been hosting a Pride breakfast at the Brighton Hotel, kept the crowds outside calm and entertained while police investigated the package and then evacuated the crowd while bomb squad officers carried out a controlled explosion. The package turned out to be a pinhole. The citation on the award, read: “Miss Jason is thanked by Sussex Police for assisting in the evacuation of a large number of people during Brighton & Hove’s Pride 2015 celebrations following the discovery of a suspicious package. “Miss Jason displayed great professionalism and helped to ensure a calm and organised evacuation putting the safety of the local community first.” Miss Jason added: “It was so camp my dears! I had a wonderful time keeping everyone entertained in the long wait to establish how serious the situation was. Everyone played their part and the most important thing is that no one was hurt, everyone had a great day and I am very happy to have played my part.”

BLAGSS’ aim is to encourage LGBT people to play sport to enrich their lives and promote health and fitness while developing sporting talent in the LGBT community. WEIRD, CONTEMPORARY AND UNIQUE – TRAUMFRAU AT ENVY ) Traumfrau, Brighton’s most unusual queer night, runs monthly from a different venue, in February it was above Charles Street at Envy. Expect to step into a colourful reality, where you can dance until the late hours, watch unapologetic drag queens and incredible performers, be part of a show, enter a painting competition, play a game, dance some more and meet the most social and interesting people.

DR BRIGHTONS CELEBRATE SEVEN YEARS AT THE TOP! ) On March 5, Charles Child and his team at Doctor Brightons will be celebrating their seventh birthday ‘gaying’ it up on Brighton seafront. Charles took over the reins in 2009 and was joined in 2010 by the barman with the dirtiest laugh in Brighton, Wayne Durant, who arrived hot from managing the Bulldog. Charles and Wayne both agree that one of the highlights of the last seven years was the Reunion Party last month, hosted by the

From outdoor festival-like parties, with fire pits, a pool, and food, to club nights, performances, and great DJs, no two Traumfrau parties are ever the same. All are an unforgettable experience. An intellectual dancefloor for the unusual crowd. Bizarre and enlightening. Forget everything you know about a gay club, butch up your camp, camp up your butch, break all binaries, wear whatever you want, or very little, scr*w the pressure of having to be anything else than what you want.


68 Scene

NETTY’S WORLD

HOMELY HOMILY

Let’s Go Outside

‘Appy days

BY NETTY WENDT

) My partner and I moved to Brighton from Hammersmith over 20 years ago. Yes, we were drawn to the vibrant gay and lesbian scene, but it was the nature of a bohemian town flanked by the rolling green hills and the sea, that was truly the call of the wild as we sat in our London flat surrounded by traffic and tube stations.

“Now Brighton in turn is (to me at least) too crowded. The wildlife on Hove Lawns is of a more human variety, and as hitting people who annoy me is frowned upon, I’ve moved along the coast to Peacehaven” Similarly, since lockdown many other Londoners have heard the mermaids singing too. Estate agents tell of an unprecedented exodus from the capital, and who can blame these runaways? We humans have a biological need for the great outdoors as well as a cosy place to lay our heads. Psychologists have found that merely looking at a green wall is efficacious and calming. Indeed, a few years ago when studying for my psychology degree, I was asked to describe my ‘happy place’. To my surprise, it was not a pub. It was Hove Lawns. I know, it’s hardly a nature reserve, but here I was surrounded by myriad dogs, birds, greenery and the sea. I felt alive. I have often been struck by the way we gays have utilised outdoorsy pursuits to hook up or spend time with our own kind. A group of women walking on Devil’s Dyke can safely enjoy each other’s company as well as the fresh air, far away from the prying eyes of heteronormativity. On that note, I hear the bushes are being drastically trimmed at Duke’s Mound, where the hell will all the gay men go? That foliage has been the only bush they’ve been in for years! I suppose Grindr caters for such casual encounters these days, but I never thought I’d feel nostalgic about a cruising ground.

