PHOTOS FROM RECLAIM PRIDE BY TOM SELMON
RECLAIM PRIDE - PAGE 22
Aug 2021 Scene magazine
News team: Graham Robson, Eric Page, Rachel Badham, Catherine Muxworthy E firstname.lastname@example.org West Midlands News Editor: Catherine Muxworthy E email@example.com
Image reproduced with permission of Andy Garth, Brighton & Hove Stuff and the Argus Photographic Archive
Jack Lynn, Chris Jepson, Simon Pepper, Nick Ford, Tom Selmon, Daniel Aros
13 BORN THIS BINARY, OR AM I AN ACT OF VIOLENCE TOO? Craig Hanlon-Smith on living our truth
14 BRIGHTON PRIDE 1973
Alf Le Flohic tracks down those involved in Brighton’s first ‘Gay Pride’
17 PRIDE & PROTEST
Queer Heritage South lets us raid its archives © 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.
20 REBELS WITH A CAUSE
Jaq Bayles visits the stunning Rebel Dykes Art & Archive Show
22 RECLAIM PRIDE
Tom Selmon captrures last month's community-led Pride march in the capital
24 RAINBOW WASHING
What should we think when every brand seems to support Pride Month?
25 EASTBOURNE PRIDE
Rachel Badham gets the lowdown on the big day
26 COVID REPORT FROM SWITCHBOARD
Jaq Bayles looks into the results of a crucial Health & Inclusion Project
28 10 QUESTIONS... PETER TATCHELL
Jason Reid puts 10 questions to the human rights campaigner
29 INVERNESS OR BUST
Rory Finn uncovers an untold tale of trans history
32 LADY BOSS
Alex Klineberg delves into a new documentary, which takes a look behind the big hair, big money and shoulder pads of Jackie Collins
33 BILL DEAMER LADY BOSS - PAGE 32
PETER TATCHELL - PAGE 28
Simon Adams, Rachel Badham, Jack Groves, Catherine Muxworthy, Nick Boston, Brian Butler, Craig HanlonSmith, Michael Hootman, Enzo Marra, Eric Page, Glenn Stevens, Netty Wendt, Roger Wheeler, Chris Gull, Jon Taylor, Alex Klineberg, Michael Steinhage, Jon Taylor, Jason Reid, Rory Finn, Nicholas Cousin, Alf Le Flohic
REBELS WITH A CUASE - PAGE 20
Features Editor: Jaq Bayles News Editor/Design: Graham Robson Arts Editor: Alex Klineberg Art Director: Tom Selmon
BRIGHTON BEAR WEEKEND - PAGE 7
Publisher: Scene Magazine Media CIC Editorial: firstname.lastname@example.org Advertising: email@example.com
OUT TO LIUNCH COMMUNITY DAY - PAGE 6
D www.scenemag.co.uk T @SceneLGBTQ F GScene.Brighton I SceneMagazineUK
Brian Butler catches up with the Olivier Award-winning choreographer
36 FRUITFUL COLLECTIVE
Alex Klineberg catches up with Lilly SnatchDragon to find out more about Bitten Peach – the pan-Asian cabaret collective
4 News 47 Scene in Birmingham 51 Medway Pride Radio
30 Classical Notes 31 Art Matters 31 All That Jazz 34 Page’s Pages 35 At Home with Hootman 37 Around the World 38 Arts with Alex
Regulars 38 39 40 40 41 42 42 43 44
Scene & Done It Rae’s Reflections Wall’s Words Stuff & Things Craig’s Thoughts Twisted Gilded Ghetto Hydes’ Hopes More to me than HIV Turn Back the Pages
43 Classifieds 46 Services Directory
DAILY NEWS UPDATES: www.scenemag.co.uk
Pride at the Ironworks takes off! • Wednesday, August 25 - Girli, co-presented by Joy. Girli, an English singer-songwriter and rapper, performs music about feminism, sexuality, queer culture, and mental health.
• Thursday, August 26 - Ian Elmslie’s OLD BOYFRIENDS. A one gay man musical revue, featuring an eclectic selection of original songs, reflecting on past loves and the lessons learned. ) Brighton & Hove Pride has announced Pride at the Ironworks supported by Tesco, an extensive season of smaller LGBTQ+ cultural events through August and September 2021 supporting LGBTQ+ artists and the wider community while fundraising for essential local charities and community groups that do such essential work all year round. Ironworks Studios is a new multimedia studio and event space in the middle of Brighton, just a few minutes’ walk from the railway station and the home to Brighton & Hove Pride. There is an audience reception with licensed cafe serving teas, coffees and refreshments. Programme: • Tuesday, August 3 - Hannah Brackenbury‘s VICTORIOUS. Musical comedy performer Hannah Brackenbury returns with her award-winning Victoria Wood tribute show. • Thursday, August 5 - AND NOW THAT’S WHAT I CALL BINGO! A musical bingo game show with Pride anthems, hosted by drag prince Alfie Ordinary.
• Friday, August 6 - Paul Diello‘s EPICENE. A gender-blending tribute to iconic women in music. • Sunday, August 8 - THE GLORY. Jonny Woo and Rudi Douglas lead a sing-along of top gay pop songs, featuring Mz Kimberley and Mahatma Khandi. • Thursday, August 12: Madeleine MacMahon‘s ALTO-HOLIC. Comedy, songs and stories showing the highs and lows of her alto vocal range. • Friday, August 13 - Glamrou aka Amrou Al
Khadi, the established film-maker, performer and author, joins BBC radio host Kathy Caton for a sit-down interview, with special guest, trans activist Fox Fisher.
• Sunday, August 15 - Miss Hope Springs continues her Brighton appearances with another chance to see I’VE BEEN AROUND, its creator Ty Jeffries’ dark and comic look at the jaded cabaret star’s disastrous life in Berlin, Paris and Dungeness. • Thursday, August 19 - AN EVENING WITH HEATHER PEACE. Heather chats to BBC broadcaster Kathy Caton about her life, music and activism before taking to the stage for a live intimate gig in Act 2.
• Friday, August 20 - Eliza Legzdina. Mother of poetry and sorceress of sounds, Eliza Legzdina is Latvia’s best kept secret with lyrics loud in their sexpositive affirmation. • Saturday, August 21 - The Bitten Peach. The UK’s only gender-diverse pan-Asian cabaret collective serve cabaret, burlesque, drag, music, aerial and dance. • Sunday, August 22 - BEN WILL I BE FAMOUS?. Ben Papworth presents his own show packed with show tunes, campery, belting and wine.
• Friday, August 27 - Willy Hudson’s BOTTOM. Bums, Beyoncé and burnt fish fingers, a queer coming-of-age remix with a cracking soundtrack. • Saturday, August 28 - Cibebra’S 50 YEARS OF PLEASANT PICTURES. The award-winning musicalcomedy duo are back with their third addition to the Cinebra anthology. A marvellously anarchic romp.
• Sunday, August 29 - Boogaloo Stu’s BIG QUIFFY BINGO. Join the showbiz sensation for a bingo experience filled with special guests, frivolity, fun, filth and flashmob dances. With the ongoing challenges that Covid continues to bring, fundraising for essential local charities and community groups has never been more important. Pride at the Ironworks will allow Pride to continue to ensure that every ticket sold will include a charitable donation to the Brighton Rainbow Fund. Since 2013 Brighton & Hove Pride has raised almost £1 million for local LGBTQ+ and HIV charities, community groups, social impact organisations and cultural activities in Brighton & Hove, the vast majority of it distributed through the Brighton Rainbow Fund to specific LGBTQ+ projects that make a fundamental difference to the lives of hundreds of people in our communities. To make the cultural programme accessible to all members of the community, Brighton & Hove Pride will be offering a number of discounted tickets for every performance. Sign up to the Stage Door list to keep up to date with events and news from Pride at the Ironworks: www.brighton-pride.org/ironworksstage-door/
After I was diagnosed with HIV my life really changed.
I became a circus artist. Sadiq
HIV has changed. We help people to come to terms with their HIV diagnosis and get on with life. Support our work now.
tht.org.uk #LifeReallyChanged People on effective HIV treatment CANNOT pass on the virus. Copyright 2021 © Terrence Higgins Trust. Registered charity England and Wales no. 288527, Scotland no. SC039986.
DAILY NEWS UPDATES: www.scenemag.co.uk
Out to Lunch goes down a treat Out to Swim takes part in Pier to ) Out to Lunch, the free foodie meet-up for the LGBTQ+ community organised Pier and returns to Prince Regent by Lunch Positive and the Brighton & Hove Council LGBTQ Workers’ Forum, will be returning to our pre-lockdown calendar.”
attracted around 35 visitors to Dorset Gardens Methodist Church last month. A selection of dishes, served by volunteers to a backdrop of relaxing piano music by King Jamsheed, proved popular as people dined in the cooler surrounds of the Church premises while the too-hot sun beat down outside.
For the first time, Out to Swim South will be hiring the whole pool on a Saturday from 5-6pm. From July 12 the group will be hiring two lanes on a Monday from 8.30-9.30pm and from July 15, the group will be hiring two lanes on a Thursday from 8-9pm. In addition, Out to Swim South will also be starting swimming lessons on Saturdays from July 17.
Gary Pargeter, service manager at Lunch Positive, said the day had been a friendly, welcoming and successful event.
) Saturday, June 26 saw over 30 LGBTQ+ out and proud members of Out to Swim take part in the 84th annual Pier to Pier race in Brighton. Organised by volunteers of the Brighton swimming club, the race, which is just over a kilometre, is one of the main swimming events in the Brighton calendar, starting at the West Pier and ending under the If you’re not a current member, would Palace Pier. like a trial or would like to re-join, register online and the group will reply with further information. More information can also be found on the Out to Swim South website.
Members from both Brighton and London took part in all three categories and managed to come top 10 in two of the categories. Members then made the most of the good weather and enjoyed a fantastic day on the beach. Return to Prince Regent Starting from July 10, Out To Swim South will return to the Prince Regent Swimming Complex following repairs to the pool. Out to Swim South said: “We are also delighted to say that we
Out to Swim South added: “While we are delighted to be returning to Prince Regent for more regular swim training, we would like to thank Saltdean Lido and their staff for making us feel very comfortable and very much at home over the past two months. “We were lucky to have enjoyed fantastic weather at every session – not once did it rain! We also enjoyed being able to walk from the pool to the sea, a feature that few pools offer. We look forward to joining future events at the Lido.” D www.outtoswim.org/brighton
Brighton & Hove Sea Serpents announces touch rugby open day ) Join LGBTQ+ inclusive rugby club Brighton & Hove Sea Serpents (BHSS) for an afternoon of touch rugby at Hove Recreational Ground on Saturday, August 7 from 3-6pm. BHSS said: “We know it’s on the cancelled Pride day but why not have a run about and build up a thirst before partying the night away?” All abilities and genders welcome. For more info, message BHSS on Facebook: www.facebook.com/bhssrfc
Brighton Bear Weekend stages a fur-tastic return! ) The 10th live Brighton Bear Weekend (BBW), the long-awaited community event, took place last month with a f(l)urry of events organised to raise vital funds for the Brighton Rainbow Fund. Bears, their friends and supporters were treated to ‘four days of furry fun in the sun’ with the legendary BBW Garden Party at Dorset Gardens on Saturday, July 24. This event featured the Lunch Positive Kitchen, the ever-popular Al’s Bar, more than a dozen merchandise and community stalls, plus an incredible line-up of performers, with proceedings compered by JonBee. Scene will share the fundraising total as soon as we can! D For more info on BBW, visit: www.brightonbearweekend.com
DAILY NEWS UPDATES:
First patrons of People’s Pride Southampton announced
‘Community Spirit’ from Brighton Gin
Fox said: “Brighton is a place I navigated to; a place where I could truly be myself. Being able to explore myself through many incarnations, from being young queer working in the bars and clubs, to a drag king packing and posing, to a trans activist co-founding Trans Pride has been quite the journey. I’m proud of this city, which has been transitioning too. “It’s important for people to have the space to explore their gender and sexuality and, for me, Brighton has been the perfect place for this. There’s something special about this evolving city, and I wanted to pay homage to the queer people who lived and loved before me, during Regency times.”
) People’s Pride Southampton (PPS), a charity which provides inclusive, accessible events and support services for the LGBTQ+ community, their family members and allies, has announced LGBTQ+ activist Dr Sophie Cook (FRSA) and human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell have become the charity’s first patrons, reflecting the values shared by PPS, Dr Cook and Mr Tatchell.
KATHY CATON CHRIS GULL
Chris Gull, chair of Brighton Rainbow Fund, said: “Thank you so much for raising funds, yet again, with these beautiful limited edition Pride bottles. All the money raised will be distributed as grants to the local LGBTQ+ and HIV projects that we support. It’s a tough year for all of them, trying to continue to support hundreds of LGBTQ+ people in Brighton & Hove between them who require these vital frontline services”. Bottles can be bought directly from www.brightongin.com and from independent stockists Quaff and Good News. Recognising what a challenging year it will be for raising funds, 9% from each bottle will be donated to Brighton Rainbow Fund. D For more info on Brighton Rainbow Fund, visit: www.rainbow-fund.org
“While there are a growing number of Pride organisations and events around the country I have been impressed with the non-commercial, grassroots ethics of PPS from the very beginning. “I was excited to be invited by them to speak at the inaugural event in 2020, but due to the global situation that has been pushed back to 2022 and I now look forward to seeing everyone there, this time carrying the honour of being patron.” Peter Tatchell said: “I’m honoured to be a patron of PPS. It works the year round to support the LGBTQ+ community and is hosting a completely accessible and inclusive Pride event, with no commercial sponsors.
Through its Community Spirit initiative, Brighton Gin has supported many hundreds of community organisations and charities across the city and beyond, and has donated thousands of bottles of hand sanitiser throughout the Covid pandemic. Kathy Caton, founder of Brighton Gin, said: “With so many of the fundraising events that would usually support Brighton Rainbow Fund having been cancelled, we’re really pleased to support them. We’re long-standing admirers of Fox’s work as an artist and as a campaigner and it’s a dream to be working with them!”
people, the need for Pride has never been greater.
This year, Brighton Gin has collaborated with Brighton-based multidisciplinary artist and LGBTQ+ advocate Fox Fisher. For this year’s release, Fox has chosen to make four separate but themed artworks, inspired by and celebrating queer lives hidden from history. Released as an initial run of four x 100 bottles in each design, and individually signed and numbered by the artist, each one is a unique artwork in miniature.
DR SOPHIE COOK
) Craft distillery Brighton Gin has announced its latest Artist’s Edition Pride limited release. Every year since 2016 the distillery collaborates with an LGBTQ+ artist to not only platform their work, but to raise money for Brighton Rainbow Fund.
Those values include championing the mental health of LGBTQ+ people and offering accessible and inclusive events for them and their allies. During a time of lockdown and isolation, PPS has been inundated with LGBTQ+ people needing support and assistance. PPS has also had to adapt to different ways of working, such as WhatsApp and online video calls.
“LGBTQ+ people have made great gains but there are still issues to win, including a ban on attempts to ‘cure’ LGBTQ+ people and an end to the demonisation of trans men and women by the tabloid press. Even today nearly half of all young LGBTQ+ people say they were bullied at school and a third of LGBTQ+ people have been victims of hate crime. The battle of LGBTQ+ respect and dignity is not over yet.”
Dr Sophie Cook said: “With the everincreasing pressure on the mental health, D For more info on PPS, visit: wellbeing and rights of the LGBTQ+ www.peoplesprideuk.com community, especially transgender
? N O I S S E GOOD S ? A E O H R AR I D F O E S A C D A B ... S ’ T I E B MAY
A L L E G I H S
ing outh dur m r u o y o etting int g o o p f o amounts y in ella: t m o fr ting Shig t sex t h e g g u id a o c and after g It’s To av in r u d s ur hand an). hoea r Wash yo r ia o if you c d to e k r e ic d v e d s ting (arse an auses ering, fis c h g c a in l a f l r e m o f o ig st Sh ection bloody), Use prot s e n e t im f t it, o e g. (som , and is you have r d rimmin k n e a in v h e t f u d o n e if y nt. cramps a r food poisoning. ical advic d e m r treatme t o f e , G a o ll f e n ing Shig mistake K mention E AT RIS R
N: O I T A M R O ORE INF 123 7123
L MEN A
EXUA GAY & BIS
elpline l Health H
rg.uk/sh ua x .o e e s S i l a w n x atio or visit se Call the N
Produced by Terrence Higgins Trust for Public Health England
DAILY NEWS UPDATES: www.scenemag.co.uk
Research project to examine men’s unwanted sexual experiences
New school resource to uncover secret Black History of Brighton
unwanted sexual experiences, focusing initially on London and the south east.
) University of Brighton is running a research project spotlighting the area of men’s unwanted sexual experiences (MUSE), led by Dr Carl BonnerThompson and Dr Kirsty McGregor. MUSE is speaking to men who have had
) A local community group is creating downloadable school resources for Key Stages 1, 2 ,3 and a short film aimed at secondary school children focusing on the story of the Three Kings of Botswana and their visit to Brighton and Sussex in 1895.
The MUSE study aims to explore the reasons why men might not seek support, and the barriers men face when they do try to access support (both formal and informal) with regard to unwanted sexual experiences. The Brighton team is using a blend of interviews and arts-based workshops.
Brighton & Hove Black History has been commissioned by the University of Sussex to produce the resources – a short educational film and schools resources, which will be launched at an online event in September 2021.
D More info: www.museprojectbrighton. wordpress.com
THT launches new campaign celebrating those living with HIV
) Terrence Higgins Trust (THT), the HIV and sexual health charity, has launched a new campaign, Life Really Changed, which sees 13 people who have faced the challenges of living with HIV talking about how they have overcome prejudice and discrimination in their relationships, employment and health. The models are now everything from pilots to parents to priests, and their HIV diagnoses, while difficult at first, has not limited them in their ambitions and achievements. Ian Green, chief executive of THT, said: “The biggest problem facing the community of people living with HIV in the UK is societal stigma surrounding the virus. For many people, their views of HIV
Brighton & Hove Black History is a Brighton community group whose aim is to challenge racism and prejudice by raising awareness of the multicultural history in Sussex and the UK, established in 2002. A largely untold story from Brighton’s diverse past, the three kings of Bechuanaland (now called Botswana) came to the UK to urge the British government to stop Cape Colony Prime Minister Cecil Rhodes and his company, the British South Africa Company, from taking ownership of their country. Rhodes, a documented racist and brutal employer, wanted to build a railway across Bechuanaland linking the Cape to Cairo and to giving all the land 20 miles either side of the railway line to white farmers. The kings took control of the situation and commissioned a local Brighton man, Charles Willoughby, to organise a tour of Britain for them.
are stuck in the 1980s and 90s. We want people to know HIV has changed. HIV is no longer anything to be feared and the stigma associated with HIV is something that, through this campaign, we need to shatter.”
