James Barr … Ruth Ellis … Oldham Pride … International Drag Day


James Barr

James Barr is a Radio DJ, TV presenter, podcaster and comedian, best known for his award winning podcast, A Gay and a Non-Gay with Dan Hudson. The podcast has been called the “UK’s leading LGBTQ+ comedy podcast” by the media, and has had over two million listens. He also hosts The Breakfast Show on Hits Radio.

Barr is an openly gay man and advocate for the LGBT+ community. Since June 2019, Barr has been in a relationship with James Smailes. Now you know I’m not one to gossip, but the duo met whilst waiting for the London Underground following their respective attendance at a Spice Girls concert.

Six of us braved the Manchester heatwave and hopped on down to the Frog and Bucket Comedy Club. Conversation was impossible due to the loud 80’s music, so we ordered drinks and waited for James Barr to come out on stage.

People keep telling James he’s ‘too gay’. ‘Straight Jokes’ was his fabulous reply, with a final message to be true to yourself.

The crowd were definitely enthusiastic but there were mixed reactions from our little group. However, we enjoyed the evening out on the whole.

Ruth Ellis

Ruth Charlotte Ellis (23 July 1899 – 5 October 2000) was an African-American woman who became widely known as the oldest surviving open lesbian, and LGBT rights activist at the age of 101, her life being celebrated in Yvonne Welbon’s documentary film Living With Pride: Ruth C. Ellis @ 100.

Ellis came out as a lesbian around 1915 (with help from a psychology textbook), but claims to never have had to come out as her family was rather accepting. She graduated from Springfield High School in 1919, at a time when fewer than seven percent of African Americans graduated from secondary school. In the 1920s, she met the only woman she ever lived with, Ceciline “Babe” Franklin. They moved together to Detroit, Michigan, in 1937.

Her hobbies included dancing, bowling, painting, playing piano, and photography. Ellis and Franklin’s house was also known in the African American community as the “gay spot”. It was a central location for gay and lesbian parties, and also served as a refuge for African American gays and lesbians. She would continue to support those who needed books, food, or assistance with college tuition. Throughout her life, Ellis was an advocate of the rights of gays and lesbians, and of African Americans.

In 1999, on her 100th birthday, Ellis led San Francisco’s dyke march, where thousands of women sang “Happy Birthday” to her, at the first of many celebrations over that month. She would live to see her 101st birthday before quietly passing away in her sleep, but not before dedicating the Ruth Ellis Center in Detroit, a social services agency caring for homeless, runaway and at-risk LGBT youth.

Ellis’ life spanned three centuries, 101 years of change for black, LGBT people and women.

Oldham Pride

On 23 July from 12.30pm, as part of Oldham Pride, there is a parade from Parliament Square that ends at George Square, where attendees can enjoy live music and market stalls.

In the evening, there is also an after party and cabaret show at The George Tavern! The event is free to attend.

International Drag Day was celebrated on 16 July.

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