“I hear the bushes are being drastically trimmed at Duke’s Mound, where the hell will all the gay men go? That foliage has been the only bush they’ve been in for years!” Time marches on, now Brighton in turn is (to me at least) too crowded. The wildlife on Hove Lawns is of a more human variety, and as hitting people who annoy me is frowned upon, I’ve moved along the coast to Peacehaven. It’s not so far away, I can see the i360 from my daily walk along the cliffs, but it’s a world away from the hustle and bustle, it’s big sky, crashing waves and rolling hills. After my run-in with Covid-19 I walked this route to recover the use of my legs and breathed this air to heal my ravaged lungs, ultimately this walk healed my soul. When walking I think how lucky I am to be alive. I pass my friend’s house and wave in at him, we’re still in lockdown but one day soon we’ll have a barbecue, even food tastes better al fresco. I pass a lesbian couple I knew from Brighton days, they’ve just got a dog, because now they have the great outdoors and a garden. I smile at a bearded chap in a Brighton Bear Weekend T-shirt. Perhaps he’s here to heal his soul too? Nah, he’s cruising.

BY GLENN STEVENS

) I am ever hopeful that by the time of this going to print in March’s Scene magazine the third lockdown is behind us and there is a glimmer of hope ahead and we are getting out more and embracing all that is so good about living in Brighton. With the sea in front of us, the South Downs at the back, and our vibrant city jewelled in the centre. But if the previous year has taught us anything, it is to have a Plan B up our sleeves.

“One of the tools in my belt, which has been a great comforter, has been practicing mindfulness. I will be forever grateful to Jackie and Judy for the free mindfulness classes they ran at The Sussex Beacon” Also let us remember there will be a good proportion of Brighton people who are still self-isolating at home and will be only able to get outdoors via the view from their window, so what to do? One of the tools in my belt, which has been a great comforter, has been practicing mindfulness. I will be forever grateful to Jackie and Judy for the free mindfulness classes they ran at The Sussex Beacon. This practice has been a simple yet powerful way or stopping a lot of emotionally draining situations from getting out of hand, allowing me to centre my mind and bring myself back into the moment. If that may sound a little bit tree hugging (which I also like) then please just drop the doubt and give it a try, there are plenty of online courses to sign up to and once you have the basics, this practice can be a friend for life.

“The fantastic thing about this app is it not only helps with lowering stress levels but also takes the imagination to places that many may not be able to get to due to self-isolating” Another great app to help with relaxation is one for people who live with tinnitus, that ringing in your ear which I and thousands of other people live with. The app I use is ReSound which offers an array of soundscapes, including At the Beach and Evening Forest, to help you relax - one of the main causes for tinnitus to increase is stress. The fantastic thing about this app is it not only helps with lowering stress levels but also takes the imagination to places that many may not be able to get to due to self-isolating. The app, and I am sure there are many more out there, offers visual representations of nature’s powerful great outdoors as well as bite-size spoken meditations. I do know that not everyone can connect with these types of therapies and during self-isolation many may crave to get further afield in a different way. We are so lucky to be bang in the middle of the digital age where the world is at our fingertips. For a virtual South Downs walk, visit www.southdowns.gov.uk or for something more out of this world why not visit the edge of the universe with Sean Pertwee: https://youtu.be/68tpCpDOsyA. So if we are still in lockdown, grab yourself a cuppa, sit down, relax with an app or log in and enjoy the virtual great outdoors.