They visited Brighton and Sussex as part of their visit to the UK, including visits to Elm Grove Primary School, Brighton Museum and Union Church on Ship Street. The aim of the project is to combat racism in schools by providing high quality resources for teaching black history and histories of the Empire with a thrilling local angle for schools in Brighton & Hove and Sussex.
Through the Life Really Changed campaign, the organisation hopes to publicise that a HIV diagnosis, while not easy, isn’t something that has to limit people from living a full, healthy, and successful life. As well as its new campaign, THT aims to raise awareness of the fact that if you have HIV and are on effective treatment, you cannot pass on the virus.
These resources will help schools teach citizenship, history and other parts of the curriculum, as well give local students a rooted connection to Brighton’s history of multicultural diversity during Black History Month. The project team includes lead historian Suchi Chatterjee, historian Bert Williams MBE, education specialist Gabrielle Rowles and project manager Amy Zamarripa Solis. It is commissioned by University of Sussex and funded by Economic and Social Research Council. The project builds on a previous AHRC-funded research project, Making African Connections from Sussex and Kent Museums, with University of Sussex and Brighton Museum.
D To hear the stories from the campaign, visit: www.tht.org.uk/our-work/lifereally-changed
Unisex Hairsalon 18 St Georges Road, Kemptown, Brighton BN2 1EB
01273 623 408
Suchi Chatterjee, lead historian at Brighton & Hove Black History, said: “I am so proud to be part of this amazing research. It proves what my friend Bert Williams MBE has been saying for years, that Brighton’s diverse history runs deep and long. The Three Kings visit to Brighton in 1895 is just one of many secret histories that we are uncovering in Sussex where people of the diaspora are making their presence felt after so many years hidden away.” D For more information, visit: www.black-history.org.uk/projects/threeafrican-kings-visit-brighton-in-1895-online-black-history-resource-forschools/
DAILY NEWS UPDATES: 11
www.scenemag.co.uk Trans Rights Protest to take place in London on Friday, August 6
Vaccination champions needed Village MCC Pride service on
Sunday, August 8 at 6pm
) Laura Dale, a trans woman and author of Gender Euphoria, is currently helping to organise – along with trans rights activist Felix F Fern – a trans rights protest, which will take place at the gates of Downing Street in London on Friday, August 6 at 1pm.
in-person service at its new home at Dorset Gardens Methodist Church, Brighton BN2 1SA. Village MCC hopes to hold an in-person worship service at 6pm on the first Sunday of every month there. These in-person services will be streamed live on Facebook, and all our other worship services will still be available on both Facebook and Zoom. Michael Hydes, pastor of the Village MCC, said: “Thank you so much to the Somerset Day Centre for providing a safe space for us to worship in over our ) Village MCC, the Christian church first five years as an LGBTQ+ affirming in Brighton that has a primary mission to church. They have been amazing!” serve the LGBTQ+ community, invites D For more info on the Village MCC, you to join them to celebrate Pride on Sunday, August 8 at 6pm for its first visit: www.thevillagemcc.org
Laura said: “Our protest will be demanding improvements to trans healthcare waiting times, an end to the government’s constant placating of anti-trans hate groups, and meaningful changes being made to better support the trans community from the current onslaught of hate we are receiving in the UK.”
Rainbow Chorus, Brighton’s LGBTQ+ mixed choir, opens Trans Pride Brighton & Hove with video message
Speakers at the protest include: Fox Fisher, Rico Jacob Chace, Kathryn Bristow, Eric Sophia McAllister, Roz Kaveney and Kate Gee. Organisers say more speakers are to be announced. D For more information, visit: www.facebook.com/ events/636214590671118/?sfnsn=scwspmo
) The Clare Project, a selfsupporting transgender support and social group based in Brighton & Hove, has announced that Dr Sam Hall is stepping down from the board of trustees and will be replaced as chair by Andie Davidson (she/her), who has served as a trustee since 2019, having long been a friend and one-time service user of the Clare Project. Andie is currently a technical author and has worked in IT, engineering and social research organisations. She began involvement with the Clare Project in 2011 and blogged the experience of transition extensively. She has lived in Sussex for over 25 years and in Brighton & Hove since 2013. The board of trustees will be joined by Maria Rosamojo (she/thee), a black mixed-race pan spirit multimedia artist and musician committed to fighting racism, ableism, mental health stigma and discrimination. Dr Sam Hall will continue to be very much involved as a volunteer at the Clare Project, running the Trans Health Hub, an outreach service for TNBI people who are struggling to access affirmative healthcare. D For more information on the Clare Project, visit: www.clareproject.org.uk
Clare Project announces new Chair of trustees and trustee
) The Rainbow Chorus opened Trans Pride Brighton & Hove last month with a vibrant video message of support and solidarity to those performing and watching the virtual Trans Pride event.
Our motto is Strength In Harmony, not just through our performances but also in supporting the whole community to respect differences and to acknowledge that Trans Rights Are Human Rights.
Lindsey Stevenson, chair of the city’s largest LGBTQ+ mixed chorus, said: “Brighton’s Rainbow Chorus and RC+, our monthly singing workshop, wish we were singing in person at Trans Pride but instead we’ve produced this video to celebrate with our trans, intersex and non-binary members, trans allies and everyone who supports Trans Pride.
“We wish each and every one of you a very Happy Trans Pride 2021!”
“We’re proud to be an inclusive and diverse LGBTQ+ choral organisation.
The Rainbow Chorus has opened Trans Pride the last few years and is one of the UK’s largest LGBTQ+ choirs. If you’d like to know more about the Rainbow Chorus, which is a registered charity, or would like to drop in and try a RC+ workshop, please check out the website: www.rainbowchorus.org.uk D To see the video, visit: www.youtube.com/ watch?v=rdblka9XRoQ
Gender Diverse football festival to raise funds for Ledward Centre ) Sussex FA has announced it is working in partnership with Albion in the Community and Brighton & Hove City Council to bring an inaugural LGBTQ+ Super Sixes football festival to Brighton & Hove.
Sussex FA and its partners will be running a Gender Diverse Recreational Six-a-side Festival every Thursday evening at Preston Park, Brighton on August 5/12/19 and 26 from 6.30pm with 7pm kick off, 18+ only. The event will consist of three groups side by side: Female v Female, Male v Male and Mixed Football. All groups are open to all LGBTQ+, transgender, non-binary and intersex players and allies. There will also be the chance to win some fantastic prizes such as tickets to local football clubs, including Lewes Men’s and Women’s, and Brighton & Hove Albion Men’s and Women’s.
Jade Harker, development lead at Sussex FA, said: “We have been working for several years with BLAGSS and Football v Homophobia to ensure that our local LGBTQ+ community are included within football, as everyone should be. “We are now in a position to really expand the work we are doing and provide further opportunities for the LGBTQ+ community and these Summer Festivals are just the start of what’s to come, we are very excited.” This is a free event, though it is raising money for the Ledward Centre so donations on the evening are encouraged. Named after James Ledward, one of the city’s most prominent supporters of LGBTQ+ rights and editor of this very magazine, the Ledward Centre is a new and exciting space that will be a lasting tribute to his memory and the huge contribution he made to our entire community. From the building itself – light, modern and accessible – to the services and cultural activities for which it will be home – the Ledward Centre will live and breathe the values that make the full spectrum of Brighton’s LGBTQ+ communities so confident, vibrant and proud. D For more info, visit: https://ledcen.org.uk
people in the same way that sexual promiscuity does not belong to gay men.
BORN THIS BINARY, OR AM I AN ACT OF VIOLENCE TOO? By Craig Hanlon-Smith
) “We’re all non-
binary and pansexual beings at our core, identifying as ‘straight’ is an act of violence in itself.” I read and re-read the social media post several times, trying as best as I know how to understand it from a host of different psychological perspectives. Having walked a mile in an array of second-hand footwear I remained troubled. The full quotation began: “Being a ‘queer person’ is just being an honest person and acknowledging the spectrum of gender and sexuality without defining ourselves by a binary with a history of violence against open minded beings on this planet.”
“My truth is to be a gay man. These are binary statements of my gender and sexual identity, and they are true” The auteur of this social and sexual enlightenment is NEO 10Y, a self-defined spiritual revolutionary, artist and musician. Having perused the respective social media accounts and Youtube videos I really like what I see and will absolutely seek this artist out for the full live experience. NEO 10Y’s performance work looks genuinely exciting. These references above were spoken a year ago but have come to light today through the recent re-reposting across a range of accounts, many of which have thousands of followers and claim to be representative groups and organisations of all LGBTQ+ people. Reposts along with statements such as “AMEN to every word of this”.
First to say, I respectfully acknowledge and support the right of all humans to self-identify and express themselves as they see fit. This, of course, extends to NEO 10Y and people of all gender and binary or not definitions... I also acknowledge there are parts of the world where we are not free to speak with such openness. Whichever way it is, we are all born like it and have should have the right to say so. The thing is that includes ‘straight’ people. I was struck here by the idea that only a ‘queer person’ is honest. The origins of the adjective ‘straight’ from the 1500s is one who is true, direct and honest. To ‘play it straight’ in a vaudeville sense was to avoid the immediate comedy and ‘be the straight (man)’ to the comedic fool of a theatrical pairing. To ‘straighten up’ or ‘go straight’ is reference from the criminal underworld, first used post-World War I, to leave a life of crime and become honest. ‘Straight’ as we now know it first emerged in the 1950s as the opposite of a person who is bent in the sexual sense.
“Self-definition is not the preserve of a small minority of queer people, it is either the right for all or the right for none” Agreed, it is a blunt adjective and, like many queer, gay, LGBTQ+ people, I have been subject to violence at the hands of a small number of ‘straight’ people emboldened by a cultural norm. I have also been subjected to some pretty unpleasant verbal assaults from people who claim to live under the LGBTQ+ umbrella. There are individuals living in same-sex pairings who are subjected to domestic violence. Aggression and violence are not the preserve of straight
On that note, I am a gay man and proud to be so. Proud of the journey that has brought me to this point of pride and truth. My truth is to be a gay man. These are binary statements of my gender and sexual identity, and they are true. I appreciate we live in changing times and, according to a recent survey published in Gay Times, 25% of young LGBTQ+ people identify as non-binary. I celebrate that we live in this open and developing climate and respect the individuals who self-define as they see fit. Selfdefinition is not the preserve of a small minority of queer people, it is either the right for all or the right for none. Of course we can have our cake and eat it, otherwise what is the point of the cake? There is also enough cake to share. Human rights activist Peter Tatchell campaigned hard for Civil Partnerships to be made available to ‘straight’ people as well as same-sex couples. He argued, rightly, that if same-sex pairings could have either a civilpartnership or get married, yet our heterosexual equivalents could only do the latter, this was discrimination. We cannot justify discriminating laws or comments aimed at the majority because we were oppressed by them for centuries. We move forward together or we don’t move at all. I cannot speak for straight people, nor can I speak for the non-binary population as I am neither, and yet I do believe sexuality to be on a spectrum or matrix and most individuals floating around it somewhere. I appreciate for some this is the same with gender. For diversity to exist in a community there are also starting points and polar opposites. To float around the middle claiming righteousness and point at another describing their identity as an act of violence is not only inflammatory it is the beginning of the end. If to be straight is violent, what is gay? What is lesbian? I fundamentally challenge the idea that we are all non-binary pansexual beings at our core and can think of many lesbians who would not want to get all pansexual with me on account of our respectful identities. Some people are gay, some people are lesbian, get over it. I embrace, respect and celebrate change, I know what it takes to find and then to live a truth at one time thought impossible. I fought to speak my truth and have been wounded along the way. I will also fight to keep it. If the LGBTQ+ community starts to eat itself, no one will come to our aid. Never forget, progress is fragile.
BRIGHTON PRIDE 1973
After Gay Brighton Past found a trove of never-used pictures from the original 1973 Gay Pride march in Brighton, Alf Le Flohic managed to track down some of the people involved and get their stories ) On the afternoon of Saturday, July 7,
the Sussex Gay Liberation Front (SGLF) and friends met in Norfolk Square off the Western Road in Brighton. As you can see in some
of the pictures, they marched down Western Street to Embassy Court on the corner with the Kings Road, on past the Kings Hotel and finished at the Old Ship Hotel. With banners
held aloft they handed out 2,000 leaflets as they went… “A Gay Pride Week is when gay men and women show that they are not ashamed or embarrassed by their sexual orientation. It is a chance to come out of the closet, for gayness will never be accepted until everyone does this. Come out of the closet with us. Love and kisses, Sussex Gay Liberation Front.” The leaflet also listed all the events for that week:
Scene 15 make. Those with any gay pride in themselves will be there. Saturday Evening Gay Dance at the Royal Albion Hotel, 8–12pm, tickets 50p. Sunday, July 8 A Gay Picnic will take place on the beach to the west of the Palace Pier from 1pm. Who were they? As Mark Rowlands recalls: “We had been actively preparing to form a [Sussex] university group of the Campaign for Homosexual Equality (CHE) but had encountered considerable nervousness and bureaucracy from national CHE. What impressed us [about GLF] was the informality of the group and its lack of rules. There was no membership; people simply turned up. Meetings did not have fixed agendas. Anyone who wanted to speak was encouraged to do so. The politics were unashamedly radical; as others afterwards would put it, ‘we’re out and we’re proud’. Tuesday, July 3 Rose Robertson of Parents Enquiry speaks at the Stanford Arms, Preston Circus, Brighton at 8.30pm on the problems of homosexuality and the family. Friday, July 6 Disco at the Stanford Arms 8.15–11pm with a raffle and prizes for the most outrageous and the most conservative dress. Afterwards there will be a Gay Wedding between John
and Graham on the second beach to the west of the Palace Pier at 12pm. Bring a bottle for celebrations.
“Brighton GLF was officially formed in January 1971. Later we changed the name to Sussex GLF to reflect its wider geographical membership”.
Saturday, July 7 Gay Pride March starting from Norfolk Square, Western Road at 2.30pm. We shall march down to the seafront and along to the fish market opposite the Ship Hotel, distributing leaflets as we go. The more people who march the greater impact we will
SGLF member Doug Coupe remembers “It was a very fluid kind of organisation. People came in and we saw them for a few months and then they disappeared. This whole organisation was thrown together. We often didn’t know people’s full names. Some people stayed for years but some just drifted away.”
“Much attention was paid to changing the attitude of the commercial gay scene. Each weekend we sold the newspaper Gay News outside the Heart and Hand Pub in Ship Street, and sometimes outside other venues. All the gay venues were closeted and refused to sell the newspaper, as did almost all newsagents.” More conservative members of the local gay community were not impressed by the antics of the SGLF. Peter Duxbury remembers another SGLF march where “we walked all the way through Brighton in dresses, placards, into Hove, on to George Street, Blatchington Road. And this [gay] man in a raincoat and hat dashed up to me and he said something like ‘You’ll never get people to understand you dressed like that. Why are you doing this?’” This fluidity has of course hampered me trying to identify people in the photos, but some have been successfully identified by other SGLF members. In the photograph with the women on deckchairs, Peter Duxbury can be seen on the left handing out flyers. He remembers the chap in the dress with a hat, David Maplethorpe, who was into genderfuck – subverting traditional notions of gender identity and gender roles. “He was a character with his dress and everything. He used to go to work in his dress as well, at the Electricity Board, ‘cause I worked at the Electricity Board as well.” Graham Wilkinson (who set up the Sussex AIDS Centre) and his boyfriend John Roman Baker (who set up the AIDS Positive Underground Theatre), can be seen together in one photo in front of the Embassy Restaurant. They were also the John and Graham mentioned in the leaflet who got married on the beach the night before. The SGLF spokesman Graham Phillips can be seen in the floor-length skirt with the Civil Liberties banner. Carrying the No More Sex Roles banner is Alastair Kerr who had not long come out himself. He was doing his teacher training in Brighton. The following year he moved up to London and became a key figure in the Railton Road Brixton Faeries. Some members of the SGLF are not in these photos, for example Doug Coupe: “There was a lot of fear you know, when Gay Lib was coming to be known, there were an awful lot of people who were scared to death to be involved. I was a teacher, so I was a bit careful about where I was seen. I didn’t really want to be appearing in newspapers. As it happened when I was outed, it was a very difficult time, for years. In the end I had a breakdown. I went to work at Boots.”
Sadly, I haven’t been able to identify the flamboyant character in the robes with the GLF banner at the front of several of the photos. Peter has come close though: “I do remember a character like this, and he had long flowing things. When we went to have a pee, the hem of his garments were trailing in the urinals. So he was very glamorous but he was covered in urine.” But, as they say, I think that’s another story. If you recognise him, or indeed anyone else in these photos please get in touch, I’d love to hear from you. How did it go? It was reported in Gay News and the Brighton & Hove Gazette as a ‘Gay Demo Flop’. SGLF spokesman Graham Phillips said “many homosexuals in ‘responsible jobs’ steered clear of the demo march for fear of being publicly identified and perhaps sacked as a result”. Nevertheless he “felt the march was one more step towards getting homosexuality accepted”. While the actual demonstration may have only involved about 20 people, we know that the dance at the Royal Albion Hotel was “highly successful”, attracting 200 people. To quote Gay News again, “A spokesman for Sussex Gay Lib tells us that they are the only provincial GLF group to hold regular dances of this size and feel that with a larger venue they could attract 300 to 400 people. The music is provided by the gay group’s own disco and it particularly attracts the local gay girls who travel from such exotic places as Eastbourne, and the boys from faraway Portsmouth, where hardly any gay life exists.” As John R remembers, the SGLF were “actively campaigning to promote Gay Pride and encouraging people to come out.” It may be hard for us to imagine now, but this was very radical for the times. The literal criminality of being queer was still very fresh in the collective memory.