Scene 69

62 Gscene

CLASSIFIEDS

Email info@gscene.com by 15th March to book an advert

LGBTQ CHURCH/ PROFESSIONAL

SERVICES

) In a time when we are restricted to go and enjoy the outdoors due to the current coronavirus pandemic, our mental and physical health may have had a downward spiral. People who are living with HIV have become used to the idea of accessing regular support, whether to share a lunch, have an alternative therapy session, or meet friends in the pub. One aspect that may not be in the forefront of their mind is to leave the city buzz and engage with nature or the countryside. Walking in open spaces, woods, mountains or seashore, has been proven to have a beneficial effect on our minds, it enables us to recharge the batteries, reduces stress, helps sleep and relaxation and much more. We are fortunate to have such resources near to us; the seafront promenade and the South Downs which envelops the city. We have good public transport to reach these places too. When the restrictions lift we should try our best to utilise these resources. City life can be draining and the distractions of it can wear us down. Sometimes we can get mindlessly stuck in the mud, feel lethargic or want to stay close to our creature comforts. We may even convince ourselves that there’s no real benefit or it’s too much effort to adventure into the countryside. From personal experience, when sitting by the sea watching the waves roll over, standing on top of Devils Dyke looking over the vast Sussex Wealds, or exploring through a quiet moss-laden wood, all my problems and worries fall away, my mind has clarity and the effort is so worth it. It’s like medicine, it’s like a tonic. These remedies need to be taken at regular intervals in order to keep the happy mood muscles at a consistent level; similar to the effects of the levels and adherence of our antiretrovirals that have been drummed into us!

“When sitting by the sea watching the waves roll over, standing on top of Devils Dyke looking over the vast Sussex Wealds, or exploring through a quiet moss laden wood; all my problems and worries fall away, my mind has a clarity and the effort is so worth it” Walking has been one of my passions for a very long time, visiting places such as Cumbria, Northumberland, Isle of Skye and the Peak District. But Sussex is a place I know well and the gentle hills and chalky paths are quite lovely throughout the yearly seasons. Positive Walks is a social media group that gets HIV+ people out walking and hopefully connecting with nature, even just for a few hours a month. It helps people socialise in a different environment, away from the city, get exercise or just have fun. My HIV status is only a part of me, it lives with me, it doesn’t dictate my life, it’s not a prominent aspect of it. My enjoyment of walking, my creativity in making art and my work enables me to have a varied and full character. That’s why the project More to Me Than HIV was something I wanted to be involved with. Hopefully helping break the stigma and outdated views of what constitutes and makes up a person not just living, but ‘thriving’ with HIV. Please contact info@moretomethanhiv.life for more information on both projects.

While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of statements in this magazine we cannot accept responsibility for the views of contributors, errors, or ommisions, or for matters arising from clerical or printers errors, or an advertiser not completing a contract


70 Scene

SERVICES DIRECTORY LGBTQ+ Services l Allsorts Youth Project Drop-in for LGBT or unsure young people under 26 Tues 5.30–8.30pm 01273 721211 or email info@ allsortsyouth.org.uk. www.allsortsyouth.org.uk

l Brighton & Hove Police Report all homophobic, biphobic or transphobic incidents to: 24/7 assistance call Police on 101 (emergencies 999) Report online at: www.sussex.police.uk LGBT team (not 24/7) email: LGBT@sussex.pnn.police.uk • LGBT Officer PC James Breeds: Tel: 101 ext 558168 James.breeds@sussex.pnn.police.uk

l Brighton & Hove LGBT Safety Forum Independent LGBT forum working within the communities to address and improve safety and access issues in Brighton & Hove. For more info: 01273 675445 or admin@lgbt-help.com or www.lgbt-help.com

l Brighton & Hove LGBT Switchboard • LGBT Older People’s Project • LGBT Health Improvement and Engagement Project • LGBTQ Disabilities Project • Rainbow Café: support for LGBT+ people with Dementia • Volunteering opportunities 01273 234 009 Helpline hours: Wed & Thur, 7–9.30pm; trans-only webchat on Sun 3–5pm: call 01273 204 050 email info@switchboard.org.uk webchat www.switchboard.org.uk/helpline www.switchboard.org.uk/brighton

l Brighton OneBodyOneFaith Formerly The Gay Christian Movement. Contact: Nigel Nash nigelnash@me.com. www.onebodyonefaith.org.uk

l Brighton Women’s Centre Info, counselling, drop-in space, support groups 01273 698036 or visit www.womenscentre.org.uk

l Lesbian & Gay AA 12-step self-help programme for alcohol addictions: Sun, 7.30pm, Chapel Royal, North St, Btn (side entrance). 01273 203 343 (general AA line)

l LGBTQ+ Cocaine Anonymous Meeting every Tues 6.30-8pm, 6 Tilbury Pl, Brighton, BN2 0GY, CA isn’t allied with any outside organisation, and neither endorses or opposes any causes. Helpline 0800 6120225, www.cocaineanonymous.org.uk www.sussexcocaineanonymous.co.uk

l LGBTQ+ NA Group Brighton-based LGBTQ+ (welcomes others) Narcotics Anonymous group every Tue 6.30–8pm, Millwood Centre, Nelson Row, Kingswood St. 0300 999 1212

l Mindout

info

Independent, impartial services run by and for LGBTQ people with experience of mental health issues. 24 hr confidential answerphone: 01273 234839 or email info@ mindout.org.uk and out of hours online chat www.mindout.org.uk

l Sussex Beacon

l Navigate Social/peer support group for FTM, transmasculine & gender queer people, every 1st Wed 7-9pm & 3rd Sat of month 1-3pm at Space for Change, Windlesham Venue, BN1 3AH. https://navigatebrighton.wordpress.com/

l Peer Action Regular low cost yoga, therapies, swimming, meditation & social groups for people with HIV. contact@peeraction. net or www.peeraction.net

l Rainbow Families Support group for lesbian and/or gay parents 07951 082013 or info@rainbowfamilies.org.uk. www.rainbowfamilies.org.uk

l Rainbow Hub Information, contact, help and guidance to services for LGBT+ communities in Brighton, Hove and Sussex at Rainbow Hub drop in LGBT+ one-stop shop: 93 St James Street, BN2 1TP, 01273 675445 or visit www.therainbowhubbrighton.com

l Some People Social/support group for LGB or questioning aged 14-19, Tue 5.30-7.30pm, Hastings. Call/text Cathrine Connelly 0797 3255076 or email somepeople@eastsussex.gov.uk

l TAGS – The Arun Gay Society Social Group welcome all in East & West Sussex Areas. Call/Text 07539 513171. More info: www.tagsonline.org. uk

l Victim Support Practical, emotional support for victims of crime 08453 899 528

l The Village MCC Christian church serving the LGBTQ community. Sundays 6pm, Somerset Day Centre, Kemptown. More info: 07476 667353, www.thevillagemcc.org

HIV Prevention, Care & Treatment Services l AVERT Sussex HIV & AIDS info service 01403 210202 or confidential@avert.org

l Brighton & Hove CAB HIV Project Money, benefits, employment, housing, info, advocacy. Appointments: Tue-Thur 9am-4pm, Wed 9am-12.30pm Brighton & Hove Citizens Advice Bureau, Brighton Town Hall. 01273 733390 ext 520 or www.brightonhovecab.org.uk

l Clinic M

Meditation & discussion, every 2nd & 4th Thur, 5.30–7pm, Anahata Clinic, 119 Edward St, Brighton. 07789 861 367 or www.bodhitreebrighton.org.uk

Free confidential testing & treatment for STIs including HIV, plus Hep A & B vaccinations. Claude Nicol Centre, Sussex County Hospital, on Weds from 5-8pm. 01273 664 721 or www.brightonsexualhealth.com

l Lunch Positive

l Lawson Unit

Lunch club for people with HIV. Meet/make friends, find peer support in safe space. Every Fri, noon–2.30pm, Community Room, Dorset Gdns Methodist Church, Dorset Gdns, Brighton. Lunch £1.50. 07846 464 384 or www.lunchpositive.org

l Martin Fisher Foundation

l LGBT+ Meditation Group

l MCC Brighton Inclusive, affirming space where all are invited to come as they are to explore their spirituality without judgement. 01273 515572 or info@mccbrighton.org.uk www.mccbrighton.org.uk