Where have these photos been? “While searching through the negatives of the Argus Photographic Archive I found a small brown packet with the details ‘Gay Lib March 8/7/73’ written in blue biro. Viewing the images was like holding hands across time with those who were activists before us and reopening long unspoken stories, seen again in modern light. “The importance of finding these images cannot be understated as it resets the timeline for overt local activism by 15 years prior to the Anti-Section 28 Campaign.” Tina from Gay Brighton Past. Having checked The Argus and Brighton & Hove Gazette newspapers for that weekend in 1973, and the week after, it seems the photographs were never used. This would explain why no one knew of their existence up until now. It also means that pretty much no one has ever seen them. Exhibition We wanted everyone to have the chance to see these pictures, and Wayne from the Sussex Beacon has very kindly let us display them in the windows of the St James’ Street shop. They’ll be up throughout August marking the month that Pride now happens in Brighton. These photos are a key piece of our history that up until now has been missing. We knew Brighton Pride began in 1973 but now we can actually see some of the brave individuals who started the fight for LGBTQ+ rights in our very own city. The usual parade and park events may not be taking place this year, but we can still be proud of who we are and where we have come from. Images reproduced with kind permission of Andy Garth, Brighton & Hove Stuff and the Argus Photographic Archive.
PRIDE & PROTEST
As ever in August, our theme is Pride, and with the annual march cancelled for a second year due to the pandemic, Queer Heritage South let us raid its archives to bring you a look back at Brighton & Hove’s long history of campaigning. As our main feature shows, the very first Gay Pride march was held in Brighton in 1973, and since then queer activists have been visibly protesting against all manner of injustices, from the South East Gay Students’ protest in London in 1979 to the Section 28 march 1988/89, to the Pride marches and celebrations of the ’90s and the displaying of the Hankie Quilt. Enjoy our glimpse of the past and here’s hoping that next year brings the return of our Prides.
SOUTH EAST GAY STUDENTS’ PROTEST LONDON (1979)
BRIGHTON PRIDE (1988-89)
BRIGHTON PRIDE (1993-94)
BRIGHTON PRIDE (1995)
20 Scene CREDIT ROMAN MANFREDI
So what prompted her to start collecting this amazing body of work? “When the film Pride (2014) came out, it told our story from the 1980s but really downplayed the lesbian role, so I think one of the initial things was that it was a bit of a response to that,” she says. “I got some funding about a year ago from the Heritage Lottery Fund for the exhibition and then some private funding for the film [due for general release in the late autumn]. “The whole exhibition is based on archive. We asked the younger artists to respond to that archive so quite a few new works have been created for the exhibition. The aim of the whole project is intergenerational debate and community, so it was important for us to have two curators, one from the older Rebel Dykes community [Atalanta Kernick] and a younger curator, so we were working with Kat Hudson who runs a magazine called Lesley and is very in touch with younger artists.” KAREN FISCH AKA KING FRANKIE SINATRA AND ARTIST SARAH JOY-FORD, CREDIT ROMAN MANFREDI
REBELS WITH A CAUSE
Jaq Bayles visits the stunning Rebel Dykes Art & Archive Show, and looks back at the Lesbian Avengers as their famous handbook is re-released with bonus content ) Rebel Dykes, Lesbian Avengers – the
activists from the ‘80s and ‘90s with major attitude are back. The fact that an important new art show and the release of an updated edition of the original Homemade Revolution Guide have coincided seems fitting in light of the LGBTQ+ community’s current political mood. Certainly the Rebel Dykes Art & Archive Show at Space Station 65 in London’s Kennington fuses a celebration of the achievements of the original Rebel Dykes with work by younger generations who “join them in continuing to disrupt the world today”.
For anyone who remembers the 1980s, this exhibition, which is “rooted in the stories of the Rebel Dykes, featured in the recently premiered documentary, who met through Greenham Common peace camps and squatting together in Brixton in the 1980s” – will also surely reignite some sparks of anger while reminding them just how active the Rebel Dykes were in fighting for their freedoms. Siobhan Fahey, a director of Rebel Dykes History Project CIC and the producer of Rebel Dykes, the movie, started the archiving process in 2014, calling out for articles, artwork, books etc from the period.
“By holding this powerful creative conversation between generations, exploring each other’s art and influences, we are hoping to help heal our painful rifts and are aiming to build future community.” SIOBHAN FAHEY, CREDIT: ROMAN MANFREDI
Clearly the spirit of rebellion is rising once more to confront the fact that misogyny and homophobia continue in the UK, despite the positive achievements of recent decades, and that spirit has resulted in a joyous, evocative collection of photographs, artworks and recordings that unite underrepresented cultural histories of four decades ago with contemporary dyke culture.
In the press release for the exhibition she says: “It is the intergenerational aspect of this exhibition that excites me most. Over recent years there seems to have been a host of misunderstandings and distrust between different generations of queers and dykes. This is at a time when we need to work together more than ever to ensure we don’t lose what older queers fought for. Younger queers need powerful, helpful role models and mentors, and older queers need to know that their earlier struggles are appreciated, and that we will be remembered and cared for as we age.
Looking at the broad and varied collection displayed in the gallery, it’s hard to understand why such works have not previously attracted more attention – there is everything from the wit of Jill Posener’s photographs of graffitidefaced posters, to never-before-exhibited works by Del LaGrace Volcano, to Eleanor Louise West’s fascinating Greenham Common Quilt. “I think one of the reasons why our art is being ignored is because of the self-esteem or confidence of the artists themselves – some of the artists were really shocked and surprised when we approached them to be included in the exhibition. Dixie Thomas’ work is amazing – it’s a triangular wall of black & white photos and they haven’t done anything with them for 30 years until they were asked. I think we hold ourselves back sometimes in not realising our own worth, our own art.” And there’s another very important reason this exhibition needs to be shown, says Siobhan: “We are ageing and dying, so we have to capture these images and stories now, while there’s still chance. “I think present-day life is really tough,
SADIE LEE WITH HER ARTWORK VENUS ENVY, CREDIT EMILY ROSE ENGLAND
there’s a big interest in the past and nostalgia and golden eras. Although we had all the homophobia and that sort of stuff, which was difficult – we were certainly very ostracised by our families and by society – but what we had instead was much tighter communities than young folk have today. Much more space – squats, bars, venues – to meet in real life and create in real life.” She adds that it’s important to be understanding of the issues facing younger queer people today, such as the “terrible housing situation and the isolation that young queers feel today compared to the community we had”. Indeed, “at some of our events I’ve had younger dykes crying because they are so moved and so upset because of their isolation. People feel they have no community. They might have an identity but in real life they don’t have a community so people have found it very moving to see the community in the past.”
Lesbian Avenger Handbook relaunched
Siobhan adds the project has seen friendships and a community being built up between younger and older lesbians, with elders being role models and mentors and younger people helping them to better understand today’s groups. ARTWORK BY KATE CHARLESWORTH, CREDIT EMILY ROSE ENGLAND
The Rebel Dykes Art & Archive Show runs Thursday–Saturday 12–6pm at Space Station Sixty-Five, Building One, 373 Kennington Road, London, SE11 4PT, until September 17. D For more info, visit: www.rebeldykeshistoryproject.com/rebeldykes-art-and-archive-show
This group of non-violent activists decided to pull together the talents of their collective to create a guide offering advice from journalists, artists and other influencers to help others wanting to form similar groups across the world. Now their handbook has been released in a new edition, giving step-by-step instructions on organising a direct action group, including covering such topics as how to hold a meeting, create mind-blowing actions, attract press, and deal with cops. The new edition also offers bonus material including essays on LACROP (Lesbian Avenger Civil Rights Organising
Kelly Cogswell, of the Lesbian Avenger Documentary Project, says in the preface: “We release this new edition... as lesbian rights and liberation face renewed attacks. The bulk of this extraordinary resource is unchanged, though we’ve cleaned up typos, and acknowledged advances in technology for activists still using it today. We’ve also added important bonus material, including tips for demonstrating when civil rights are being trampled.” Kelly adds: “The handbook has also become a kind of Lesbian Avenger history told in our own words, reminding us of how much we accomplished, and how much is still left to do in this world where lesbophobia, that cocktail of misogyny and homophobia, still reigns supreme.” Produced by the Lesbian Avenger Documentary Project and distributed through Ingram books, it can be ordered from Amazon or local bookshops. PHOTOGRAPHER DIXIE THOMAS, CREDIT ROMAN MANFREDI
“A lot of language seems to have changed so fast and gender identity has changed so fast, and a lot of older queers find it quite confusing. The only way round that is for us to meet each other and talk, because we have much more in common. We may have used the word ‘androgynous’ instead of ‘non-binary’, but we certainly had the same concepts. We might not have thought about the whole pronoun thing, but I’m sure if we had we would have used it. There’s nothing new under the sun, there’s just different ways of explaining it.”
“Long before there was marriage equality, or out lesbians on TV, the Lesbian Avengers were in the streets fighting for the visibility and survival of lesbians worldwide. They ate fire to call attention to the fire-bombing deaths of a black lesbian and white gay man in Oregon, commandeered homophobic radio and TV stations, crisscrossed the US in Pride Rides, unleashed plagues of crickets on ungodly ministries, and marched en masse in cities including Washington DC, New Orleans, Vancouver, and London.”
Project) and additional pages of Avenger communiqués reporting on fire-eating demos, fear-defying zaps, and provocative kiss-ins. The handbook is now also being touted as a great resource for historians and scholars focused on media and social change.
22 Scene PIC: PETER TATCHELL FOUNDATION
Last month our art director Tom Selmon captured Reclaim Pride, which was a community-led Pride march in the capital with the aim of getting back to the roots of Pride, with five key LGBTQ+ liberation demands: ban LGBTQ+ conversion therapy; reform the Gender Recognition Act; safe haven for LGBTQ+ refugees; decriminalisation of LGBTQ+ people worldwide; and solidarity with Black Lives Matter. Peter Tatchell, march coordinator, said: “Pride in London has become depoliticised and commercialised. Reclaim Pride has no corporate sponsors. It puts LGBTQ+ human rights centre stage. Thank you to everyone who joined the historic first #ReclaimPride march – reclaiming Pride for the community and for our human rights. We proved that you don’t need wristbands and corporate exploitation. Pride is a celebration AND a protest.”
Academics ask: what should we think when every brand seems to support Pride Month? ) Another Pride Month passed this summer
and again companies were determined to signal their LGBTQ+ credentials through limited-edition versions of their products and endless rainbow avatars on social media feeds. Brands never miss a LGBTQ+ awareness-raising opportunity to show their surface-level love and support, to position themselves as socially progressive and increase their resonance with their younger audience. From brands’ rainbow Linkedin profile pictures to Google Doodles, every brand and its neighbour is jumping on any available occasion to demonstrate their virtue. Yet people are not so easily fooled and criticism abounds, as rainbow washing is also on the rise. In one of the more high-profile incidents of this Pride Month, famed model railway brand Hornby admitted that it would not be donating any profit from its Pride Van campaign to LGBTQ+ organisations*. Between accusations of rainbow washing, blog posts wondering whether we can escape the commercialisation of Pride, and lists of brands’ ‘Pride fails’, consumers show their disapproval vocally.
Our research, recently published in Psychology and Marketing, uncovers how consumers interpret brands’ LGBTQ+-related support and decide on whether to condemn or to approve them. We show that consumers are more likely to condemn brands as ‘woke-washers’ like Hornby if they are unable to prove morally competent. Specifically, media and consumers make up their minds on the biggest corporates by assessing such performative acts of allyship
through three moral criteria: sensitivity, vision, and integration. • Moral sensitivity – a brand must recognise the moral content of a situation, as failure to do so is likely to damage customer satisfaction, customer-brand relations, and brand equity. For example, by posting straight characters walking over the rainbow flag, Disney has proved morally insensitive to the stigma and discrimination that LGBTQ+ individuals are still experiencing in many instances. • Moral vision – a brand must show a clear moral vision when outlining challenges to free speech that help solve problems for markets and society, as failure to do so results in brands being dubbed as ‘conformists’ - those who reproduce the dominant moral judgments about what is acceptable to say publicly. While Mattel still shows a lack of moral vision by mostly reproducing mainstream discourses around gender and diversity, it at least shows some moral integration with the launch of gender neutral Barbie dolls in 2019, followed by the launch of the UNO Play with Pride edition this year (alongside $50,000 donated to the It Gets Better Project).
• Moral integration – a brand must have the ability to pursue its moral beliefs in all situations, as failure to do so results in brands being dubbed as ‘opportunists’ and ‘fameseekers’ – manipulating the boundaries of free speech to serve personal interest rather than reform morality. For example, despite sharing the positive experience of its LGBTQ+ staff members, Pfizer demonstrates a lack of moral integration by simultaneously funding anti-gay politicians.
But let’s not despair, some brands have understood the point of Pride Month and, in doing so, further the fight for LGBTQ+ equity and inclusivity. For example, over the last few years, Skittles has celebrated Pride Month with limited-edition Skittles Pride Packs (grey packaging and all grey sweets) to emphasise the rainbow visual as a symbol of the LGBTQ+ community, alongside donations of $1 from each pack to GLAAD in a campaign that exemplifies both moral integration and moral sensitivity. So, has Pride Month just become another branded holiday? Well, it’s not for us to settle. But what we can tell you is how to judge the genuineness of branded communication: evaluate the brand’s moral sensitivity, vision, and integration. While we can condemn the over-commercialisation of Pride Month, the good news is that these branded discourses, whatever their values and intent, still raise awareness of the LGBTQ+ cause and normalise and legitimise its presence in public discourse. Want to know more? Authenticating Brand Activism: Negotiating the Boundaries of Free Speech to Make a Change by Dr Olivier Sibai, lecturer in marketing at Birkbeck, University of London, Dr Mimoun, lecturer in marketing at the Business School (formerly Cass), and Dr Achilleas Boukis, lecturer in marketing at the University of Sussex, is published in Psychology & Marketing. *Hornby subsequently did a U-turn and released a statement saying: “Following the launch of the Hornby LGBTQ+ Pride Wagon on Tuesday we would like to say sorry. We have got this wrong and deeply apologise – waving the flag is not enough. We must promote the LGBTQ+ community by donating the proceeds to the cause. So we now turn to you and ask where best within the community the proceeds should be donated. Again we apologise to everyone who was offended – this was of course never our intention and for that we are sorry.”
“help people feel comfortable in their own skin” and offer a listening ear to anybody who needs it.
THE PRIDE OF EASTBOURNE
The party is going ahead on August 7. Rachel Badham gets the lowdown on the day and Eastbourne Pride’s mission to further inclusivity in the area ) Having been established in 2016 by Betty
Gallacher, Eastbourne Pride is preparing to return to the coastal town to spread an important message of inclusion and acceptance. Although Eastbourne Pride is only five years old, it has rapidly grown in popularity and is renowned for being a safe space for all. Eastbourne Pride is an offshoot of local LGBTQ+ organisation Bourne Out, also headed up by Betty and her partner Mandy. Bourne Out operates all year round, running an LGBTQ+ inclusive café in The Labyrinth in central Eastbourne, where people of all backgrounds and identities can come in to socialise or receive support for any issues they may be facing.
a small venue to start with, and to actually get a date for Pride I had to call it a Mardi Gras event – they wouldn’t accept the term Pride.” However, after a sizeable crowd of 2,500 turned up, Eastbourne Pride was finally born. At the first Pride, Betty noticed the high numbers of young trans and queer people attending. It was then that she made it her mission to help LGBTQ+ youth in the area and change the town’s attitudes towards the community, saying: “I want to change people’s thinking... These kids shouldn’t be going through what we went through [as young people]. It helps to start conversations between people that stop all this homophobic [and transphobic] hate – that’s what I’m all about, I want to stop all this hate. Life is too short to be full of hate.”
Speaking to Scene, Betty explained that her background as a trade unionist paved the way for her involvement in Pride: “I used to have a bus on London Pride with the trade union. [After retiring and moving to Eastbourne] I went to Eastbourne Council and said I wanted to take over Bourne Out, as nothing had happened with it for years, and that I wanted to have a Pride as well – they nearly had a fit when I said Pride!” To be allowed to run the event, Betty had to contend with various obstacles: “We were given
Everybody, including many LGBTQ+ people, has been affected by the pandemic, so Betty wants to provide a safe space for people to enjoy themselves: “It’s been one hell of a time that we’ve all gone through, and we just want to try to cheer people’s lives up.” Even after Pride is over, the Bourne Out café will remain open: “It’s to make everybody feel wanted – you don’t have to be LGBTQ+. If you’re lonely, you can come in and talk. The more talking is done, the brighter the future, and I believe it’s important to share your experience.” ) Eastbourne Pride will be held on Saturday,
August 7 in Princes Park, starting at 11am. Attendees will need a free wristband to enter the venue, which can be picked up from the Bourne Out office located at 1 The Labyrinth, 7 Mark Lane, Eastbourne, BN21 4RJ. Wristbands can also be collected from Who Let The Dogs Out? at 4 Mark Lane, Eastbourne, BN21 4RJ. EASTBOURNE PRIDE
She also noted that “children aren’t taught hate, they learn it”, and hopes that Eastbourne Pride will continue to start vital discussions between people of all identities to end LGBTQ+ discrimination. As Betty continues her work in the local LGBTQ+ community, she strives to
Although there will be no Pride parade this year, the family-friendly Party in the Park will host a handful of dazzling performers, speakers and music acts. Pride-goers can expect to see performances from ABBA and Adele tribute acts, Brighton-based drag queen Davina Sparkle, singer-songwriter Miles Goodall and an appearance by prominent LGBTQ+ activist and human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell. An after-party will also be held at the Temple Bar for anyone who wants to continue celebrating into the night.
issues more in-depth. These revealed that the main areas needing action were: • Increased access to timely LGBTQ affirmative mental health support; • Access to safe housing for those in insecure living situations experiencing homo, bi, transphobia and domestic abuse; • Access to improved healthcare for trans and/ or non-binary people; • Support and creativity around LGBTQ+ specific social spaces recognising their protective factor in people’s health and wellbeing; • Access to LGBTQ+ affirmative support around grief, relationships, ageing and disability.