Medical advice, treatment for HIV+, specialist clinics, diet & welfare advice, drug trials. 01273 664 722 HIV self-testing kits via digital vending machines available from: The Brighton Sauna, Prowler, Marlborough Pub and The Rainbow Hub. www.martinfisherfoundation.org

l Substance Misuse Service Brighton & Hove: Change Grow Live: 01273 731900, email brighton.info@cgl.org.uk, visit: www. changegrowlive.org/brighton-hove-recovery-service/

24 hour nursing & medical care, day care 01273 694222 or www.sussexbeacon.org.uk

l Terrence Higgins Trust services For more info about these free services go to the THT office, 61 Ship St, Brighton, Mon–Fri, 10am–5pm 01273 764200 or info.brighton@tht.org.uk • Venue Outreach: info on HIV, sexual health, personal safety, safer drug/alcohol use, free condoms/lubricant for men who have sex with men • The Bushes Outreach Service @ Dukes Mound: advice, support, info on HIV & sexual health, and free condoms & lube • Netreach (online/mobile app outreach in Brighton & Hove): info/advice on HIV/sexual health/local services. THT Brighton Outreach workers online on Grindr, Scruff, & Squirt • Condom Male: discreet, confidential service posts free condoms/lube/sexual health info to men who have sex with men without access to East Sussex commercial gay scene • Positive Voices: volunteers who go to organisations to talk about personal experiences of living with HIV • Fastest (HIV testing): walk-in, (no appointment) rapid HIV testing service open to MSM (Men who have sex with Men). Anyone from the African communities, male and female sex workers and anyone who identifies as Trans or non-binary. We now offer rapid 15 minutes results for HIV/Syphilis: Mon 10am-8pm, Tues-Fri 10am-5pm, Thurs 10am-8pm (STI testing available) • Sauna Fastest at The Brighton Sauna (HIV testing): walk-in, (no appointment) rapid HIV testing service for men who have sex with men, results in 20 minutes: Wed: 6–8pm (STI testing available) • Face2Face: confidential info & advice on sexual health & HIV for men who have sex with men, up to 6 one hour appointments • Specialist Training: wide range of courses for groups/ individuals, specific courses to suit needs • Counselling: from qualified counsellors for up to 12 sessions for people living with/affected by HIV • What Next? Thurs eve, 6 week peer support group work programme for newly diagnosed HIV+ gay men • HIV Support Services: info, support & practical advice for people living with/affected by HIV • HIV Welfare Rights Advice: Find out about benefits or benefit changes. Advice line: Tue–Thur 1:30- 2:30pm. 1-2-1 appts for advice & workshops on key benefits

l Terrence Higgins Eastbourne

• Web support & info on HIV, sexual health & local services via netreach and www.myhiv.org.uk • Free condom postal service contact Grace Coughlan on 07584086590 or grace.coughlan@tht.org.uk

l Sexual Health Worthing Free confidential tests & treatment for STIs inc HIVA; Hep vaccinations. Worthing-based 0845 111345645

National Helplines l National LGBT Domestic Abuse Helpline at www.galop.org.uk and 0800 999 5428 l Switchboard 0300 330 0630 l Positiveline (Eddie Surman Trust) Mon-Fri 11am-10pm, Sat & Sun 4-10pm 0800 1696806 l Mainliners 02075 825226 l National AIDS Helpline 08005 67123 l National Drugs Helpline 08007 76600 l THT AIDS Treatment phoneline 08459 470047 l THT direct 0845 1221200


OLD HO HOV OVEE STATIO ION

SHOR

EHAM

Gscene Advertisers’ Map

RD R KE DY

36

16

ISLI

ADE

D PAR

GRAN

) Clubs

11 Basement Club (below Legends) 31-34 Marine Parade, 01273 624462 www.legendsbrighton.com 7 Envy (above Charles St Tap) 8-9 Marine Parade, 01273 624091 www.charles-street.com

ST

17

26

D LEW ES R

H ST

ST

EEN SP

AR K

ST

QU

33

EDWAR

D ST

ST JAM

EASTER

ES ST

MARIN

28

REET

N RD

23

31

8

E PAR

WEST PIER

ADE BRIG

HTON

BRIGHTON PIER

2 Amsterdam Bar & Kitchen 11-12 Marine Parade, 01273 688 826 www.amsterdambrighton.com 6 Camelford Arms 30-31 Camelford St, 01273 622386 www.camelford-arms.co.uk 7 Charles Street Tap 8-9 Marine Parade, 01273 624091 www.charles-street.com 23 Cup of Joe 28 St George’s Rd, 01273 698873 www.cupofjoebrighton.co.uk 9 Giu & Su Café & Wine Bar 2 Church St, BN1 1UJ 11 Legends Bar 31-34 Marine Parade, 01273 624462 www.legendsbrighton.com 12 Marine Tavern 13 Broad St, 01273 681284 www.marinetavern.co.uk 24 New Steine Bistro 12a New Steine, 01273 681546 www.newsteinehotel.com

RD

RD

RCH

27

) Food

VER

RD

THO

ORD

FRESH FIELD

RD

CHU

NOR T

32

SOU

RADE GRAND P A

RD

OLD STEIN E

D

CLOCK TOW TOWER

N EW

N RD

KINGS R

) Bars & pubs

www.nautiluslounge.com 14 Paris House 21 Western Road, 01273 724195 www.parishouse.com 15 Queen’s Arms 7 George St, 01273 696873 www.theqabrighton.com 16 Railway Club 4 Belmont, Dyke Rd, 01273 328682 17 Regency Tavern 32-34 Russell Sq, 01273 325 652 18 Three Jolly Butchers 59 North Rd, 01273 608571 www.three-jolly-butchers.co.uk 19 Velvet Jacks 50 Norfolk Square, 07720 661290 http://tinyurl.com/VelvetJacks 20 Lé Village 2-3 High Street, 01273 681634 21 Zone  33 St James’s St, 01273 682249 www.zonebrighton.co.uk

NORTH

9

WESTER

NGW

18

29

D

10 4

TRAFALGAR ST

IER R TP EL

19 30

MON

14 KINGSWAY

1 Affinity Bar 129 St James’s St, www.affinitygaybar.co.uk 2 Amsterdam Bar & Kitchen 11-12 Marine Parade, 01273 688 826 www.amsterdambrighton.com 3 Bar Broadway 10 Steine Street, 01273 609777 www.barbroadway.co.uk 4 Bedford Tavern 30 Western Street, 01273 739495 5 All New Bulldog 31 St James St, 01273 696996 6 Camelford Arms 30-31 Camelford St, 01273 622386 www.camelford-arms.co.uk 7 Charles Street Tap 8-9 Marine Parade, 01273 624091 www.charles-street.com 8 Fallen Angel 24 Grafton St, 07949590001 9 Giu & Su Café & Wine Bar 2 Church St, BN1 1UJ 10 Grosvenor Bar CH U 16 Western Street, 01273 438587 11RCLegends Bar H ST 31-34 Marine Parade, 01273 624462 www.legendsbrighton.com 12 Marine Tavern 13 Broad St, 01273 681284 www.marinetavern.co.uk 13 Nautilus Lounge 129 St James’s St, 01273 624100

QUEE N S RD

ND RD HOLLA

1ST AVE

PALME R SQUAR IA E

W EST

GE ST GEOR

37

RD

RD

THE DRIV I E

SEVEN N DIALS ALS

E RD DYK

CHURCH

BRIGHTON STATION

N DO

RD

LON

GOLDSMID

H RD HOVE ST

ELM GROVE

D

SACKVILLE VILL RD D

D RD

MAR

INA >

14 Paris House 21 Western Road, 01273 724195 www.parishouse.com 17 Regency Tavern 32-34 Russell Sq, 01273 325 652 18 Three Jolly Butchers  59 North Rd, 01273 608571 www.three-jolly-butchers.co.uk 19 Velvet Jacks 50 Norfolk Square, 07720 661290 http://tinyurl.com/VelvetJacks 20 Lé Village 2-3 High Street, 01273 681634