COVID REPORT HIGHLIGHTS LGBTQ+ INEQUALITIES
A crucial Health & Inclusion Project by Switchboard has just been released. Jaq Bayles looks into the results ) Brighton & Hove Switchboard has
conducted a major survey into the impact of Covid-19 on LGBTQ+ people in Brighton & Hove, revealing high levels of depression and isolation, along with drug and alcohol issues. But it also showed a great deal of resilience and support within the community, highlighting how important peer groups and safe spaces are for people who already face inequalities in wider society. Jane Woodhull, Switchboard’s LGBTQ+ engagement officer, is the architect of the Health & Inclusion Report, and says the stories of some of the 595 respondents to the 26 questions posed often made for tough reading. “I asked a lot of open questions encouraging narrative and what I got was loads of people’s stories, which was hard reading sometimes, but what’s depressing is actually that we’ve got this data nationally. I guess it only said what we knew already, so the critical thing for me now is to translate that into some kind of action or influence. “It has to have an impact, and if you think that this is the case in Brighton where
theoretically we are the European gay capital, can you imagine what life is like for a young person in mid-Wales?” The main findings of the report are: • 74% of respondents felt depressed, with 68% of 18-24 year olds and 41% of people of colour considering suicide; • 60% of those under 24 and 40% of trans and/or non-binary people were living in an unsafe living situation; • 68% of LGBTQ+ people felt lonely or isolated. But, on the plus side: • 35% paid closer attention to their mental health; • 34% spent more quality time with their household. Switchboard was commissioned by Brighton & Hove City Council and Brighton & Hove Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to explore the impact of the pandemic on LGBTQ+ communities in order to inform and influence priorities in the ‘recovery period’ and the survey was followed by focus groups exploring
The priority now is to address the concerns presented by the report and try to find ways of responding positively to the needs that have become apparent, and Jane is presenting the report to councillors, commissioners, service users and engagement groups on August 5, hoping some action will follow on. “I am also going to organise some events with commissioners and Brighton & Hove City Council and invite people from LGBTQ+ communities to come to discuss the issues in more detail and jointly find solutions.” She is looking for members of LGBTQ+ communities to help with this and asking people to contact her if they are interested in taking part. She is aware there are going to be “no quick fixes”. To contact Jane (Monday-Thursday), email: firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 07743734254.
Scene 27 An early response to the report came from Jane Lodge, associate director of public involvement at Sussex Clinical Commissioning Groups: “The impact of Covid-19 on the mental health of members of LGBTQ+ communities, as outlined by this excellent report, is stark. We will be working in partnership with LGBTQ+ voluntary and community sector organisations and providers of mental health services to ensure they are aware of, and act on, this report. We will also continue to liaise with Switchboard to continue to understand experience, and to develop and maintain effective ways to support the mental health and wider wellbeing needs of these communities.”
health professionals would say ‘we really need this, it’s really important for lung cancer patients that we have this’, then the lung cancer patients would say ‘I’m not bothered about that, why are you making such a fuss about that?’. “A good example is that I worked with quite a bolshy member of staff for who everything was problematic, but from that meeting she suddenly said why don’t I give up half my office for people to go to when they’ve had a diagnosis? So when you get people working in partnership rather than saying ‘this is what needs to be done’, that’s where I want to come from – getting people together to problem solve.”
were with other seriously ill people who were transphobic”. “So it’s about winning people’s hearts and minds and telling stories,” says Jane. “People are very willing to listen to what we’ve got to say and some of the stats are undeniable and are backed up by other studies. There’s so much compelling evidence.”
But it’s worth remembering the positives that the report has revealed too, and Switchboard chief executive Jacob Bayliss highlights that element: “Brighton & Hove has one of the largest LGBTQ+ populations in Europe. For many of those who live and work here this is a point of pride. As a city we often lead the way when it comes to improving outcomes for these communities – despite this we still find stark inequalities that need urgent attention. Among all of the challenges, we came away from our consultation feeling inspired by the overwhelming evidence that our community is kind and resilient, and brimming with creative solutions to difficult problems. We have a once-in-a-lifetime chance to emerge stronger from the pandemic and as we start to shape our city for the future, this report gives us a way to advocate for LGBTQ+ people in that future.”
From Jane Woodhull’s point of view, housing is a main priority, and probably the one that will be toughest to tackle: “The impact of Covid put a lot of, particularly young, people back into transphobic, biphobic or homophobic homes. They were back in the closet, so some of the narrative, the experiences that young people in particular have had is really sad and we know that people within LGBTQ in social housing often stay in the closet, hide away in their bedrooms because there’s a workman coming in or whatever. So housing is a big issue. “I want to raise awareness and perhaps do a housing conference. If you look at Tonic housing in London, it’s got the first LGBTQ older people’s home, so maybe we could get some learning from there. But the housing department is so overwrought at the moment I suspect it will be really difficult to engage them because they are just snowed under.” Trans health was another area that was highlighted. “Across the demographic, whoever people were in the communities, concern was raised for trans people, particularly with the press and all the anti-trans stuff that’s around at the moment. A lot of people were saying ‘I’m really worried about the trans/non-binary community’.” Mental health too was, unsurprisingly, a key concern, even when it comes to in-patient facilities. Jane recounts the story of one trans respondent who explained that they had to be sent to a mental health hospital miles away “because it was the only one that had dual-gender toilets and obviously they
One perhaps surprising revelation from the survey is that only 8% of respondents had contacted an LGBTQ+ charity for help during the pandemic. Many people worried the charities were needed for those worse off than themselves, or did not know about them. This leads Jane to think any assumption that everyone sees themselves as part of the LGBTQ+ communities isn’t really the case, and there’s a need for more safe spaces – such as the new Ledward Centre – where people can congregate with their peers. But to get a deeper understanding of what is really needed, Jane is a fan of the experiencebased approach, citing the example of putting professionals and potential service users together to discuss the issues. As an ex-nurse this is an area she has much experience in. “We would gather patients and healthcare professionals in a room together. The
D For a PDF of the report, visit: www. switchboard.org.uk/wp-content/ uploads/2021/07/Covid-19-Report.pdf
28 Scene how we changed public opinion on LGBTQ+ issues. Why did you create Reclaim Pride, which took place for the first time last month? Many people are fed up with how Pride in London has become too corporate and commercial. It never pushes for LGBTQ+ human rights. A coalition of LGBTQ+ groups, coordinated by my Peter Tatchell Foundation, organised a rival event: the first-ever Reclaim Pride march – a people’s Pride march for LGBTQ+ liberation. We marched from Parliament Square, protesting outside Downing Street and the Uganda High Commission en route. It finished in Hyde Park with a mass Queer Picnic, a DIY party in the park, with everyone bringing their own food, drink and music. It was a wonderful celebration and, crucially, a protest. We put LGBTQ+ human rights front and centre. I hope Reclaim Pride will become an annual event. If there was a general election tomorrow, how would you vote and why? I’d vote Green because I think they are the only party that takes the climate crisis seriously. If we don’t act soon, the UK will suffer hugely destructive floods, heatwaves and tornadoes. Plus Greens have the best policies for a fair society, including LGBT+ rights.
10 QUESTIONS... PETER TATCHELL
A lifelong LGBTQ+ activist and human rights campaigner, whose methods of achieving tangible life-changing results have divided opinion over the years, Peter Tatchell, who has recently created Reclaim Pride [an alternative to Pride in London] is now the subject of a Netflix documentary, Hating Peter Tatchell, which looks back at his remarkable life being at the forefront of the global fight for equality. Jason Reid put 10 questions to Peter ) Congratulations on the documentary. How
do you feel when you watch your life in activism back? I’m amazed that I have achieved so much and for so long. And also astonished that I’ve survived such intense hatred and violence, simply for taking a stand for LGBTQ+ human rights. It was an honour to have the film executive produced by Elton John and David Furnish, and for Ian McKellen and Stephen Fry to feature in it.
In retrospect, if you could, would you have done anything differently? I wish I had used outing more often to expose hypocrites and homophobes who were harming the LGBTQ+ community – and thereby pressured them to stop. On the rare occasion I did out people, it worked. After being named, none of the 10 Anglican bishops said anything homophobic and it prompted the Church to begin its first serious dialogue with the LGBTQ+ community. In your opinion, what are the greatest challenges facing LGBTQ+ people today? The government needs to stop dithering and
promptly ban the unethical, harmful and ineffective practice of conversion therapy. It should allow trans self-ID via a statutory declaration. We have to stop the way some LGBTQ+ refugees are put in detention centres and given deportation orders. The LGBTQ+ movement needs to become more internationally focused, to support campaigners in the 70 countries that still criminalise homosexuality and the 11 nations that still have the death penalty. What advice would you give to LGBTQ+ people and allies who wish to become involved in activism for the first time? Join and donate to a LGBTQ+ campaign group, and lobby your MP on the aforementioned issues via the website www.writetothem.com. How do you define free speech and hate speech? Hate speech is abusive, insulting or threatening. Polite critical views are free speech. Bans and no-platforms don’t make bigoted ideas go away. It is more effective if they are protested and challenged with counter evidence to show why they are wrong. That’s
Which world leaders, in your opinion, represent the greatest hope for, and greatest threat to, the LGBTQ+ community globally? No world leader inspires me. But Joe Biden is supporting LGBTQ+ people worldwide, often making US aid conditional on recipient countries respecting LGBTQ+ rights. The greatest threats globally are organised religion, mostly Christianity and Islam. Which queer person from history would you most like to have met and why? Leonardo Da Vinci. He’s probably the greatest genius in human history: painter, sculptor, engineer, scientist and inventor. Centuries ahead of his time, he would have been an enlightening and inspiring person to know. If you could only read one book, watch one film, and listen to one album for the rest of your life, what would you choose and why? One book: Edward Carpenter: A life of Liberty and Love (2008). It’s about the trailblazing 19th century English green socialist author and humanitarian. He championed a huge range of causes, from LGBTQ+ rights to feminism, prison reform, sex education, recycling, environmental protection and animal rights. One film: Her (2013). It’s psychologically very deep and thought-provoking. I keep discovering new insights about the film, and myself, every time I watch it. One album: Whitney Houston (1985). She has extraordinary vocals, with emotionally engaging and uplifting lyrics. I listen to it whenever I need a mental recharge. Hating Peter Tatchell is out now on Netflix. D www.petertatchellfoundation.org
OWL (L) AND CAROL (R)
continue to fundraise to meet the costs of the project and are currently a quarter of the way towards their target of £50,000. The money raised will all be used for production costs for the film and will be vital in ensuring they can carry out the project. Filming has already begun. “We filmed with Carol a few weeks ago,” says Fox, “but will need to return to film her in a studio setting without the screams of peacocks and the trickling of water fountains. We are still learning so much, even after nine years of filmmaking.
INVERNESS OR BUST
Rory Finn uncovers an untold tale of trans history ) Inverness or Bust is an incredible story
of friendship, allyship and Trans Pride set in the backdrop of 1970s Britain. Currently in production, this documentary feature film focuses on a historic road-trip that a group of transgender people took in 1975 to visit a sympathetic doctor in Inverness, Scotland. At the time, the term ‘transgender’ hadn’t even been coined and trans people faced an incredible amount of stigma and discrimination. Getting medical treatment was very difficult, but a few trans people caught wind that a surgeon in Inverness was willing to talk to them about medical treatment. So they took to the road. In this documentary, Carol, Nemo and Stephen, three of the original group, will be joined by filmmakers from My Genderation, a non-profit which produces films that celebrates trans lives and experiences. They will be hitting the road again, retracing the steps of the original journey and taking a trip down memory lane. Along the way they will meet up with young trans people across the UK. This will allow a crossgenerational conversation between trans people, while offering valuable insight into trans history and how things were, how things are now, and where we still need to go.
Being transgender in 1970s UK was incredibly difficult, and medical care was scarce or nonexistent. All of the contributors were pioneers in their own rights – whether that was fighting for themselves, starting up support groups advocating for better treatment and the legal rights of transgender people in the UK. These
Preserving transgender history is more important now than ever as stories are rarely told and kept. This year marks 45 years since that faithful journey, and the original members of the group are mostly in their 70s and older, with some of them having already passed away. The filmmakers want to honour their memory and by taking the trip once again, allow different generations of transgender people to connect and share their stories. Talking about the importance of this film, filmmaker Owl said: “A lot of our contributors were not able to be openly themselves or to have a voice to tell their stories back then and haven’t even still been able to – so we really want to elevate those voices and help them heal the past.” But this journey comes at a cost. Through My Genderation’s crowdfunder they have been able to buy decent second-hand kit, but there is nothing left to pay any crew members. Filmmaker Fox Fisher acknowledges that, while “I’m used to working for free, it isn’t sustainable and I wouldn’t expect anyone else to”, they
“Unfortunately, all the funding we took time to apply for hasn’t been successful. It’s immensely frustrating as trans filmmakers to not have the support in telling trans stories. Our trans history is so important and without documenting it we risk losing these stories forever.” Fox says that there is potential support from a car manufacturer, who has offered use of a vehicle to support the road trip. They have also been writing a fictional version as a series, which has already had interest from a pop star who may invest in the project. “We plan to make the documentary first, which will help spark interest and more support for the fictional series. We ask that anyone who might be able to help to get in touch, so we can do this story justice.” By doing dramatisations and taking the same journey up to Inverness, they hope it will be an engaging and insightful documentary. “With your help we will be able to make it happen,” says Fox, “and you’ll play a part in telling a story that might otherwise be forgotten.”
more info ) To donate to the project:
www.gofundme.com/f/invernessorbust t @mygenderation D www.mygenderation.com CAROL
The film will expand upon what was going on in their lives when they were in their 20s and 30s. Cinematic dramatisations will bring this story to life. They plan to have trans actors re-enacting what the gang describes in their personal interviews. Three different versions of the truth will piece together the story, which includes love triangles, family dramas and strangers with eyes on stalks.
are the stories of survivors; people who lost their jobs, their friends, were disowned from their families, some also placed into mental asylums.
“A lot of our contributors were not able to be openly themselves or to have a voice to tell their stories back then and haven’t even still been able to – so we really want to elevate those voices and help them heal the past”
CLASSICAL NOTES BY NICK BOSTON
) Malcolm Archer J S Bach Goldberg Variations (Convivium CR064); Alexandra Papastefanou J S Bach Goldberg Variations (First Hand Records FHR110). When a new recording of J S Bach’s (16851750) Goldberg Variations comes along, it’s always interesting to hear what the performer makes of this iconic work, and it’s particularly intriguing to have two recordings come along at the same time. But when one is performed on the harpsichord (as Bach composed
edge into decadent chaos. In their arrangement, the Linos players burst the piano trio free of the formal salon into wild abandon – the variety of textures and effects they generate from the three instruments here is impressive, and they almost achieve the sense of impending seasickness generated by the orchestral surges at the conclusion. The other work here is Schoenberg’s Verklärte Nacht, here in a transcription by Eduard Steuermann from 1932. Steuermann studied composition with Schoenberg, and premiered his Piano Concerto. Back in April I reviewed the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Edward Gardner’s recording of the orchestral version of this psychological drama, in which a woman walks with her lover in a moonlit forest, and confesses she is pregnant by another man. The original version was for string sextet, so the piano trio format is not so far away, with the piano part doing a lot of heavy lifting in terms of the rich harmonies. The lyrical higher registers of the cello are used to match the passionate outbursts from the violin, and the PRACH BOONDISKULCHOK
Debussy’s Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune is full of colour and the hazy intoxication of a sleepy afternoon, and while pan flute is missing here, the trio make great use of silky lines from violinist Konrad Elias-Trostmann, as well as the high registers of the cello from Vladimir Waltham. Prach Boondiskulchok on piano fleshes out Debussy’s rich harmonies remarkably with warm tone and delicate placement. Dukas’ The Sorcerer’s Apprentice is another very well-known atmospheric work, full of orchestral drama and colour. Their piano trio version here obviously can’t replicate the full scale and range of textures, but with clever use of glassy strings and pizzicato, as well as frenzied piano moments, the relentless march towards disaster is effectively conjured up, with a truly wild climax. Ravel’s La Valse has a similar feeling of looming disaster, here with the seemingly formal waltz slowly spiralling out of control, even tipping over the KONRAD ELIAS-TROSTMANN
the work) and the other on the piano, the comparison gets even more fascinating. Of course there are some that would immediately dismiss a performance on a modern piano, but that would be a pity. There isn’t space here to go over all the arguments – would Bach have used the piano had it existed in his day? How does a pianist get around the use of two manuals (essentially two keyboards on the same instrument) which Bach sometimes uses to make different lines play the same note and cross each other? How much expression in terms of dynamics and pedalling is appropriate for a piano performance, given that these are not possible on the original instrument? Suffice to say, this masterpiece stands up to great variety of interpretation, and hearing different keyboard players’ solutions to its challenges only serves to reveal its greatness. A word about the structure here – following an opening aria, there are then 30 variations. Every third variation is a canon (a round), although the interval between the canon’s starting notes increases
each time, and then in between are virtuosic study-like variations, as well as character variations, such as a French ouverture, a Giga and a fughetta. I reviewed Greek-born pianist Alexandra Papastefanou’s all Schumann disc very favourably back in April, although she also has two previous discs of Bach in her catalogue. Malcolm Archer is new to me, although he has a strong career as a conductor, organist and harpsichordist, as well as composing, particularly choral works. Archer’s instrument, built in 2000 by Alan Gotto, is a copy of a 1728 instrument by Christian Zell, who in turn was a pupil of Mietke, a maker that Bach would have known well (he may even have owned one himself). The sound is bright and ringing, with a lightness suited to the rapid articulation required here. Bach’s markings of tempo are sparse, so there is plenty of scope for different approaches here – for example, Archer’s Variation 25 (marked Adagio) is just under four and a half minutes long, whereas Papastefanou takes almost twice as much time over this minor sarabande. Yet both approaches work – Archer gives this a stark solemnity, whereas Papastefanou’s take is more overtly expressive. Archer’s take, however, is not actually as quick as the timing would suggest – here, as elsewhere, he omits some repeats of sections, so his complete recording comes in at nearly 15 minutes shorter than Papastefanou’s. So in fact, Papastefanou’s more virtuosic variations, such as the jangling 28th Variation, are sprightlier. If I were to choose my ideal Goldberg recordings, it would be Mahan Esfahani on harpsichord, and
Andras Schiff on piano, but there is always space to hear new takes on this, and both recordings here have much to commend. Archer brings delicacy, precision and lightness of touch, while Papastefanou gives us a more expressive approach, with skillfully smooth lines, and some blistering virtuosity in her faster moments. ) Linos Piano Trio Stolen Music (Avi 8553035). On their second recording, Stolen Music, the Linos Piano Trio have taken some iconic early 20th century orchestral works and transformed them for their own chamber forces – and why not? They have arranged three of the works themselves, French gems by Debussy, Ravel and Dukas.
piano is a constant driving force of dramatic energy. Through their expert and sensitive arrangements of the French works, as well as their deeply expressive rendition of the Schoenberg, the Linos Piano Trio communicate deep understanding of and commitment to these passionate works, bringing a freshness to these familiar works. I look forward to these players stealing more repertoire if these arrangements and performances are anything to go by.
More info For more reviews, comment and events, visit: D nicks-classical-notes.blogspot. co.uk T @nickb86uk E email@example.com
ALL THAT JAZZ
) Emily Jolley works from her studio space at Phoenix Brighton. Working primarily in watercolour and sometimes in acrylics, she has explored natural and man-made environments within her painted imagery. The How’s My Driving? series is an examination of the mundane and apparently ephemeral activities that we rarely consider, that we screen out of our lives. Made up from glimpsed moments in long journeys, often observed on motorways, caught for her by her son on his mobile phone while she drove him to kayaking competitions. These recorded images, which were then painted into a different way of being, manage to capture the feel and rhythm of the traffic, the ever-changing array of shapes and colours, the headlights and brake-lights gleaming, the relay of overpasses, junctions and traffic signs that arrive and pass away, these moments all with their unique energy, accompanying weather and necessarily artificially derived light.
BY ENZO MARRA
BENEATH MY FEET AND FEATHERY FRIENDS
Executed in 2018 and 2019 away from her studio, driving her son to competitions, often consumed with understandable feelings of frustration from time spent stuck in traffic on the M25, or queuing for the Dartford bridge crossing. The series began when she started looking at busy roads through the eyes of a landscape artist, observing reflective tarmac in rain and sun, spray on the windscreen, flashes of colour from car lights, geometric shapes of cars and road signs. The images explore the ignored – road and near-road landscapes that we wouldn’t walk in or want to stop in. The urban travel and all the tarmacked, signed and bridged architecture that accompanies it, always seen at speed without time to consider the sights we have just passed or are for a split second facing. Her more conventionally natural imagery seen in Beneath My Feet and Feathery Friends deals with the presence of bird life and the environments they would linger in. The use of washed colouration giving the seen grass blades, the flowers and the buds that are yet to open, an ease and unforcefulness. A naturalness we can all relate to, populated with floral and winged exuberance. The small presence they can make on a busy minded passerby, exaggerated and zoomed in on to allow the personality of their exuberant life and fruitfulness to be fully seen in each executed composition. Her ability to capture the things that are forgotten, that are overlooked, a bit too normal to be grasped upon, allows each section of grassed terrain, each driven road, each short still bird, to be that more relevant than our standard hurried approach to such sights. These little things that are always surrounding us, informing what is more shouty and determined to be seen, deserve their right to be spotlighted and given centre stage. In her considered but not over worked reactions to the contrasting worlds of speedy road travel and the nature that lingers around our feet and that fast flies away, these passing moments are made all the more memorable.
BY SIMON ADAMS
) THOMAS STRØNEN Bayou (ECM). Norwegian drummer Thomas Strønen’s work is nicely compartmentalised: his Food collaboration with saxophonist Iain Ballamy emphasises electronics, while the more recent Time Is A Blind Guide is an acoustic chamber ensemble. Bayou takes him in another direction, a freely improvisational trio “drifting between elements of contemporary classical music, folk music, jazz, whatever we were inspired by”, as Strønen remarks. Everything here is created collectively, in the moment. The exception is the title piece, which is based on a traditional Norwegian folk tune and which unfurls in the quietest possible way. Its two versions are distinguished by the beautifully phrased vocals of Marthe Lea, herself first and foremost a clarinettist who has rarely sung before. Pianist Ayumi Tanaka, a classical pianist coming recently to improvisation, is an occasional contributor, presenting pools of sound the others use to reflect their own contributions. This might be rarefied music-making, but it is also very beautiful and thoughtful. Another fine Strønen project. ) RICHARD X BENNETT RXB3 (Ubuntu). Brooklyn-based pianist Richard Bennett describes his music as “bounce jazz”, and while that shouts cliché, it's a surprisingly accurate label, for each track verily bounces along with wit and energy. His approach is one of “theme and destruction”, the individual piano patterns for each song creating the melodies that are then tested to destruction. Buildup, destroy, and then “listen closer and you will hear jazz, contemporary classical and India raga elements threaded throughout”, for Bennett has a solid jazz grounding and has also performed and recorded in India. This might sound unnecessarily complex, but Bennett and his trio are first and foremost extremely accessible. Long-term collaborator Adam Armstrong is solid on bass, newcomer Julian Edmond on drums, originally from a gospel background, a fittingly funky partner to the pianist. Bennett is a new name to me, but it’s good to get to know his pneumatic music. ) B.B. KING Four Classic Albums Plus, Second Set (Avid). Blues guitarist B.B. King’s recording career began with two compilations albums filled with singles in 1956 and 1958 before he released his first proper album in 1959. This fine set contains four of his earliest albums, dating from 1959 to 1962. B.B. King Sings Spirituals is a bit of mismatch, the secular bluesman backed by gospel choirs, but the Hammond organist is great and thank God for the songs. King of the Blues is much better, showcasing King’s inherent feel for the blues and his plaintive, unhurried guitar lines courtesy of Lucille all over every track. More B.B. King is actually less, as the sound of rock & roll bandwagon jumping obliterates everything, but the all-instrumental Easy Listening Blues is just sublime.
be dismissed as The Queen of Sleaze. Of course she knew she wasn’t Jane Austen; she didn’t pretend to be George Eliot. She nonetheless didn’t feel she got the credit she deserved. She made feminism available to women who maybe didn’t read anything else. She was hurt by the critics though – especially in Britain.” Is it time for a critical reappraisal of her work? “Definitely. I think a lot of women have been bypassed or forgotten – she’s another example to add to the list. I love the idea of reevaluating her life and seeing her as a feminist icon. She was trailblazing in the books she wrote. She was a mogul too. She built a one-woman empire from her books.” Did she enjoy being rich, famous and fabulous? “Yes, definitely. In the film if you see her life in the ’80s. She had a beautiful house in Beverly Hills, she had fabulous friends, she went to fabulous parties. She kept notes of everything she observed and spent the following day writing it up. She lived the dream. She was financially independent. It was the independence she achieved as a woman.”
Alex Klineberg delves into a new documentary, which takes a look behind the big hair, big money and shoulder pads of Jackie Collins ) Jackie Collins, one of the most widely read
authors in history, chronicled the lives and loves of the Hollywood elite in her unmistakable style. Although she never quite won over the critics, she kept millions of readers entertained. Laura Fairrie’s new documentary, Lady Boss: The Jackie Collins Story, recasts her as a feminist icon and takes a look behind the big hair, big money and shoulder pads to tell Jackie Collins’ own story. We caught up with Laura to find out more. First of all, how did you discover Jackie Collins? “I discovered her as a teenager at school – her books were passed around. We’d read them during lessons hidden under our desks. She was my sex education, basically.” How did she cultivate her camp persona? “She didn’t intend for it to be camp. For her it was about protecting herself and, as the public persona grew, the ‘shield’ became more extreme. The more knocks she had the more she used the image – the leopard print, the shoulder pads, the big hair – as armour. She often wore quite masculine suits and always trousers – you never saw her in a dress – it was her way of surviving in the man’s world she was in.” So, for the uninitiated, which of her books would you recommend? “I’d recommend the first book, The World is Full of Married Men. It’s got so much of her early life in it. It’s shocking and so ahead of its time. I love Hollwood Wives – it’s so much fun. That’s a great combo to start with.
She would say Lovers & Gamblers was her best.” In her life she wrote 32 New York Times bestsellers. She wrote by hand and she wrote compulsively, yet she never wrote her autobiography. “Reality was an uncomfortable place for her; she preferred the fantasy world of her books. She wanted to leave the difficult times she endured, the toxic relationships, the upsetting parts of her life in the past and focus on the future. Going back over those experiences and retracing her life didn’t come naturally to her, but what did come naturally was imagining the life she wanted and she escaped by writing about it.” Pursuing a fantasy life is a risky move. Life isn’t really a fantasy, and yet Jackie Collins pursued her fantasy and succeeded. “She did for a while, she imagined the life she wanted for herself and she got it. Lucky Santangelo was one of her most popular characters and was really the woman Jackie wanted to be, and for a time she lived the life she dreamed of. She was powerful, untouchable, gorgeous, and completely financially independent. “But there’s another side to that and as she got older reality caught up with her and some hard blows came her way, and as they did she retreated further into the pesona because it was a place where she felt strong.” Jackie Collins became synonymous with lowbrow, trashy fiction. Did this frustrate her? “She was really hurt by that. She didn’t like to
Barbara Cartland was the original queen of romance, but she was no fan of Jackie Collins. They had a famous confrontation on a chat show in the ’80s. “She said to Jackie Collins, ‘I think the books you write are evil.’ It reflects the battles Jackie Collins had to fight. It was an example of the kind of criticism she faced. To be called evil is pretty full on. It also shows that women have different ideas of what feminism is. I think what’s wonderful about Jackie is that she defines feminism for herself. It’s a lesson for all women: we don’t need to be told how to live our lives.” For many, Jackie Collins became synonymous with sex. She was the queen of the ‘Bonkbuster’, but there was far more to her writing than the raunchy bits. “I think lots of women enjoyed her books – she wrote sex well. It was at the heart of what she did. But there’s also so much more to her writing. There’s really good storytelling, but for some reason people focused on that.” What about her relationship with Joan Collins, her famous sister? “They loved each other deeply. They lived these extraordinary lives side by side, competition fueled them and in that way they were motivated by each other.” Perhaps unsurprisingly, Jackie developed a gay fanbase. “She had a huge gay following which she loved and embraced. In the ‘80s people would go dressed as Jackie Collins on Pride marches. She was known as the Charles Dickens of Beverly Hills. Guys would go out in the leopard print and the shoulder pads. There was an understanding of how she used her image as armour and the vulnerability that stood behind that.” ) Lady Boss: The Jackie Collins Story is in
cinemas across the UK. To find out where, visit www.modernfilms.com/ladyboss
Scene 33 associated with Musicals Week and also whenever a Charleston is required. “I have so much respect for the professionals in the show and how hard they work week in week out with their celebrity partners.” Asked how it’s worked for Strictly in the last 18 months with no live audience for most of the shows, he said: “It’s been very hard to see the dancers finish a routine and get nothing back – it’s been heartbreaking.”
Brian Butler catches up with the Olivier Award-winning choreographer for theatre, film and television ) At nine, Bill Deamer decided to follow his
sister and take dance classes. When he acted onstage at school at Cheshunt he knew what profession was for him. But not straight away. After a teaching degree, he opted for a twoyear drama course and then off to Guildford School of Acting. “I absolutely wasn’t thinking of a dancing career,“ he tells me. But the triple threat training – acting, singing, dancing – made him understand how the three disciplines come together onstage. Directing started to enter his future plans and meeting choreography legend Gillian Lynne cemented that view when he worked with her on Cabaret with Wayne Sleep as the MC. “She told me I was a choreographer/director and she became my mentor. You need people like that to help you on your way.“ Even when he later choreographed the world stage premiere of Top Hat, he called Lynne for advice. Top Hat was based on the Fred Astaire film, and it followed a Fred tribute show where Bill
met Fred’s daughter. He was offered the use of the film’s original choreography but he was clear he wanted to create his own. “The stage show has 20 numbers compared with the film’s five. I spent six months kicking ideas around a studio first.” The West End show was a triumph and won Bill an Olivier Award for Best Choreography. A phone call from the National Theatre led to Bill choreographing Sondheim’s glorious Follies. “All the women characters get to dance,” and he had a boot camp to get their tap up to scratch. And that was no mean feat as the subsequent staged number had them tapping on a moving revolve. “We had the luxury of a long rehearsal period and a revolve in the rehearsal room”, he said. Bill’s had a 10-year association with Strictly Come Dancing, and its precursor So You Think You Can Dance?. His work on it is regularly seen as he has often choreographed the professional dancers’ opening numbers and he’s particularly
But apart from his TV work, Bill has been busy working on directing episodes of The Theatre Channel – reviewed regularly in Scene – which is a collaboration between Adam Blanshay Productions and the Theatre Cafe in London’s Theatreland. It showcases established and newer performers in and around the cafe but also more recently out on location. Bill admits his TV work helped him with the venture. “Gillian taught me to look at the script and the music and ask yourself: what do you want to say?” Bill also says he’s been heavily influenced by the work of Astaire, Bob Fosse and Gene Kelly: “We wouldn’t be where we are now without them. Never, ever can you ignore the style – you have to be the style.” He also pays tribute to the work of Matthew Bourne, creator of the award-winning all-male Swan Lake; “He brings new ideas and style – he’s a trailblazer.” Bill is one too, though he doesn’t have to say so. In lockdown he was asked to re-choreograph the Gumby Cat tap sequence in a revival of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s CATS – it eventually appeared first in the Korea production. “Those moments keep you going – to work with the best – Andrew is so supportive.” And Bill is much in demand – he’s scheduled to direct and choreograph Irving Berlin’s Holiday Inn in Tokyo – a city he loves to work in. “They have the utmost respect for the art form and they get what it’s about.” But before then his sights are set on being choreography consultant for new musical Hex at the National Theatre, which is based on the story of Beauty and the Beast. Then it’s on to a tour of The Osmond Story, where he is to be the choreographer and in charge of musical staging, or as he puts it: “All the bits in between the scenes.” Asked to give advice to a 15-year-old Bill, he tells me: “Learn your technique as without that you can’t go anywhere; ask yourself of your work, can you take it somewhere else, have you the balls to do it?”. Summing up, he says: “A choreographer starts with nothing and has to create what you see.” Having lost work on six shows in one day when the pandemic shut the theatres, he understands how hard it’s been for many performers and how lucky he has been to carry on working in some way. And as a daily cyclist of 15km, there’s no doubt he is determined to stay Strictly on top form. D www.billdeamer.com
Book Reviews by Eric Page ) Lois Shearing Bi The Way (£11.99, Jessica Kingsley Publishers). This excellent, well thought out and balanced book is a much-needed addition to easy to access books around bi, pan and queer experience. Author Shearing is to be congratulated on the dedication and attention to detail that marks this book out. The book works as an introduction to ‘being bi’, is an anthology of authentic bi experience and examines sexuality, gender and intimacy through a bi lens. Exploration of language and how being out bi can change depending on who and where you are. Shearing examines difficult subjects with a deft clarity of purpose, affirming and platforming real people’s experience throughout. It’s an engaging read, and if your head is turned by all sorts of folk, and your pulse quickened, then the book supports an honest self-exploration of what that can mean and the delights, adventures and life-changing experiences you can expect. Rallying, honest and powerfully written, this is a manifesto for bisexual people everywhere and will empower you to live your most authentic bisexual life. guide to ageing as a trans and/ ) Jennie Kermode Growing or non-binary person. Author Older as a Trans and/or NonKermode looks in-depth at the Binary Person (£16.99, Jessica key health concerns and social Kingsley Publishers). Drawing issues affecting older trans people, on the experiences of older trans including care homes, pensions, people and those transitioning inheritance and funeral planning, later in life, this is a definitive as well as hormone use and physical changes, isolation and dementia. Kermode also provides guidance for professionals looking to better meet the needs of these individuals and highlights the important factors that need to be considered at an institutional level to provide the best care for people across the gender spectrum. The book offers significant insights into the lives of our trans elders and should be required reading for anyone working, supporting or providing services to an ageing LGBTQ+ population. ) Max Schaefer Children of the Sun (£8.99, Muswell Press). When this book first came out I was seriously challenged by its violence, subthemes, language
and explicit exploration of 1980s south London gay neo Nazis mixed in with the head-spinning occult narratives and gay narrators and the author’s rather charming, seriously precise documenting of skinhead fashions. A heady brew, it’s not changed, although perhaps softened by time (or I’ve been calloused by experience). The book is still a challenge – difficult to read, compulsive, wretched, ruthless and presses its face hard up against yours so you can feel its threatening and menacingly throbbing masculine breath. Replete with exploration of neoNazi discourse and its interwoven neo-pagan mythologies, the book
is silently rampant. Schaefer fundamentally understands the methodologies of meta narratives and peels away the layers of fringe beliefs set into the heart of this extremist community, laying out the flayed flesh before us and asking us to see the connective tissue, the places queer and fascist rub against each other in uncomfortable (for some) frottage. By using the relationships and obsessions of the dual protagonists, and their different perspectives in time, we flow though this murky recent past of Britain, given space to reflect on its impact, so familiar in its refrain. There is so much focus on the happenings that the characters themselves are left undeveloped, taking the sting out of the later chapters. An uneasy but fascinating read. ) Timothy Schaffert The Perfume Thief (£13.99, Random House). Clementine is 70, a semi-
reformed con artist clad in chic tailored suits with a keen ‘nose’ for perfume. She has conned her way through the new moneyed flunkies & junkies of belle époque Manhattan, sniffed scented butterflies in Costa Rica, breathed deeply the spice markets of Marrakech. We come across her in 1930s Paris, tending her olfactory emporium, bottling her favourite extracts for her female lovers from the cabarets. So far so good. In this novel from Schaffert, the scene is expertly set, we’re given just the right amount of back story, a sub plot or two is deftly folded into the mix and then war happens and Paris is occupied. The book takes a chilling turn and examines what it means to really resist oppression, not just to fight back, but to fight for space to love, for queerdom! The book is delicious, lush, fluid and the narrative thumps along, the plot whirling and swirling like a moist silk scarf dipped in an intoxicating fragrance teasing and whipping by, leaving lingering sillages of experience that you feel, rather than see. I’m keen on a good scent novel, and the top notes of The Perfume Thief lead us into a dark, leathery mid tone, hinting at damp, cloying smells, all stupendously supported by the base notes of engaging characters with a sharp tang of wit. At its heart it’s a love story, a passionate scream for intimacy in the face of barbaric hate and a rather thrilling romp through the demimonde world of the Parisian underground queer resistance. Fabulous escapism in more ways than one.
WITH MICHAEL HOOTMAN
THAT COLD DAY IN THE PARK
) THAT COLD DAY IN THE PARK (player.bfi. org.uk). This early Robert Altman is already a distinctive work with its slow zooms which seem to fracture space and give a sheen of unreality to the action. It stars Sandy Dennis as a sexually repressed and generally rather strange woman who takes in a young man but, in the first of many ambiguities, it’s hard to work out if these feelings are maternal, charitable, sexual or some mix of all three. Dennis is, as usual, brilliant. An actor with limited range, she still cornered the market in nervous, awkward women with a volcano’s worth of repressed emotion. The unnamed man (Michael Burns) flits between Dennis and his family home, and a sister who doesn’t try to hide her incestuous feelings towards him. The movie is full of great scenes – a visit to a birth control clinic and Dennis’ minor descent into hell to pick up a prostitute are brilliantly realised. With its unhinged female protagonist, it’s a companion piece to Polanski’s Repulsion, though whether your boots-on-the-ground feminist would find it a criticism of patriarchy or simply misogynistic is, to me, unclear. ) TRUE ROMANCE (Arrow Blu-ray). Quentin Tarantino’s romantic thriller about a comic store worker (Christian Bale) falling for a recently recruited prostitute (Patricia Arquette) is given a fairytale gloss by director Tony Scott. The
) PERSONAL SHOPPER (player.bfi.org.uk). Kristen Stewart plays Maureen, the eponymous gofer for an unsurprisingly demanding supermodel. Apart from doing the most materialistic job imaginable – pandering to the whims of an egotistical monster – Maureen is also a medium who is trying to contact her recently deceased brother. Olivier Assayas’ movie is a weird mix of the perils of being a female wage slave (it bears similarities to the later The Assistant) coupled with a number of unambiguously supernatural events. While its grip on the audience never slackens, it doesn’t really cohere into a meaningful whole. There are too many unanswered questions: why does Maureen share the same heart defect which killed her brother when it doesn’t serve the plot? What’s the narrative point of the one act of violence? Is the film satire? And if it is, what is it satirising? Icily stylish, it’s like Lynch but without that director’s sense of wonder. ) INGMAR BERGMAN VOL 1 (BFI Blu-ray). This is the first of a four-volume collection of the director’s works. Presented over five discs, result is a strange, queasy, funny and ultimately vastly entertaining movie. It’s a pop-culture makeover of Terrence Malick’s Badlands, and shares the earlier film’s xylophone theme tune. The plot centres on the couple ending up in possession of a bag of uncut cocaine and their attempts to turn it into hard cash. While the leads are great, the exceptional supporting cast – including Gary Oldman as a white Rasta druglord, Christopher Walken as a chillingly psychotic criminal, Bronson Pinchot’s loser film exec and Dennis Hopper as Bale’s father – come close to stealing the show. Why queasy? Its best scene also contains dialogue so racist it’s unimaginable it could be filmed today – a man who knows he’s about to die wounds with the only thing available to him: words. It’s a verbal duel of menace, threatened violence and something that might be comedy or just the audience’s nervous laughter, but it showcases Walken and Hopper at their most brilliant and Tarantino as a kind of Pinter but without the trappings of taste. This edition comes with hours of extras, including commentaries by Tarantino and Scott, cast interviews plus – most importantly – the ‘downbeat’ ending from the original script.
the box set features 2K restorations of eight early films (1944-1950) written or directed by Bergman. Although perhaps considered rarities even amongst cineastes, they foreshadow themes and tones which he would develop over the following five decades. Special features include an audio interview, a video essay on the filmmaker and a 100-page book of essays.
we’re talking about.” They also filmed BBC Ident during lockdown about a cabaret cooking family. “I describe Bitten Peach as the family I didn’t even know I needed.” What can we expect for the Pride at the Ironworks show? “I’m not actually in the show. I know the cast though and you can definitely expect lots of camp and a lot of Asian twists. You’ll see a lot – it’s going to be a variety show.
Alex Klineberg catches up with Lilly SnatchDragon to find out more about Bitten Peach – the pan-Asian cabaret collective ) Formed in 2019, Bitten Peach made quite
an impact on the cabaret scene before the pandemic. Now we’re – hopefully! – postlockdown, Bitten Peach are heading back on the road. You can catch them at Brighton & Hove Pride’s Pride at the Ironworks on August 21. The phrase ‘Bitten Peach’ has major homosexual resonance in China. The largely mythical figure of Mizi Xia lived – or was invented – in the Zhou Dynasty era. He gave a half-eaten peach to Duke Ling, who basically fancied him. Think about that scene in Call Me By Your Name – plus ça change. There are also queer Chinese references to the ‘passion of the cut sleeve’... To find out more, we caught up with Lilly SnatchDragon, a co-founder of Bitten Peach and ‘Neo Drag Queen Burlesque Performer’. First of all, what inspired Bitten Peach? Lilly noticed some unfortunate stereotyping at Lunar New Year (sometimes conflated with Chinese New Year), such as non-Asian people wearing bathrobes as kimonos. “There’s no reason for white people to dress in bathrobes celebrating a New Year they don’t even understand.” Lilly was also getting tired of being the only Asian performer on the cabaret bill. Bitten Peach was formed with fellow performers on the cabaret scene. They sold out as soon as they announced shows. Was that because of the individual performers or the nature of the group? “I think it was the collective aspect… no one had really seen an all-Asian group. ShayShay has a good following, I have a good following and Evelyn was upcoming. I think it was mostly because people had never seen anything like it.” Audiences are very diverse. For The Glory show the venue was so packed they had to turn people away. “The Glory is amazing. John Sizzle and the rest of the team are so supportive. They even gave us the money to do the decorations for the show.” What can we expect at a show? “Expect a variety show. We have a mixture of different
skills. People come to see us because we’re a collective, we’re a family. People are made to feel welcome. Especially after being othered so much. And you’re going to have camp, you’re going to have comedy,” she pauses. “It’s early and I’ve only had half my coffee! You can expect some subliminal education too. We always bring to life Asian hate and the stereotypes a lot of us face. It’s about celebrating the skin we’re in. It’s about being unapologetically who we are. We’re here to celebrate who we are and everyone is welcome. You can expect a lot of love.” During the pandemic, Bitten Peach stayed in contact over a Whatsapp group; a space where they could vent, connect and share. Shared cultural references are also important. “I can discuss rice cookers and everyone knows what
“We’ve a lot of shows coming up. We’ll be performing at Garrick Theatre on August 5. Come and have a look at who we are. Attend and support as many PoC shows as you can. The Cocoa Butter Club I have to give a massive shout out to as well. It’s run by performer Sadie Sinner. Without it, cabaret wouldn’t be what it is today. Without Sadie there wouldn’t be so much diversity in cabaret. I’ve done loads of shows with them, including its opening night where they had to turn people away.” Lilly SnatchDragon is considered to be one the of the UK’s best burlesque performers and she’ll be performing at the Garrick Theatre show. “I’ll be on stage with Fancy Chance, who is absolutely epic. If the world ended, the only living things would be cockroaches and Fancy Chance. We also have Aisha H who performs with whips and does dagger throwings! We also have Mahatma Khandi. We also have Raheem – known as Doza Cat. The latter is trained in classical Indian dance, which they interpret through their drag. We’ve got ShayShay, we’ve got Evelyn. We’ve got drag kings, we’ve got circus, we’ve got burlesque. I put on shows with lots of variety.” ) For tickets to the Bitten Peach show at Pride
at the Ironworks on Saturday, August 21, visit: www.ironworks-studios.co.uk/product/21aug-bitten-peach-table-4-seats
Photographer: Daniel Aros. Country: Oaxaca, Mexico D www.danielaros.com i www.instagram.com/senoraros/ Mario, Xaneri and Amiatí were born in the isthmus of Tehuantepec. Muxes have been a part of the fabric of Oaxaca since before the Spanish colonization. The impact of the Catholic church prevails within the customs and traditions enforced by a misogynist government. The lives of women and queer folk are unequivocal less valued than those of men. Traditionally, Muxes aim to learn artisanal skills to provide and take care of their families. Romantic relationships and academic education are often not encouraged by their communities. Most families fear for the safety of their queer members in a machismo-driven Mexico. Amitai, Mario, and Xaneri represent three Muxes that have achieved to break that cycle. They are each independent business owners and live fulfilling personal lives. They are part of a new generation of Muxes fighting for equality and redefining the queer experience.
SCENE & DONE IT
) FilmPride, Brighton & Hove Pride’s official queer film festival, will return in August for its third year. This year it’ll be online only.
Pride and Protest
WITH ALEX KLINEBERG
We caught up with Deborah Espect, the festival’s artistic director, to find out more. What inspired you to start FilmPride? I created FilmPride with Bill Smith, who runs Latest TV, three years ago. I’d just done a series of shows on Latest TV where I’d introduced LGBTQ+ short films, documentaries and animations, and I realised that, as far as I knew, we didn’t have a queer film festival in Brighton. So I talked to Bill about it and it turned out that he’d also started thinking about this!
PURE BY NATALIE JASMINE HARRIS
MOTTA BY NISH GERA
We joined forces, and FilmPride was born. We agreed that, as well as delivering live events, it would be great to run part of the festival on TV, to offer filmmakers the chance to have their work broadcast on our local channel. This makes us very different from other film festivals, and FilmPride has actually been screened on different channels in the country! This year, we’re really excited to have Northern Visions in Belfast, Sheffield Live! and KMTV in Kent as our TV partners again. Give us some of the highlights of this year’s festival. There are over 70 films, from many different parts of the world, about so many different topics, so there will definitely be something for everyone. The common denominator is that they are all high-quality films. We have beautiful animations, hard-hitting documentaries and very moving dramas. As well as some very light-hearted content, too. We’ve also interviewed filmmakers about their experiences of making their films, and about what it’s like to be queer where they are based, so this will be a very interesting opportunity for our audiences to find out more about the people behind the films they watched in the festival. How can people get involved and support FilmPride? The best way to support us is to sign up on our website (www.filmpride. org) and watch our films. And then to check out all the Q&As with the filmmakers. And to talk about us on social media (and everywhere else). As we are a volunteer-run festival with no funding, word of mouth is the best way to help us. The FilmPride TV festival will run from August 2 - 15 at 9pm on Latest TV (Freeview 7 and Virgin 159) and online from August 16 - 31, www.filmpride.org.
BY MICHAEL STEINHAGE
) Is Pride still a protest the way it once was? I ask myself this, and go look through the glass. What if I went to Pride in a faraway land, where the gays are oppressed and the cruel in command, would I stand up to count, would I stay in my house? See with protest there’s elephant, with protest there’s mouse. There’s pride and there‘s prejudice across the planet, and here it is lovely if Clive goes as Janet. Elsewhere you may carry your pride in your heart, for it’s only there safe, there in that hidden part. We fought for our rights oft the old queers proclaim, and the young queers protest we are doing the same! It may be a party, a piss-up for many, it may be a huge waste of money for any. “It’s not what it was“ you hear said more than once. Yet is anything ever when it’s been years and months? What is Pride, what is Protest, a march, a petition? What is yours may not be mine, each have their own mission. One year has changed everything, that much is clear. One year has just taken so much we hold dear. One year has made many afraid and alone, one year has shown all that we’re not on our own. We’ve covered our mouths yet we’ve spoken up louder, we’ve stuck to the rules yet we protested prouder. Division and unity, never seen hand in hand, have swept though the world, sparing no single land. First the streets were as empty as never before, no shoes on the pavements, from cars not a roar. Then we clapped at our windows and shared our proud stripes, a commodity now, gel and antibac wipes. We stayed in for the heroes, all behind the front line, admiration and honour when that life could be mine.
But the people will out and when he was stopped breathing, the streets, there was protest, were once again heaving. They should stay behind doors! Very many complained, as they claimed sympathetic but yet they remained. Opinions and passions, safety and spreading, perhaps not so different in papers the headings, as what they once had been in those decades before. Some always get less, and some always get more. And we strive for the change cause we want a world better, and we fight and campaign and belive that we matter. For we must and it’s maybe no difference how, the placard or the keyboard both mighty swords now. And now back to normal or new normal now, reluctant we read of the news of the hour. All can change in a day, but the change that has been will stay with us forever, will always be seen. How we’re blessed to have found out how much a hug means, now at last we are let out from behind our screens. Pride has changed cause and colour, let that be a truth, one we all share, all races and the old and the youth.
of ‘growing up’. Unlike most of my friends, my first partner was of the same gender as me, the first night out that I actually enjoyed was at a gay bar, and I reconsidered my LGBTQ+ several times, thus coming out and re-establishing myself multiple times.
Am I missing out on my 20s? By Rachel Badham ) Another year, another
Brighton & Hove Pride cancelled. I brought tickets for this year (mainly in the hope that Ms Carey would be headlining), so I think some part of me was convinced that 2021 would see everything go back to some version of pre-Covid normality. And after all, the summers of your youth are supposed to be filled with festivals, all-nighters and overpriced fruit-infused ciders, right? So, I figured I should definitely buy a ticket on the off-chance that the event goes ahead.
"I’ve been left wondering if I’m missing the portion of me which is meant to enjoy the things that I’m supposed to. Not only can I not live my 20s in the way that I’m expected to – I don’t actually want to. Is there something wrong with me?" I turned 22 this year, so finally I can sing Taylor Swift’s 22 and have it actually make sense. However, unlike Taylor in the song’s energetic and fun-filled music video, I haven’t been spending my 20s partying, clubbing and having “breakfast at midnight”. Due to lockdown restrictions, I haven’t been to a club since 2019, and have spent most evenings in bed by 9pm with Netflix and a peppermint tea. As I’ve found myself another year into my 20s, the pressure to live in accordance with
how young people are supposed to has been increasing. Sometimes I wonder how I would have spent the past two years if the pandemic hadn’t happened – would I have travelled the globe instead of hardly leaving the house for months on end? Would I have been going to music festivals instead of working at my laptop with a Carly Rae Jepsen playlist on repeat in the background? Although the ‘correct’ answer is yes, I’m not sure if I would be spending my weekends clubbing and going on spontaneous adventures. While many young people have been struggling with the loss of these freedoms, I can’t say that I’ve missed the nights out where I just wanted to get home into my bed and not wake up feeling exhausted, deflated, and wondering how much I actually enjoyed the partying lifestyle that university students are supposed to relish. Now that even more of us are feeling the pressure to ‘live our best lives’, I’ve been left wondering if I’m missing the portion of me which is meant to enjoy the things that I’m supposed to. Not only can I not live my 20s in the way that I’m expected to – I don’t actually want to. Is there something wrong with me? I’ve been pondering this for much of the pandemic and fretting that I was losing what is supposed to be a key part of everybody’s life. However, as many LGBTQ+ people find, there have been several aspects of my life that didn’t quite adhere to the normative timeline
When I was at university, I did a module centred on queer literature. Through the masses of theory I read for that section of my course, one particular point stood out to me, and has remained with me one year after graduating: queer people often don’t live linear timelines, which are in fact a myth perpetuated by heteronormative society. LGBTQ+ people in particular don’t always adhere to the idea that one should be married and should have ‘settled down’ by a certain age, with many queer people coming out later in life as their identity finally emerges despite years of suppression at the hands of the forces which encourage us to live in the way which we are taught is ‘correct’. And this got me thinking – the notion that a particular point in your life should be characterised by certain behaviours and activities is completely illogical, and the Covid pandemic has proved this further. Everybody’s plans have been disrupted and put on hold due to circumstances which no one expected, which seems to have sent a lot of people into a panic as they fear they’re missing out on whatever stage of their life they are at because they can’t conform to societal dictations of how they’re supposed to be living at that age. I can’t be missing out on my 20s, because any time is an opportunity for growth, development or just living on my terms – even if that means staying in some nights and watching Friends for the one-hundredth time. In that sense, the challenges the pandemic has brought have been valuable to me. This time has allowed me to get to a stage where I no longer feel that I should be spending my 20s in a certain way. And I for one am glad to have that pressure alleviated, and to not be enduring hangovers in 9am lectures anymore.
STUFF & THINGS
Summer holiday? Perhaps next year
Pride and Protest
) The entire country is screaming to be let out and allowed to go on holiday, but the headmaster and the other prefects have said NO, not this year. Only if you're especially good can you go to the Isle of Wight for a weekend.
) Pride. Pride... So much has been written about Pride. What can you say that hasn't been said before? What would be a new and dynamic thing to say? 'The need for Pride'? Others, I'm sure, will cover that. 'What Pride means to me?' Done that already. 'The Politics of Pride'? Not really my thing.
BY ROGER WHEELER
As and when the world opens up to us there are many new gayowned places that welcome all the LGBTQ+ etc community. You will invariably need a vaccination certificate but don't rely on the NHS App, it's not acceptable in most countries, some don't even have the technology. You need a hard copy, which is easy to get. Healthwatch has set up a new telephone number – 119 – initially designed for track and trace. Once you get through there is quite a lengthy menu, eventually you will hear a number to choose a hard copy passport. Then of course they will ask you all the usual security and personal questions but within a very few days you will get a hard copy of all your vaccination details. When it comes to destinations everyone knows about Mykonos, Ibiza, and Sitges etc, nice though they are there must be other places, and there are.
“As and when the world opens up to us there are many new gay-owned places that welcome all the LGBTQ+ etc community” Ever thought about Bulgaria? A few years ago, two guys from Hove, Paul and his partner, having worked extensively in the voluntary sector decided on a complete change of life and bought the Little River Guest House. On the edge of Boynovtsi, Gabrovo, Bulgaria, in a beautiful river valley, surrounded by nature and ancient forests. This looks like the ultimate peaceful getaway. The prices – and this is Eastern Europe – start at around £30 per night. It's 103 miles from Sofia Airport, there is a bus. The reviews are ecstatic. A little closer to home is the Domaine de Monteils about an hour from Montpelier in the Languedoc. Two lovely French guys, Richard and Frédéric, bought the place about ten years ago, did most of the renovations themselves and have produced one of the most stunning collection of gites imaginable. We spent one of the best holidays ever in this beautiful 17C converted monastery. All seven apartments are totally private; we had one with its own private pool. It was the last holiday that we had together before Mike died, but I cannot recommend it highly enough. Still in the Languedoc, which is fast becoming the gayest region of France, is Cinq & Sept, another very gay resort, more designed for groups but if fun is your thing this is the place to go. Montpelier is the closest airport and is very easy to get to from Gatwick. Reykjavik, which comes highly rated on the gay holiday list, is a lovely city in an amazingly gay-friendly country. The gay scene is livelier than you would imagine for a country that is situated so far away from everything. This is all very well, but right now we are strongly advised against all foreign travel until next year. We’ve been patient for so long, a few months won’t hurt.
BY JON TAYLOR
So let's look at the event itself. What have the themes been of Pride over the years... perhaps there's something in that? ‘Over The Rainbow’. ‘Fabuloso’. ‘Generations Of Love’. ‘Colour My World’. ‘Summer Of Love’. Hmmmm... all those tell me is that we could do with some more interesting and less generic themes. How's about ‘Nature’, ‘Food’, or ‘That Feeling At A Bar When You Realise That You're A Bit Older Than Everyone Else There’. That'd make things interesting.
“My gay friends are just normal blokes, doing their normal jobs, living their normal lives who may go down the pub with their mates at the weekend. They don’t wear feathers, they don’t do cocaine, they don’t say ‘Yaaaaas Queen’. They're just blokes” Struggling for an idea, I inquire of my Facebook friends as to what they’d write about. “Why don't you write about what doesn’t make you proud as a gay man?” suggests one of them. Not a bad idea but not sure if a little column about body shaming, ageism, wealth shaming and the drink and drugs-based culture of parts of the gay world is particular coffee-break reading material. How’s about taking another bastion of gay entertainment, Eurovision, and putting it together with Pride and see if there’s a link somewhere? So, let’s see what won the contest in the year that 1944 won for the Ukraine, a song concerning the deportation of the Crimean Taters at the hands of Joseph Stalin. The Brighton & Hove Pride theme that year was ‘Uniting Nations’. Hmmm. Perhaps not.
“[Pride] could do with some more interesting and less generic themes. How's about ‘Nature’, ‘Food’, or ‘That Feeling At A Bar When You Realise That You're A Bit Older Than Everyone Else There’. That’d make things interesting” Another friend might have hit upon an excellent theme for a Pride one year. ‘Normal Men’. He's made the point that Pride tends to cater for a typical expression of what being gay is. Namely being full of sparkles and neon and crop tops and thumping dance music. How many guys do you know who are like this and live their lives like this? I don't know any. My gay friends are just normal blokes, doing their normal jobs, living their normal lives, who may go down the pub with their mates at the weekend. They don’t wear feathers, they don’t do cocaine, they don’t say ‘Yaaaaas Queen’. They're just blokes. We do all kind of fall into this trap at Pride – the floats I’ve been on are always over-the-top affairs full of glitter. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that at all. It’s fun to dress up and show off a bit. But how’s about one year we take things down a notch or two? How’s about a pared down Pride? A ‘Come As You Are’ Pride? For some, simply rocking up to walk in the Pride parade is a huge statement. How much easier might it be for some to take part if they didn’t feel they had to wear angel wings on their back in order to do so?
all of the above. You take them. You’re in much more pain than I am. Pride is death. Pride is devastation and disease. Pride is AIDS. Pride is forgiveness and remembrance. Pride is knowing we did not do it alone. Pride is thank God for the lesbians. Pride is knowing that there probably is no God and so let us thank the lesbians for the lesbians. Pride is there is an L in LGBTQIA-YMCA-D.I.S.C.O – O.P.P Yeah You Know Me. Pride is all of that and more. Pride has no borders. Pride is solidarity. Pride is recognition that while the struggle may look unfamiliar, the pain is the same. Pride is DO NOT ASSIMILATE. Pride is to stand up and be you. Pride is a chosen family. Pride has no place in your family photo. Pride is cutting me out of the photo and upon my untimely death coming back for the money. Pride is justice for Samuel, Matthew, Alan, Martha for Kerrice Lewis and Nicole Saavedra Bahamondes. Pride is justice for the thousands of others who shall not remain nameless. Pride is to look them up. Pride is to not be sad; Pride is to get keep calm and tell their stories. Pride is to sometimes get mad.
Pride is... By Craig Hanlon-Smith @craigscontinuum ) Pride is political, Pride is personal, Pride is public, Pride is private. Pride is mine and not yours to ease, calm or sedate. Pride comes from a place of need, the right, a fundamental to be heard and seen. Pride does not need to bend to a level of beige hidden behind a safeguarded ‘family-friendly’ epithet. I am not familyfriendly, I am a gay man and filled with Pride. Be afraid, be very afraid, for I am not normal, and it is a beautiful ride. Pride is sex, Pride is naked, Pride is raw, Pride is liberated from your choke. Pride is mine and the fight was painful and yet I am winning. Your nuclear family was no friend to me or my kind, and I shun your ‘provided I behave’ acceptance. Pride is being me and not being you, and celebrating the freedom in not trying to have to. Pride is identifying as a man and as gay. Pride is appreciating the sweat and balls (insert non-masculine, non-sexist/gender nonconforming alternative to balls now) it takes to be here. Pride is appreciating the heart and headache it takes to get here. Pride is accepting the therapy and anti-depressants I take to stay here. Pride is not buying the T-shirt. Pride is taking the T-shirt off. Pride is setting fire to the T-shirt provided it’s not polyester and burns for days. Pride is throwing that brick. Pride is going to gaol. Pride is mine dammit and I will do it my way.
Pride is not kind, Pride is fear and the overcoming thereof. Pride is nerves and the nerve to hold tight. Pride is the right to yell and shout and march about as heroes if just for one day. Pride is not just one day, Pride is mine and all of the time. Pride is the right to have sex with men and to enjoy it without shame. Pride is knowing you were and continue to be so wrong about that. Pride is mine and I want you to let go of it. Pride is a history, Pride has a future, and Pride in the present has been given the gift of pause to stop. Pride is to think and reflect and make a change for the better. Pride is alternative and Pride is growth. Pride has meaning and cuts through the expected narrative for all of us. Pride has no logo or stamp, no stripes on the cheek nor flags hanging out of every boozer there is. If I felt no welcome last week, you shan’t have my pennies this. Pride is to forgive you all and to understand that you are not my friend. Even though you are wearing Pride socks from Primark. You know they’re really, really ‘gay’ right? Pride is my road, my path, my ascent. Pride is my success because and not in spite thereof. Pride is getting my head off that pillow and doing it again. Pride is not stepping out in front of that truck. Pride is leaving the drugs alone and Pride is knowing they’re a cloak for
Pride is my poof, my faggot, my fairy. Pride is my Dorothy, my Doris, my Mary. Pride is your shit-stabbing shirt-lifting gay cunt and paedo. Pride is my heels and never less than six inches mother fucker. Pride is my hosiery, my stockings and fishnets. Pride is my ‘fuck you, I’m fabulous swagger’. Pride is the realisation that you don’t hate me, you want to be me. Pride is, well, you can’t.
“Pride is death. Pride is devastation and disease. Pride is AIDS. Pride is forgiveness and remembrance. Pride is knowing we did not do it alone. Pride is thank God for the lesbians. Pride is knowing that there probably is no God and so let us thank the lesbians for the lesbians” Pride is my bruises and cuts, my hospital treatment and the shattered confidence and wounded pride. Pride is my appearing in court against my wishes, alone. Pride is your verdict of not guilty and yet you are. Pride is the case dismissed on legal technicalities and yet you did do it. Pride is knowing that the system is not broken, this is the system and I have no pride in it. Pride is the light, the dawn, the birth, the reincarnation to this. Pride is the truth, the way the life. Pride is ‘cast aside your nets, come with me and be fishers of men’. Pride is not a clause or 28 sections of anything. Pride is repeal, abolition and sense. Pride is never again in any form. Pride absolutely is an inalienable right to be gay. Pride is mine. It is ours. Pride is theirs for the taking and it will be our undoing.
TWISTED GUILDED GHETTO
Pride: I miss you
No shame; choose Pride
) Ah, so another year without Pride, so what. Another year when I’m not working every bloody hour for months in parade prep, costume sorting, float building, ego massaging and promotion. Another year when I’m not playing free hotel, breakfast chef, tour guide, fixer & nag. No Pride again, means I get to have another stolen summer, to rest, lay on the beach, water the garden, read books in August. Do I miss it? Hmmmmm.
) When I think of PRIDE I remember a story in the Bible about Jesus and a guy called Zaccheus. It’s interesting because I believe that it tells us a lot about how important Pride is, and not just as political and social protest. The story goes like this:
BY ERIC PAGE
You want to know what I have missed? What I ache for? What I dream of? What I really, really want? It’s YOU, Dear Reader. I missed all of you, in your messed-up hordes, your screwedup, lushed, swollen, intoxicated masses. I’ve missed the random connection with a superbly inspirational queer person who is as sharp, alert and conniving as me. I’ve missed the bump and grind with the druggie dykes who Hokey Cokey out of the deep shade of a dance tent, surrounding me with their effortless laughter. I yearn for the laugh-out-loud costumes, the clever ones, the ones I see over and over throughout the day then step over in the gutter at the bottom of St James’ St. I miss the hot throbbing mobs at the bar, I miss Grannies sporting strap-ons (thanks Grace!), I miss bad cheap wigs, huge wigs, cool wigs, light-up wigs. I miss talking to the Northern non-binary kid who leaves me laughing and thoughtful, I miss the German trans couple who flirt outrageously with me dressed in buckskin and smirks, I miss the heart achingly sweet slightly drunk twink couple who hold hands and grin adoringly at each other as the sun sets behind them. I miss the older lesbians sitting on the park benching sharing smiles with me. Oh, Pride I do miss you, I miss my friends who have died, leaving behind laughter and stinging admonitions to NOT WASTE TIME AND LIVE. I miss them, I miss pausing in the madness of the middle of the park, letting the tears irrigate my soul and some angel in disguise stepping out of the crowd to hug me and check I’m OK. I miss stopping at the top of the park and looking back on all of you, the music throbbing over the excited chatter. I miss my annual hour-long rides on the Chair-OPlanes spinning in wild abandon and letting my soul sing the body electric, ending up bruised from the chains and relentless centrifugal force; my first and always drug! I miss the sweaty bearded kisses in the Bears Tent, the heaving sweaty breasts in the Women’s Tent, the heaving sweaty everything in the Dance Tent. I miss bumping into people I only ever see at Pride. I miss ducking into groups of people to avoid exes who are now whys, I miss the thrill of being seriously checked out by some super hottie and the overwhelming feeling of exhaustion that kicks in about 11pm. I miss the glitter which gets everywhere, the blisters and blurred encounters. I miss all of you, from all over the place who come here to be LOUD and QUEER with me, trampling our city into the ground with your giant heels and sexy devil hooves, grinding hate and bigotry into the ground with your gyrating bodies, all celebrating the wonderful delightful joys of us all being together and most of all, I miss being in a majority for that one day, when WE THE QUEERS own this city, the streets, the parks, the beaches, the skies and scream in one harmonious voice: ‘love is love, let’s be exquisite and never explain.‘
BY MICHAEL HYDES
Jesus is coming through town. A man was there named Zaccheus; he was a chief tax collector and was rich. He was trying to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was short in stature. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree to see him. (Luke 19 NRSV). If you’re familiar with this story then it’s easy to miss the obvious; Zaccheus is short. He is the only person in the Bible ever to be referred to as short. So, perhaps Zaccheus was very short; a little person. And, yes, he was a tax collector, in a despised profession; but I imagine he’d not had much choice. The usual professions weren’t open to a little person. It was written in the Torah (Leviticus 21:20). As a little person you were thought of as unclean. Zaccheus was discriminated against, every single day, for being who he was. Day on day. Year on year. Decade on decade. Discrimination fosters shame, and shame leads to thinking I am not worth as much as them. As if life isn’t difficult enough, the cultural and social subtext that defines you is: you should be ashamed to be like that – to have that disease, that illness, that difference. Be grateful we accept you at all.
“Pride is not about suggesting that we are better than anyone else. It is a statement that we are all as good as anybody else, and certainly not ashamed to be who we are” Of course, if your are trans, or bi, or lesbian, or gay, then this type of discrimination is nothing new. But in a single moment Jesus turns shame to pride. Of everyone there, including the religious leaders, Jesus chooses to spend one-onone time with Zaccheus. He publicly chooses him, above everybody else! Imagine how Zaccheus felt! In an instant he felt pride instead of shame. We’d like to think that the crowd learned a lesson from what Jesus did – that they realised by his action that in discriminating against Zaccheus they had made a big mistake. But in the story they just tried to find other ways to validate their discrimination, and Jesus and Zaccheus moved on. This story reminds me that when shame threatens to eat us, we must choose pride. When discrimination beats at us, we must choose pride. When our religion or culture, peer group or family, work colleagues or neighbours say you should be ashamed, we must choose pride, and choose it together. Pride is not about suggesting that we are better than anyone else. It is a statement that we are all as good as anybody else, and certainly not ashamed to be who we are. Pride is important because we are important. Just as Jesus showed Zaccheus that he was important, and perfect just as he was, we have to show each other.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org by 15th May to book an advert
LGBTQ CHURCH/ PROFESSIONAL
BY GLENN STEVENS
AN ADVERT THIS SIZE COSTS JUST £45. TO BOOK A SPOT, EMAIL INFO@SCENEMAG.CO.UK
Sue Hunter ) The More to Me Than HIV project is very pleased to talk to HIV campaigner Sue Hunter about her experience of living with HIV and looking at how we can all help stamp out HIV stigma. July 2021 saw me recognising my 15th anniversary since being diagnosed HIV+.
When I was first told I didn’t know anything about HIV and at that point, I was thinking I should have known more about my sexual health. I have seen quite a lot of changes in attitudes of what it means to be a person living with HIV, and those changes started with my own family, who had a lot of misconceptions about what HIV was. For one, they believed HIV only happened in other communities, not to someone like me, a heterosexual woman. In the beginning, I was very scared to be open about my status, so I’d encourage people to do what I did and start small, talk to a friend they are close to. For me, I felt the weight of not disclosing lift from my shoulders. I felt empowered and began to talk with more confidence about what it means to be a person living with HIV. From then I started to speak to groups through the Positive Voices Project about what it meant to be a woman living with HIV. I think this is one of the most important things for the HIV community to do, for us all to work together to reach out to other groups outside of our own so we all have a better understanding of how it affects us. The More to Me Than HIV project is all about breaking down stigma. What advice would you give to those who would like to join the project? First, visit the website, www.moretomethanhiv.life to see people like me, who have contributed their images. I would also suggest peer support, talking to someone else who is living with HIV can be hugely beneficial; tapping into any one of the fantastic HIV organisations in Brighton, each of which has a wealth of support and information in a safe place to share experiences. I know so many positive people and feel privileged to have listened to their own stories of living with HIV, it is these experiences that help you understand your own and it helps build your confidence listening to people from different backgrounds, with their own HIV+ experiences. Collectively we can really help to empower each other. Thank you, Sue. The one thing stigma thrives on is other people’s ignorance of the facts. Collectively we can make a big difference to those who want to be more open about their HIV status. With this in mind, we would encourage those from all the HIV communities to come on board and send in their own images (all details available on the website: www.moretomethanhiv.life). We look forward to breaking down stigma together and say: There’s More to Me Than HIV.
TalkWithTom one-to-one counselling Sessions from £35
(FREE initial consultation)
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
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… ...and some things come round again. Delicious Dulcie Weaver on the cover of Out & About magazine within a magazine in 2006. Pick up your copy of August 2021 Scene: Out & About now.
2011, MindOut are experiencing a fresh new lease of life. Senior practitioner, Jason Saw, said; “It’s all very exciting, I love being here at Community Base.”
August 2006 BRIGHTON AIDS MEMORIAL ) Last month a large petition was presented to the full meeting of Brighton & Hove City Council calling for a permanent AIDS memorial to mark the lives of those who have died from the disease in Brighton & Hove. Lib Dem councillor Paul Elgood presented the petition, collected by community members. Currently the only permanent memorial in the UK is in Manchester. Paul Elgood said: “A permanent AIDS memorial would provide a symbolic year-round place for people to remember those who have suffered and are suffering from this terrible disease. A highly visible piece of public art in one of the town’s squares could become the focus for this in Brighton & Hove.” Such a lot can change in 15 years, including wigs and make up.
August 2011 30 GAY MEN SIGN £1MILLION RECORD DEAL ) A 30 strong Brighton & Hove Gay Men’s Chorus has signed to Universal Records and will soon release their debut album. From barman to baker, teacher to travel agent, the Brighton & Hove Gay Men’s Chorus have come a long way since being formed six years ago by John Hamilton and Jason Pimblett. The overall aim of the Chorus was to provide a community for gay men to share experiences, have fun but most importantly to develop and learn vocal abilities and embrace new styles of music not often associated with the gay community. “Rather than being a gay Chorus, we’re a Chorus of men that happen to be gay,” explains Chorus chairman John Hamilton. “When we started the Chorus, part of what we wanted to do was to help to break down some barriers and misconceptions of what gay people are.” “We wanted to concentrate more on the music”, adds Musical Director, Jason Pimblett, “and not necessarily be pidgeon-holed into ‘oh you can do that but you can’t do that’." MINDOUT UPDATE ) Since achieving independence from Mind in Brighton & Hove and moving their services to Community Base at the beginning of April
As well as social and closed groups and an open drop-in, they have launched a series of themed support groups which started with a GBT Men’s group, a trans group and a bi group, which will start in September 2011. Jason said; “It’s been an intensely busy period for our advocacy service and in the last three months I’ve had four times as many people contact me for LGBT mental health support, advocacy, advice and information or group work than in previous years.” COMMONWEALTH CHIEF SLAMS HOMOPHOBIA IN COMMONWEALTH COUNTRIES ) Kamalesh Sharma, Commonwealth secretary general, has criticised homophobia in Commonwealth countries with his statement that; “vilification and targeting on grounds of sexual orientation are at odds with the values of the Commonwealth.” It is thought that this is the first time a Commonwealth chief has made such a strong statement against homophobia and in favour of LGBT people across the world. Matthew Sephton, Chairman of UK-based LGBTory, the Conservative Party’s affiliated LGBT group, expressed backing for Mr Sharma, saying: “I welcome the secretary general’s strong message of support for LGBT people across the Commonwealth. It is truly appalling that, in 2011, among a group of nations that acknowledges the British monarch as head, there are many where homosexuality continues to be illegal, with extremely severe
punishments possible in some of them. It is so important that the Commonwealth begins to address the way LGBT communities are treated within its jurisdiction by barbaric and draconian laws which still exist in some member countries.”
Before presenting the cheque to Maria Baker, who sits on the Rainbow Fund’s independent grants panel, BBW Chair Graham Munday thanked the Sea Serpents, Brighton’s gay rugby team, for their help and support in raising the money.
He made special mention of Lunch Positive, the HIV Lunch Club, who had provided food at the Bear-B-Q Picnic in Dorset Gardens during BBW weekend which raised more than £1,000 for Lunch Positive and thanked the Camelford Arms for providing the buffet and complimentary glass of Prosecco to everyone attending the announcement reception.
SUBLINE RAISES MORE THAN £3,800 FOR LOCAL GOOD CAUSES ) Subline, the 18+ members-only cruise bar in St James’ Street, celebrate a bumper couple of months of fundraising, raising a very impressive £3,800 for local good causes. Steven Lee, manager, donated £1,500 to the Brighton Rainbow Fund over Brighton Bear Weekend, primarily from door money, with a teensy bit of rounding-up. This came close on the heels of raising £500 for THT at the end of May from Steve’s birthday raffle, followed at the end of June with the storming return of the Sussex Beacon’s Bizarre Bazaar with sales on the day raising over £1,700 with a further £100 raised from cash donations in buckets Steven Lee said: “Not bad for a small venue. I’d like to thank everyone who worked, spent, organised, donated, or otherwise contributed to these recent fundraising events!” BRIGHTON BEAR WEEKEND 2015/16 RAISED A RECORD AMOUNT FOR RAINBOW FUND ) Brighton Bear Weekend (BBW) raised a massive £7,752 for the Rainbow Fund from their fundraising activities in 2015. The total raised was revealed at a reception at the Camelford Arms on July 11 for supporters and friends who had helped the BBW committee raise the money over the past 12 months.
the iconic surroundings of Brunswick Gardens in Hove, proved to be a masterstroke. The park was well laid out, allowing the crowds to circulate in comfort and ease, while the change of location to Hove gave the March a much higher profile than previous years, bringing the traffic on Brighton seafront to a complete standstill. The total donation of £7,752, included money raised at BBW quiz nights at the Camelford Arms; special party nights staged at Subline during the last year; £1,500 donated by Subline from their events during BBW in June; personal donations of £300 and a £100 donation from the Camelford Arms. All poster designs were donated by James Brookes PR. RECORD CROWDS ATTEND TRANS PRIDE 2016 ) Record numbers of visitors flocked to Brighton & Hove on Saturday, July 23 to support Trans Pride, raise awareness of gender diversity and promote equality. The third Trans Pride March (the fourth Trans Pride event) set off from the Marlborough Pub in Princes Street. People from all over the UK attended bringing roads around the Old Steine to a standstill. The Mayor of Brighton & Hove, Cllr Pete West, marched at the front of the parade with his son as his escort. More than 2,500 people joined the March which was very well organised and noisy. Trans folk and their allies, statutory and LGBT+ organisations, unions and members of the local Green Party, including Cllr Phelim Mac Cafferty, the convener of the Green group of councillors on the city council, marched together in solidarity, reinforcing the growing confidence trans people have gained not only in the city, but also in Sussex and across the country. Since its inception in 2013, Trans Pride has grown organically each year and its move to
The main stage was hosted by Romario and Emma Frankland who kept the proceedings moving nicely along. Between speeches from members of the Trans Pride committee and guest speakers, entertainment was provided by Taylor Lucas, Ren, Nona Wyld, Alice Denny, Screaming Toenail, Connor Byrne, Chemtrails and headliners Mr Squid. The community stall area was fully subscribed with a range of local and national trans groups represented along with LGBT charities and service providers. Sussex Police, Brighton & Hove City Council, the Sussex Police & Crime Commissioner’s office and other agencies offering support to the trans communities in the city were also present and the area was packed all day long. After a sunny early morning, a sea mist came down, but rain held off and all in all the weather was perfect for the many families with children who were enjoying picnics in the gardens. Mostly importantly, the atmosphere of the event was spot on. Music wasn’t too loud, speeches could be heard easily, all the community stalls were busy and the grass was covered with friends, allies and families chatting and really enjoying themselves. It created a lovely atmosphere. Each successive year, Trans Pride matures, highlighting the size of the trans communities in Brighton & Hove and beyond. Well done to the volunteers, the Trans Pride committee and everyone involved in organising an event the city can be proud of. Here’s to next year!
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.email@example.com
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com webchat www.switchboard.org.uk/helpline www.switchboard.org.uk/brighton
l Brighton OneBodyOneFaith Formerly The Gay Christian Movement. Contact: Nigel Nash firstname.lastname@example.org. 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
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 email@example.com. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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 email@example.com
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com, 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 firstname.lastname@example.org • 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 1:302:30pm. 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 email@example.com
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
New public art piece celebrates diversity in Birmingham
Fatt Butcher raises money for asylum seekers with new single
) Birmingham’s diversity is showcased in a new monument unveiled in Victoria Square last month. The large metal sculpture, entitled Forward Together, was created by artist Luke Perry along with a team of friends – Raaj Shamji, Nats Perry, Haldin Wright and Pauline Bailey.
The artwork was inspired by the city’s motto, Forward, and is a reimagining of Birmingham’s crest being raised by a line of 25 silhouetted figures who represent local people. “The artist and his team were determined to use real people as models to represent the city in this artwork – and in doing so retain the integrity and soul of the message that together we are stronger,” said a press release from Birmingham City Council. Raaj Shamji explained that the monument features “real people who are not usually celebrated… These are everyday heroes who have their own personal, extraordinary stories”. Among the listed cast is local drag artist and performer (now based in Manchester) Cheddar Gorgeous, who is portrayed at the very front of the line. Cheddar said: “[It] was such an honour to be included in this monument to diversity ideals in Birmingham by my friend Luke Perry.”
Mama Mamba, and many more of the city’s finest. The video was free to watch on BIDF TV for several days and the single itself was released on Bandcamp.
) Creative prouder and theatre maker Adam Carver – aka Fatt Butcher – premiered their single Anywhere is a Dance Floor with a music video as part of the Birmingham International Dance Festival, produced by DanceXChange.
Birmingham Pride awards grants to LGBTQ+ community groups Asylum Seekers, BLGBT volunteering group, Pink Sou’westers, Shout Festival, Boot Women, Positive Peers, Rainbow Pooch Pride, Out Central Youth Group and Rainbow Voices.
“The 13-metre long installation was built over 14 days by Luke’s team, who also represent the region’s diversity.”
Luke Perry said: “In recent years, there seems to be a growing mood of opposition in the world: we all are encouraged to find our tribe, pick a corner and cram ourselves into a pigeonhole.
“Forward Together is a view of an alternative world, yet one that exists and is working if we choose to see it. We can all pull together to raise our society out of the shade. “It was the greatest honour to be able to work with friends to create this piece and to celebrate people who do not have their share of credit. “I hope this artwork is a small part of the massive movement to unite, rather than divide, our communities: we just need to see our common loves rather than our exclusive differences.” The monument was created for a TV competition which is due to air in October and the installation will be displayed for at least 12 months; there is no news regarding what will happen to the artwork after that time.
The profits from sales were combined with collections at several of Fatt Butcher’s shows at The Nightingale, and they told us they have raised roughly £300.
The video, created by Adam and Jason Guest, featured dancers from Motion Dance Co, as well as many faces from the Birmingham drag scene, including; D For more info: Yshee Black, Black Peppa, Blu Romantic, Lacey Lou, Christian Gay, www.adamgcarver.com
“Luke’s background is in public art,” said the Birmingham Council press release, “representing those that are underrepresented, and his team created Forward Together to address the imbalance of representation in public monuments.
The crest at the front of the artwork features the quotes “No one is here without a struggle”, and “We all came here from somewhere”, from Benjamin Zephaniah’s poem We Refugees.
Carver made a commitment that during Pride Month, 100% of profits would go to support LGBTQ+ asylum seekers in Birmingham and the wider UK. All money received during June 2021 (after Bandcamp’s fees were removed) was to be split evenly between two causes – charity Rainbow Migration and Eric Scutaro, “a friend, artist, activist, and voguer currently based in Birmingham and applying for asylum to remain in the UK permanently and is crowdfunding to cover his legal fees”. More info: https:// uk.gofundme.com/f/eric-scutaro
) Birmingham Pride shared photos of several LGBTQ+ community groups which operate in the city on social media, celebrating the receipt of grants from £700 to £1,250. Among the beneficiaries were Brum Bi Group, Birmingham LGBT Centre, Integreat Theatre, Birmingham Gay Symphony Orchestra, Journey LGBT
Birmingham Pride gave a “Special thanks to Steve Ball, Rimon, Hannah and Charlie for facilitating the donations and the awards,” adding that it was “a huge privilege and pleasure to award a number of Birmingham Pride grants to some amazing LGBTQ+ community and support groups from Birmingham and the wider West Midlands at our presentation event held at the Loft Birmingham”.
West Midlands Trains wins award for commitment to diversity & inclusion. ) West Midlands Trains (WMT) was this award is important recognition that named Most Improved Organisation equality, diversity and inclusion are at the at the 2021 FREDIE (Fairness, Respect, heart of our business.” Equality, Diversity, Inclusion and Engagement) Awards, which are run by the National Centre for Diversity. Jo MacPhail, HR director at WMT, said: “It's our priority for employees to feel safe, respected and welcome and
NIGHTINGALE BIRMINGHAM UNVEILS NEW COLLECTION OF MURALS While closed due to the ongoing pandemic, the Nightingale Club in Birmingham took the opportunity to redecorate the space and invited several local LGBTQ+ artists into the space to create murals and artwork ready for the re-opening
Birmingham Rep releases update on its involvement in Nightingale Courts which, up until this decision, has always been viewed by them as both welcoming and inclusive.” The statement explained that SHOUT would no longer be partnering with the Birmingham Rep on future collaborations, including their 2021 festival. However, they remain open to working with them again “but only after they make serious and substantial progress to reconnect with those members of our shared audiences who feel badly let down by their decision.” In its own update on the matter, the Rep stated: “Over the past few months, the impact of this [decision] has been greater than we could have imagined, and we accept that some people have been hurt by our decision, for which we are sorry. “Over the past six months we’ve spent time listening to our staff, artists, audiences and stakeholders. Thank you to all who have shared their thoughts and feelings with us; we welcome and respect all views, including those who have disagreed with our decision. ) In December 2020, the Birmingham Repertory Theatre made the decision to accept a contract from the Ministry of Justice for the venue to become a temporary Nightingale Court until June 2021, which it was hoped would secure the future of the theatre during the Covid-19 pandemic. A Nightingale Court is a temporary court in England and Wales established to deal with the backlog of legal cases brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic. The move by Birmingham Rep was not well received, with press reports highlighting that the move had “alienated staff, audiences and cultural workforce”, leading to criticism from prominent figures.
creating issues and a lack of trust in a system which often falls short in its treatment of everybody in a fair and consistent manner. “SHOUT Festival recognises the devastating impact the pandemic has had on the cultural sectors and our communities and know that leaders across all organisations are having to make difficult decisions in order to survive and be there for future audiences to enjoy and benefit from.
Following its decision, SHOUT Festival, Birmingham’s annual festival of queer art and culture, released its own statement highlighting concerns regarding this decision.
“However, SHOUT Festival and its parent organisation Birmingham LGBT has, first and foremost, always advocated for a fair and just world which is free from discrimination and, right now, members of our community feel unsafe and unheard by a space they previously and proudly called their own and we wish to pledge our continued support to Black artists and communities most affected by this decision.”
The statement read: “Historically, LGBT+ people have been criminalised by the legal system just because of who we chose to love and who we are. Amongst our LGBT+ PoC communities we recognise that PoC are overrepresented in all areas of the criminal justice system with institutional racism and unconscious bias
After meeting with The Rep in the new year, SHOUT Festival released a follow-up statement, which said: “SHOUT and Birmingham Rep have been partners since SHOUT launched in 2009 and this has always been a partnership rooted in honesty with our audience considering the Birmingham Rep as a safe space
“Our ambition is for The Rep to be a theatre for everyone in this city and beyond. In order to achieve that ambition, we recognise that we need to take further steps to become a genuinely inclusive organisation where everyone feels represented, valued, safe and respected, whether artists, community, audiences, staff, stakeholders or partners.” The Rep recognises that in order to meet this aim, deeper changes are needed to ensure that the theatre is “inclusive and representative of the hugely diverse city that we serve”. It is fully committed to a journey of culture change moving forward; it has already begun by inviting people in for conversations. “Our policies, procedures and practices have to change so that we can better understand and reflect our community’s wishes and needs. The Rep’s community work over many years, including during Covid, is a solid foundation for us to build upon. “We know it will take some time to embed structural change and win back trust where it has been lost, but we are committed to the ongoing journey and will dedicate time and resources to it as we move forwards. We are also committed to sharing progress and listening to feedback along the way so that we can be sure we are achieving what we set out to do. “The Rep belongs to Birmingham and we want the city to shape its theatre. We welcome the involvement of as many of our stakeholders as possible in our journey: audiences, participants, staff, artists, partners and communities.” To join a session and find out more about The Rep’s plan of action for the year or to share your comments, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org. Any freelancer will be reimbursed for their time.
WHY A PRIDE FESTIVAL? By Shea Coffey from Medway Pride Radio ) The questions I hear most often at this
time of year are: “Do we really need another Pride?”, or, my favourite: “When is Straight Pride?” I’ll try to explain, so please bear with me. Looking it up in the dictionary, pride is: • A feeling of deep pleasure or satisfaction derived from one’s own achievements, the achievements of those with whom one is closely associated, or from qualities or possessions that are widely admired. • Consciousness of one’s own dignity. • Confidence and self-respect as expressed by members of a group, typically one that has been socially marginalised, on the basis of their shared identity, culture, and experience. • The best state of something; the prime. Last night I walked into The Ship Inn (which is our local LGBTQ+ pub) by myself. It was the first time I had entered a pub alone in 16 years. I bought a drink, had a laugh with the bartender (he’s a keeper!), sat in the beer garden and relaxed in the evening sun. So why the 16-year break? Well I’m trans and last night I was dressed as me, nothing riotous (except the heels!). The Ship Inn is a safe space, and, just by being there, I expressed all four of the dictionary definitions. I can’t walk into a pub alone in ‘boy mode’. I just can’t, I think everyone is staring at me and I don’t feel safe. Yes, I know how this sounds but it is true. Having a space in which you can just be, like The Ship Inn, allows you to feel a sense of being, and that fosters a sense of pride. If I was ‘straight, cis etc’, that would be almost any pub, almost any festival, almost any parade… you start to get the idea. So, it’s not really too much to suggest a Pride season, is it? But here is the thing, as I sat in the beer garden, I watched straight boys chatting up straight girls, people of unknown sexuality, gender, social orientation, they were all just being themselves, and while a couple were being way too much themselves by 11pm, it was relaxed and fun. Everyone was welcome. Not all pubs are like this, not all events include all the community… So Straight Pride happens every damn day, and, hell yes, we need Prides. With the attacks that our community are currently facing, I’m going to suggest we need them now more than any time in the last quarter of a century. So please, follow any advice you are given if you are attending a Pride, keep safe and enjoy Pride season. And one more thing, it’s never just
the LGBTQ+ community that has been disrespected, marginalised, treated differently based on an inherent characteristic. There are many people who find themselves feeling like that, and as the straight boys and girls found out, my local is a welcoming place where you are automatically considered an ally... Just like Pride.
Gravesham & Medway Prides Last year was to have been the first year for Gravesham Pride and Medway Pride – hey last year was to be a lot of first Prides. 2020 will be remembered as the year normal life stopped due to the Covid-19 pandemic. It will also be remembered by the LGBTQ+ community as a year that Pride, like so many other things, had to go virtual. The street parades and parties may have been cancelled or postponed, but the community was as creative as ever in replacing the physical events with virtual ones. Medway joined Gravesend in producing an eight-day virtual Pride event, which was probably one of the longest Pride events of the year. Well this year we are back and this time it’s real world. First up is Gravesham Pride, to be held on August 14 at Fort Gardens. The artist line-up includes Jayne Snow, Jeni Jaye, Kings of Dohl, Ronnie Stone, Vickie Vibe and Miss Dot Com. As well as live music, there will be community stalls, refreshments and a heap of goings on. It will be a colourful, fun-filled day for all the family. It starts at midday and runs till 7pm. Best of all, tickets are free at www.graveshampride.uk. A week later, on August 21 from midday, we have Medway Pride, which is being held off Rochester Riverside Walk, just off Doust Way (not at Rochester Castle as originally planned). With free tickets and acts including ABBA Chique, Gary Lucas, Amrick Channa, drag queens Chai Latte and Dr Beverley Ballcrusher, as well as a personal appearance by the gorgeous Kelly Wilde and the awardwinning gay Elvis tribute act Elberace, who will be performing at both Prides.
Again, there will be community stalls, including the liaison teams from Kent Police and Kent Fire and Rescue Services along with staff from Kent and Medway Community Health Care NHS Trust, who provide support for the community and can discuss the services they provide. Refreshments will be on site and, if organiser Hilary Cooke has her way, there will more than one or two surprises. Hilary was also keen to stress that this is a family-friendly event to celebrate diversity and support equality for all in the communities of Medway. Hilary said: “It is, in essence, a community cohesion event inviting everyone to come together, to break down barriers and develop understanding and acceptance of each other.” See www.medwaypride.co.uk for tickets. Tickets for both events are going very fast, numbers are limited due to Covid, so get in fast. And please... bring the good weather with you. In addition to both Prides, there will be a safe eight-day festival between Saturday, August 14 and Saturday, August 21 with lots of local businesses and organisations getting involved in events happening around the area. Keep an eye on Gravesham and Medway Prides’ socials for more details.