26 Hilton Brighton Metropole 1 Kings Rd, 01273 775 432 www.hilton.com 11 Legends Hotel 31-34 Marine Parade, 01273 624462 www.legendsbrighton.com 24 New Steine Bistro 12a New Steine, 01273 681546 www.newsteinehotel.com 27 Queens Hotel 1/3 Kings Rd, 01273 321222 www.queenshotelbrighton.com

) Hotels

28 Barber Blacksheep 18 St Georges Rd, 01273 623408 wwww.barberblacksheep.com 29 Dental Health Spa 14–15 Queens Rd, 01273 710831 www.dentalhealthspa.co.uk 30 Velvet Tattoo 50 Norfolk Square, 07720 661290 http://tinyurl.com/VelvetJacks

) Health & Beauty

25 Gullivers Hotel 12a New Steine, 01273 695415 www.gullivershotel.com

) Sexual Health

E

ARDEN S UPPER

AIDS MEMORIAL

E

ROCK PLAC

11

K GARDENS

25

E

6

37 Engleharts 49 Vallance Hall, Hove St, 01273 204411

NEW STEIN

2

24 E

CAMELF

ORD STR

EET

) Legal Services

LOWER ROC

MADEIRA DRIVE

2

40

34 Prowler 112 St James’ St, 01273 683680 35 Sussex Beacon Charity Shop 130 St James’s St, 01273 682992 36 Sussex Beacon Home Store 72-73 London Rd, 01273 680264 www.sussexbeacon.org.uk

ROCK G

MES’

SHIRE

AVENU

E

PLAC

ET STRE HIGH

DORS

38

21

NEW STEIN

RADE

12

MADEIRA PLACE

CHARLES STREET

7

MARINE PA

BRIGHTON PIER

5

34

MANCHESTER STREET

3

STEINE STREET

13

20

33 Brighton Sauna 75 Grand Parade, 01273 689966 www.thebrightonsauna.com

) Shops

ST JA

EET

39

DEVO N

ES’ STR

) Saunas

ET GA

GE ST REET GEOR

ST JAM

BROAD STREET

35 1

ST

RDEN

SS TRE E PRI

ST

OLD STEINE

RTH

15

NCE

ROYA

NO

31 Clinic M Claude Nicol Abbey Rd, 01273 664721 www.brightonsexualhealth.com/node/11 32 THT Brighton 61 Ship St, 01273 764200

S

T

L PAV

ILLIO N

EDWARD

) Community

38 Brighton Women’s Centre 72 High St, 01273 698036 www.womenscentre.org.uk 39 Lunch Positive Dorset Gadens Methodist Church, Dorset Gardens, 07846 464384 www.lunchpositive.org 40 Rainbow Hub 93 St James’s St, 01273 675445 www.therainbowhubbrighton.com


Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games launches Pride House Project ) On Friday, February 19, the Pride House project for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games was formally launched. The project aims to create a community hub – an inclusive space – to raise awareness of LGBTQ+ issues in sport and the wider Commonwealth. Pride House will welcome LGBTQ+ athletes, spectators, officials and their allies before, during and after the games. It will be a physical space for people to experience the event with others from the community, and to build a relationship with mainstream sport.

Birmingham LGBTQ+ community reveals plans for permanent HIV/AIDS memorial

pic cap

72

As a concept, Pride House launched in Vancouver in 2010 when the local community established an LGBTQ+ safe space at the Winter Olympics. Since then, there have been more than 20 Pride Houses at international sporting events around the world. Created in association with Pride Sports – the UK-based LGBTQ+ sports organisation – Pride House Birmingham 2022 will showcase the very best in LGBTQ+ sports, providing education and encouraging participation in sport and physical activity across the West Midlands.

Scottish wheelchair basketball player Robyn Love, a Paralympian and a World Championship silver medallist, commented on her role as an ambassador. She said: “I’m honoured to be an ambassador for Pride House Birmingham. I think it will be a fantastic space in which we will not only celebrate the diversity of athletes participating in the Commonwealth Games, but welcome all members of the LGBTQ+ community and their allies in a safe, welcoming and educational environment.” Pride House organisers believe that this project has a particularly important role to play due to the global attention that will be on the Commonwealth Games in 2022. In a press release, they highlighted the initiative’s goals to draw attention to LGBTQ+ rights globally, particularly given that homosexual activity is still a criminal offence in 35 of the 54 sovereign states of the Commonwealth. Pride House is working closely with the Commonwealth Games Federation “to ensure that this initiative builds on Pride Houses at previous Games and forms part of wider plans for equality, diversity and inclusion across the Commonwealth Sport Movement”.

Do you have a story? ) Scene in Birmingham is a new page sharing LGBTQ+ community news from the city and the West Midlands. If you have a story, email Catherine: midlandsnews@scenemag.co.uk

PHIL OLDERSHAW

To mark the launch of the Pride House project, organisers are welcoming their first elite athletes – all hoping to compete in the upcoming Commonwealth Games – to the programme. Dutee Chand is an Indian professional sprinter and the current national champion in the women’s 100m event. Michael Gunning is a Jamaican swimmer and currently holds the national record for the 200m butterfly. Tom Bosworth is a British race walker, a Commonwealth Games silver medallist and six times British record holder.

) Birmingham community groups, of Birmingham Pride, said: “For businesses and individuals are obvious reasons, many people would working together to raise money for a like to see it on the top of Hurst Street, permanent AIDS & HIV Memorial in near where the Birmingham’s Southside District within new Hippodrome the LGBTQ+ village. Square will be, which is a central Garry Jones, an artist living and point to the gay working in Birmingham, explained the community and moment the idea for the memorial came Hippodrome Theatre because a lot of to him. “It all happened after watching people in the 1980s and 90s lost their It's A Sin on Channel 4, I just posted lives that worked in the theatre industry. on a Facebook page whether anyone would be interested in getting together, “However, we've got to work with officials during this pandemic, to remember the in the city to find a suitable spot, which is forgotten pandemic in the 1980s and I convenient for all, that is the right place got an amazing response.” for a landmark to go.” Garry was 21 in 1981 and when the HIV/AIDS pandemic first hit the UK he remembers: “Just as you were finding out who you were, this awful disease hit the scene. You just saw people disappear, you didn't know where they were, whether they'd died or gone home. "I'd like the memorial to be a legacy, a suitable memorial for all those forgotten people.” Garry added: “I think it will be a symbol of hope for the future too. I don't want them to be forgotten, it will mean the world to me.”

GARRY JONES

ROBYN LOVE

PIERO ZIZZI

Piero Zizzi, one of the Pride House Birmingham organisers, said: “As a Brummie, I am hugely proud to be leading on this project. Pride House Birmingham will celebrate the fantastic diversity of England’s second city, explore our relationship with the Commonwealth and create a lasting legacy for LGBTQ+ inclusion in sport.”

Plans for Birmingham’s HIV & AIDS Memorial are still in their early stages of planning but fundraising is already well underway. Last month, the Nightingale Club raised over £4,000 with a live-streamed, star-studded drag show featuring Ginny Lemon from season two of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK and The Fox Bar hosted a back to the 80s night. Phil Oldershaw stated: “It's about time Birmingham had a place for people to acknowledge those lost, acknowledge those suffering… The community has now got together to come on board and help get this project and turn it from a thought and vision and make it a reality.”

While there are no details on exactly D To donate to the Nightingale Club where the memorial will go or what it will fundraiser, visit: www.gofundme.com/f/ look like, Phil Oldershaw, co-founder birminghamaidsmemorial

Profile for Scene LGBTQ+ Magazine

Scene Magazine - March 2021 | WWW.GSCENE.COM  

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded