Fuse fm … Mural of two men kissing covered up … The LGBTQ+ cricket match making history

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Fuse fm

Fuse fm is an internet radio station based at Manchester University. A member of Out In The City, Pauline, was interviewed about male and female fashions and styles to create a show with an intergenerational connection.

Various topics were covered: self-expression; fast-fashion; second hand clothes; values behind clothes; and how clothes have changed over time.

Pauline (left)

The students involved are interviewing contributors in their 20s and people over 60, and the show is built around different interviews each week, intertwined with music, and will be streamed live on Friday 7 May from 1.00pm – 2.00pm on https://fusefm.co.uk/

Northern Quarter mural of two men kissing covered up in new development

A mural on the side of the Avro building by Urban Splash has been covered up by stairs (Image: Sam Naylor)

A huge mural in the Northern Quarter of two men kissing has been covered up by stairs.

The large artwork is painted on the side of the newly developed Avro building on Binns Place.

The picture, which depicts two men in an embrace, was painted in 2016 as part of the Cities of Hope Project by Faith47 and Lyall Sprong.

According to artist Faith47’s website, it ‘pays homage to human intimacy as well as asserting support for LGBT rights’.

The mural on the side of the old Brownsfield Mill has now been partly covered by stairs. (Image: Sam Naylor)

Urban Splash, who are developing the building – now named Avro – into 31 apartments, said the ‘only viable place’ to put the staircase was over the mural.

But Sam Naylor, who lives nearby, said in a tweet that he was ‘really, really disappointed’ that the mural had been covered up:

“@Urban_Splash really really disappointed that you have covered up the gorgeous mural on the side of #Avro by @_faith47 of two men kissing. It is part of a stunning series called #CitiesofHope highlighting social injustices. Why have you chosen to build stairs over it?”

An Urban Splash spokesperson said: “Avro is a building rich in Manchester heritage; be it the original fabric of the structure, its rich aviation history or more modern features such as this brilliant piece of artwork.

Urban Splash is proud to have been part of the commission of the artwork, supporting Cities of Hope, so we also have an affinity with it.

It’s imperative that we work hard to save great buildings like this, finding new purposes for them that suit the needs of modern residents.

That can however bring limitations, and in the case of Avro, the complex internal structure meant that this was the only viable place to add a staircase that would allow the building to be brought into use in any form.

Avro has a beautiful but tricky layout; the building is an L shape, with each wing of the building featuring unaligned floors.

That is one of the many reasons the staircase has had to be added in this way.

We have preserved the artwork whilst also adding the new staircase – an extension of our commitment inside where we’ve retained much of Avro’s original fabric. It’s an approach that’s been welcomed by residents who’ve recently moved into completed homes here.”

The LGBTQ+ cricket match making history

Graces were formed in April 1996 – originally as a supporters’ group – and played their first match in 1997

A piece of sporting history is set to be made in Birmingham on 23 May, when two LGBTQ+ cricket teams face each other for the first time.

London-based Graces will take to the field against Birmingham Unicorns for a 40-over game at Weoley Hill Oval.

The match – supported by the England and Wales Cricket Board – represents the first time two LGBTQ+ cricket teams will play each other: not just in the UK, but anywhere in the world.

‘You’re completely free to be you’

For more than two decades, Graces were the world’s only inclusive cricket club.

Founded in 1996, the team provides a space for LGBTQ+ people to enjoy the sport while not having to hide who they are.

Not everyone was supportive – in 2000, the club received national media attention after complaints from the “horrified” family of W G Grace about using his name without asking them.

The club themselves responded by saying they were “pioneering”, just as Grace was – and have continued to grow since then.

“It is an atmosphere where you’re completely free to be you,” says chairman Leo Skyner. “You have a passion for the sport, you have your identity, and it’s entirely non-judgemental and welcoming. It’s important that we’re playing good cricket, but equally, the social network and support is deeply important too.”

‘We’ve gone from just being an idea to having selection headaches’

Graces take their name from cricketing great W G Grace

Up until last year, Graces were the sport’s only LGBTQ+ team.

But then in Birmingham, at the height of the pandemic, cricket fan Lachlan Smith decided to form his own inclusive club – and Unicorns were born.

Smith says: “I’d played cricket for a number of years, and it just struck me one day: Why can’t there be an LGBT cricket team here in Birmingham?

I thought there had to be enough people to put 11 players on the park and suddenly, we’ve gone from just being an idea to having selection headaches.

That’s not really what I’d anticipated, but it’s a great position to be in.”

For Graces captain Manish Modi, the game against Unicorns is a significant moment.

Born into a cricket-mad family in India, Modi played at a semi-professional level where being open about his sexuality was not an option.

“I played cricket there while being in the closet,” he says.

“I couldn’t even speak to anyone, I couldn’t even come out. If you’d have said ‘I’m a gay man’, you’d never have got selected. You’d just have had to give up.”

It was only after moving to the UK and hearing about Graces that Modi felt able to reconcile his identities as a gay man and a cricket lover.

“Graces has supported me a lot, including when I came out to my father,” he says. “He’s my hero and has accepted me, and now I’m a proud gay man.

This is what we do at the club, supporting people. We are just there for you.”

‘I’m going to be really proud walking out that day’

Graces play in the Chess Valley Sunday League, which covers Hertfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Essex and Middlesex

It’s not just the players looking forward to the match – so too is Rob Evans, one of the umpires.

“I came out quite late in life, and always felt I had two parts of my life that would never mix together,” Evans says.

“I wasn’t aware of any LGBTQ+ cricket clubs I could get involved with until I heard about Graces. Then I heard about Unicorns and thought: ‘Wow, this is amazing.’

I get quite emotional thinking about this game, actually. We’ve got commemorative kit for the umpires, and I’m going to be really proud walking out there that day.”

‘I think things are changing for the better’

The match is getting plenty of support, including from the England and Wales Cricket Board.

“I was thrilled when I’d heard these teams had joined together to play each other,” says ECB communications manager Henry Cowen.

“We have the beginning of a community within cricket that can act as a home for people who maybe feel that a more traditional club that doesn’t have LGBTQ+ rights at its heart isn’t for them.

So what Unicorns and Graces are doing aligns with what the ECB is trying to do in making cricket a more inclusive sport for as many people as possible.”

There is a question, though, as to why it has taken so long for a game such as this to happen.

In rugby, tournaments such as the Union Cup and the Bingham Cup bring together inclusive clubs from right around the world. Across sport generally, events such as the Gay Games and EuroGames have been providing LGBTQ+ athletes with a space to compete for years.

So is cricket behind the times?

“I’m not really sure why it’s taken so long to create another club,” Smith says.

“It feels as if people maybe missed out on an opportunity when they were younger to grow into a sport that felt like it was their home – but I think that’s changing for the better.

The demand we’ve had demonstrates there is a thirst out there for the LGBTQ+ community to play cricket.”

Evans adds: “As an umpire, I want to help both these teams develop.

So please, let’s not wait another 25 years for a third club to come along.”

We’ve launched our lottery page … Reeling in the Queers: Five LGBT+ finds from the ’70s and ’80s

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We’ve launched our lottery page, and you can sign up to support Out In The City!

Click the ‘Play today’ button in the first section to head to our find a cause page. Once there, you can search for Out In The City and go to our fundraising page.

From here, click ‘Buy tickets’ and follow the checkout process.

You can support every month via Direct Debit or debit card. We also offer one-off payment options of either 1, 3, 6 or 12 months.

Reeling in the Queers: Five LGBT+ finds from the ’70s and ’80s in the RTÉ archives

We uncover some golden footage from the early days of clubbing in Dublin to the creation of safe spaces for the transgender community.

With the advances we’ve made as a community in the last few years, the sheer bravery it took for LGBT+ people to proudly share who they were in decades gone by can sometimes be overlooked. In the first part of a new mini-series, we take a dip into the RTÉ archives to explore iconic moments of LGBT+ Irish history as seen on TV.

RTÉ Television is a department of Raidió Teilifís Éireann (RTÉ), the Republic of Ireland’s state controlled national broadcaster.

First, we’re reeling it back to 1975 in what was likely one of the earliest interviews with an openly gay person on Irish television.

Source: RTÉ Archives

In this episode of Last House, Chairman of the Irish Gay Rights Movement (IGRM), David Norris, talks to Áine O’Connor about the newly-founded IGRM and his experience growing up gay in Ireland. Speaking in the interview, David tells us:

“I was allowed to grow up, through my adolescence, believing that I was possibly the only homosexual in Ireland. Not knowing that there were indeed many thousands of other similarly isolated people here … I didn’t realise that I was part of a very large and isolated community in the country.”

The clip also features some inspiring words of advice from American gay rights activist, Dr Franklin E Kameny. “To the homosexuals in Ireland, I say: Remember, believe, deeply and firmly; Gay is good and it’s up to you to make gay in Ireland better.”

2. Gay Rights Gaining Ground, 1977

Source: RTÉ Archives

Here, in this clip from Tuesday Report, RTÉ explores the IGRM further as Cathal Shannon meets with some of its members to discuss how views surrounding sexual orientation in Ireland are changing. There’s also some fantastic footage of a gay disco, the Phoenix Club, held in Dublin with everyone decked out in the hottest ’70s fashion (flares and all).

Closing the report, Cathal states: “So, unless society changes, the homosexual will always be the outsider. The man or woman out of step. Their attributes will be ignored. Their sexuality condemned. So really it’s not a matter for lawyers, for doctors, for clergymen alone but for all humanity.”

We’d like to point out that the information in this feature by RTÉ may be inaccurate. The setting of the disco was not at the Hirschfeld Centre in 1977 since the Hirschfeld opened in 1979.

3. Homosexual Theatre, 1978

Source: RTÉ Archives

British theatre group, Gay Sweatshop Company, arrived to Trinity College Dublin in 1978 for a week-long run of the play, As Time Goes By.

According to their manifesto, the aim of the group was “to increase the general awareness of the oppression of sexuality, both gay and straight, the impact it has on people’s lives and the society that reinforces it.”

Here, Bruce Howard Bayley plays Magnus Hirschfeld (the same man who inspired the name of the Hirschfeld Centre) in an excerpt from the play in which he plays on the definitions of ‘queer’ and ‘normal’ as they were in the late ’70s.

4. Freedom to be Yourself, 1980

Source: RTÉ Archives

Áine O’Connor meets transgender woman, Claire, and “cross-dresser”, Isabel for this episode of Summerhouse. Together, they discuss gender identity, family life and the value of socialising with others who also identify as trans.

Claire is one of the founders of a social club for transgender people and their partners where approximately 20 members would attend every week. The club also provided a counselling service. On average they received over 500 phone calls a year and 400 people attended the club annually.

Isabel tells Áine how to her, “cross-dressing” has no impact on her masculinity and for many people it simply fulfils a need.

Some of the terminology surrounding transgender identity used in this report is dated. It’s also certainly worth noting that these interviews were recorded at a time when terms like genderqueer and non-binary were unknown to the community at the time.

5. Hirschfeld Centre Home Of Gay Liberation, 1981

Source: RTÉ Archives

It’s 1981 and Ireland’s Eye takes a trip to the Hirschfeld Centre in Dublin, Ireland’s first dedicated LGBT+ space, to find out about life as a gay person in Ireland.

Having opened in 1979, it provided a safe space for the community to come together at a time when LGBT identity was not widely discussed and homosexual activity was still illegal. Hirschfeld was decked out with a café, a small cinema and even its own disco, named Flikkers.

It was also here that the National Gay Federation (NGF) was established. Many of its members are featured in this clip, including one man who explains why a space like Hirschfeld is so important for the community:

“It’s possible for gay people to come in and relate to themselves. Discover their own personalities, discover their own sexuality and then go back out into the world that bit more confident … this raises their own profile and encourages other people to do likewise.”

(Thanks to Gay Community News, Ireland for permission to reprint this article)

Urgent Amnesty International campaign … Love in an old climate

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Melike and Özgür

Urgent Amnesty International campaign

Melike and Özgür are Turkish students committed to defending LGBTI+ rights.

When their university banned the Pride march on their campus, Melike and Özgür organised a Pride sit-in instead. Along with 16 other students and one academic, they were arrested.

Their trial is due to take place on 30 April 2021. If they are charged, they could face three years in prison.

Celebrating Pride is not a crime. 

As prominent members of the LGBTI+ Solidarity Group at Middle East Technical University (METU) in Ankara, Melike and Özgür organised numerous marches and events. 

The group had organised an annual Pride march on campus since 2011. But in 2019, the university’s management told students it could not go ahead. In protest at this decision, they staged a Pride sit-in to demonstrate peacefully and celebrate with their rainbow flags and chants. 

Before they had even gathered on the lawn, the university had called the police who used excessive force, including tear gas, against them.

The students were simply exercising their right to peaceful protest. Ahead of their imminent trial, please help us demand the charges against them are dropped.

We can’t let hate win. Police and state violence against LGBTI+ people in Turkey is the real crime here. It has to stop now.

Say NO to hate. Say NO to homophobia. Say NO to transphobia. Take action now for Melike and Özgür and their friends. Sign the petition here.

Love in an old climate: posters celebrate the joy of sex in later life

Mark and Andrew, two of the poster stars, said: “It was a privilege to be photographed by Rankin.” Photograph: Rankin / Relate

It is intended to start a conversation, but a new campaign on the joys of sex and intimacy in later life may also stop the traffic.

Five naked, or nearly naked, couples and a woman have been photographed by Rankin, and his images are accompanied by words that challenge stereotypes of sexual desire and activity in later years. The posters will be displayed on billboards across the country.

The campaign, Let’s Talk the Joy of Later Life Sex, comes from the relationships charity Relate and aims to “tackle the stigma around this unspoken subject”.

One poster shows a man kissing his partner’s neck, with the words: “Over the hill. And the table. And the sofa.” Another features a woman who has had a double mastectomy, with her partner, and the words: “The years are going up, but you’re still going down.”

Margaret, photographed for Relate’s Let’s Talk the Joy of Later Life Sex campaign. Photograph: Rankin / Relate

An image of two men intimately embracing is captioned: “Some men discover they love golf. Some men discover they love men.”

A woman clutching her face in pleasure is accompanied by the words: “You’re never too old to play with toys.”

Rankin, a globally renowned portrait and fashion photographer, said the campaign set out to break convention. “The simple fact is, we all need intimacy now more than ever – and age really is just a number. The greatness of love and affection – the very things we can’t stop writing books, films and pop songs about – doesn’t need to change as we find our later years.”

Ammanda Major, a psychosexual therapist with Relate, said the organisation was trying to “start or widen a conversation about sex in later life – a topic people often find difficult to talk about.”

Mark and Andrew: “The older you get, the better you get at it”

She said that some chose not to have a sex life, and some – who had lost partners or whose relationships had ended – found little opportunity for sex and intimacy.

“But many couples drift into a place where sex and intimacy are difficult, and they might need help with talking about it.”

Sex is often depicted in films and on television as a “very dynamic business” between young people, she added. “We’re trying to show that people in later life with wobbly bits can feel good about sex. We’re trying to normalise sex among older people.”

All those featuring in the campaign are “real” people, rather than models, and all were advised by an “intimacy coach”, who normally works with actors on film and television sets, to ensure that they felt comfortable before, during and after the shoot.

Andrew and Mark, who are in their 60s and have been together for almost 32 years, said that only they, Rankin and an assistant were present during the shoot, although there were up to 30 people at the studio.

“Initially I thought it could be a bit embarrassing but the intimacy coach talked to us about what we felt comfortable doing, and we had a follow-up session afterwards, looking through the images. We had a veto, but there were only two or three we didn’t want used, and that’s probably us being vain rather than concerns over nudity,” said Mark.

Andrew said he was generally a “little bit more reserved” than Mark, but “it was a wonderful experience – and a privilege to be photographed by Rankin”.

Family and friends had been “amazed but very supportive”, Mark said. “Younger nephews and nieces see us as an eccentric old couple anyway, and they think this is just another strange thing we’ve done. They’ll probably be taking their friends to see us on a billboard.”

He added: “There’s a stereotype that once you get past a certain age, all you want to do is sit in front of the TV with your pipe and slippers. We need to start talking about intimacy and sex between older people.

From our point of view, it’s doubly difficult to get round the stereotypes. The chances of seeing older people being intimate on your screen are very slim, but it’s almost non-existent for an older couple like us.” “This seemed to be a lovely way to demonstrate our love for each other,” said Mark.

Lesbian Day of Visibility … Lesbian & Bi Women’s Walking Group … Same sex parents … Lesbian Period Drama

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Lesbian Day of Visibility

Held on 26 April every year, Lesbian Day of Visibility showcases women loving women, providing a platform for lesbian role models to speak out on the issues facing female sexual minorities.

The origins of the day remain mysterious, but it has been running since 2008. Having initially started in the US, Lesbian Day of Visibility – thanks to the wonders of the worldwide web – is now celebrated internationally.

Aderonke Apata, human rights activist and founder of African Rainbow Family

Aderonke Apata said: “Lesbian Visibility Day means a lot to me. I see it as a day when we can celebrate who we are as people who don’t conform to the heteronormative narrative. 

At African Rainbow Family we celebrate Lesbian Visibility Day and continually use it to raise awareness about lesbians of colour, as well as for demanding a fair and humane asylum system for lesbians.

It is important that we are visible as lesbians in order to avoid our erasure. There are many lesbians around the world that live in fear of freely identifying [as gay]. In 36 Commonwealth countries, same-sex love is illegal.

The more we celebrate Lesbian Visibility Day and continue the conversation, the more we raise awareness about the fact that love is not illegal. We can encourage lesbians in the closet to ‘come out’ and demand their freedom.

This brings me back home to lesbian women that are seeking asylum in the UK and other countries. The treatment of lesbians seeking asylum in the UK by the Home Office is disgraceful and appalling … they don’t believe you can be a lesbian and have children, or have been married previously due to conforming to societal norms.”

Introducing Lesbian and Bi Women’s Walking Group

They are a walking and social group for lesbian and bisexual women. All walks will be offered on a volunteer basis in the North West, so if you have a walk you would like to offer, that would be great.

The walks can be easy or hard, and they will endeavour to cater for all abilities.

They may also offer social events, such as meals out etc, as the group evolves.

Join them to enjoy fun walks and good company.

The world is changing for same-sex parents

Until recently, same-sex couples in New York could only be recognised as equal parents after birth. But Arwa Mahdawi (a columnist for The Guardian) and her partner are the first to benefit from a new law.

‘Because of the pandemic, we had our court hearing virtually, meaning I officially became a mother on Microsoft Teams. Just like I’d always dreamed I would!’ Photograph: Ridofranz / posed by models / Getty / iStockphoto
Arwa Mahdawi (a columnist for The Guardian)

My unborn child doesn’t have a name yet, but she has already had her very first court hearing. On Monday, my partner, E, and I made (minor) history when we became the first couple in New York to be granted a pre-birth parentage order under a new suite of laws protecting same-sex families. Because of the pandemic, we had our court hearing virtually, meaning I officially became a mother on Microsoft Teams. Just like I’d always dreamed I would! You know how babies born on planes sometimes get free plane tickets for life? Well, I think I deserve at least a lifetime subscription to Microsoft Office.

You may be wondering what exactly a pre-birth parentage order is. The situation is this: E is giving birth in a few weeks to a baby we planned to have. After long discussions along the lines of “your womb or mine?”, we decided she would be the one to carry. We picked out a sperm donor together. We paid for the (very expensive) sperm and multiple rounds of artificial insemination together. We went to doctors’ appointments together. We brainstormed names – and have so far failed to decide on one – together. The baby may not be genetically mine but, in our hearts and minds, we are equal parents to She Who Has Yet to Be Named. In the eyes of the law, however, it’s more complicated. We can both be listed as parents on the birth certificate but, as the non-gestational mum, my rights aren’t 100% clear.

Until very recently, lesbian parents in New York had to go through a second parent adoption in order to secure more legal recognition for the non-birth mother. That’s a gruelling process: it can take a year and cost thousands in legal fees. It’s also incredibly invasive: you have to list everywhere you’ve lived in the past 28 years, provide fingerprints for a background check, have a home visit from a social worker and more. You also can’t start the adoption process until the baby is born, meaning you can be stuck in legal limbo if a medical emergency happens during childbirth. Extremely luckily for us, however, a new law came into effect in February 2021 streamlining this process. All you need to do now is get several documents notarised and appear before a judge; you can do all this before the baby is born – although it took about 57 phone calls to different people in the court system until we established this to be the case.

New York isn’t the only place to have recently brought its family law into the 21st century. Last month two women from Cork became the first same-sex couple in Ireland to be legally recognised as parents on their children’s birth certificates. Alas, not everyone has it so easy. The EU court of justice is deliberating over the case of a child born to Bulgarian and British lesbian mothers in Spain: the baby is at risk of being stateless because same-sex relationships are not legally recognised in Bulgaria and the child isn’t able to obtain British citizenship from the other mother. A Namibian court is also refusing to issue a gay man with emergency travel documents so that he can bring his daughters, born by surrogate in South Africa, back home. The hearing in which I was permitted parentage of my unborn kid lasted under 10 minutes, but was a very long time in the making. When I first came out, almost 20 years ago, the Netherlands was the only place in the world where same-sex marriage was legal. Now, I’m able to marry the person I love in our respective home countries of the UK and US – and have our child legally recognised as belonging to both of us. I don’t take any of that for granted. Love may make a family, but legal recognition makes having a family a hell of a lot easier.

Lesbian Period Drama parody is hilariously accurate

The latest skit from Saturday Night Live is a “film that isn’t afraid to ask: will these lesbians be lesbians together?”

What is it about lesbian period pieces that Hollywood loves so much? Is it the corsets, the forbidden yearning, the inevitable unhappy endings? Whatever it is, Saturday Night Live’s latest skit “Lesbian Period Drama” perfectly encapsulates the stereotypes of the subgenre. Starring Kate McKinnon, Carey Mulligan, and Heidi Gardener, the 3-minute clip accurately parodies the likes of Portrait of a Lady on Fire and Ammonite, in a manner that’s bound to make you burst out laughing.

The sketch aired on Saturday Night Live was hosted by Carey Mulligan, who stars in the piece as one of “two straight actresses who dare not to wear makeup”.

At the beginning of the teaser, Mulligan is brought to a doctor by her husband with his reason being that “She’s a bummer”. It is here where she is introduced to Heidi Gardener’s character, her “female companion” for prescribed grey-aired “long rocky walks”.

“Lesbian Period Drama” continues with the narrator describing it as, “another film that isn’t afraid to ask: will these lesbians be lesbians together?”, boasting “twelve lines of dialogue” within its “two and a half-hour run time”.

The piece also features “Academy award-winning glance choreography” and “Best supporting actress nominee: The Wind” – two tropes that viewers are all too familiar with. But this teaser would not be complete without the appearance of the “stone-cold ex” played by Kate McKinnon, a real-life lesbian. Who would have thought it possible?

Decorated with sad flirting, finger grazing, and portrait drawing, perhaps the most accurate feature of all is the “sex scene so graphic you’ll think, ‘Oh right, a man directed this’.” Despite having seen different versions of the same film many times before, there is no doubt that lesbians worldwide would still be queueing up to view and support this spectacle. While “Lesbian Period Drama” should be enjoyed as a comedy sketch, it also highlights the need for a more diverse range of plots, stories, and cast members within LGBT+ cinema.

This subgenre is often dominated by white straight actresses, and can still be influenced by the male gaze. Although many of the examples that we have today are loved and appreciated within the community, there is still room for improvements, and the Saturday Night Live skit highlights that in an engaging and hilarious way.

(Thanks to Gay Community News, Ireland for permission to reprint this article)

Fuse fm … Free Live Stream Performances with Bury Pride … Pride in Trafford – Festival 2021 … New book by Matt Cain

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Fuse fm

Fuse fm is an internet radio station based at Manchester University. A member of Out In The City, Don, was interviewed about campaigning and activism to create a show with an intergenerational connection. The students involved, as part of their course on Drama, are interviewing contributors in their 20s and people over 60.

The show is built around different interviews each week, intertwined with music, and will be streamed live on Friday 23 April from 1.00pm – 2.00pm on https://fusefm.co.uk/

Free Live Stream Performances with Bury Pride

Saturday, 24 April at 7.30pm

Greater Manchester LGBTQ+ Arts and Culture Network is proud to present the first performances from our Pride Stages Bursary artists – Cheddar Gorgeous and Jason Andrew Guest – this Saturday as part of a new series of FREE digital events from Bury Pride and The Met across this summer celebrating LGBTQ+ communities – until we can meet again.

Full details are below. To watch this weekend’s Pride Stages Double-Bill live stream please go to:

Cheddar Gorgeous:

Oh What a Lovely Lockdown

Drag artist, activist and academic Cheddar Gorgeous explores the experience and ‘blitz spirit’ of the pandemic in a new performance using spoken word, comedy and satire – drawing upon their experiences as an eccentric-attention-hungry artist navigating loneliness with delusions, a plucky attitude, and a tune or two!

Jason Andrew Guest:

Welcome to the Haus of Myztique

A showcase of QTIPOC Excellence from vocalist, dancer, choreographer and creative powerhouse Jason Andrew Guest, celebrating Black Queer artists, musicians, and icons through vocal house and high fashion. Expect Diva star quality and iconic fashion moments inspired by Diana Ross, Grace Jones, Ru Paul, Naomi Campbell, Tyra, Naomi Sims and more.

Pride in Trafford – Festival 2021

Monday 17 May – Saturday 22 May

Cheddar Gorgeous

The annual Pride in Trafford Festival ties in with the opening week at Waterside Arts (1 Waterside Plaza, Sale, Trafford M33 7ZF), and kicks off on Monday 17 May. 

After 421 days closed, come and join them for an exciting summer programme of live theatre, music, comedy, dance and events – both in and outside the venue.

In line with government guidelines, they have a number of Covid measures in place so you’ll be in safe hands when returning to the venue this summer.

The Pride in Trafford programme explores and celebrates identity and LGBTQ+ life with comedy, cabaret, storytelling, dance and theatre shows showcasing local and up and coming LGBTQ+ artists and performers. 

See the festival programme here.

New book from Matt Cain – The Secret Life of Albert Entwistle

Albert Entwistle was a postman. It was one of the few things everyone knew about him. It was one of the few things he was comfortable with people knowing.

64-year-old Albert Entwistle has been a postie in a quiet town in Northern England for all his life, living alone since the death of his mam 18 years ago. He keeps himself to himself. He always has. But he’s just learned he’ll be forced to retire at his next birthday. With no friends and nothing to look forward to, the lonely future he faces terrifies him. He realises it’s finally time to be honest about who he is. He must learn to ask for what he wants. And he must find the courage to look for George, the man that, many years ago, he lost – but has never forgotten . . .

Join Albert as he sets out to find the long-lost love of his life, and has an unforgettable and completely life-affirming adventure on the way . . .

This is a love story the likes of which you have never read before!

To pre-order from Queer Lit, follow this link – £13.49

Matt Cain

Review by Peter Johnson for Canal St Online:

The Secret Life of Albert Entwistle is a captivating novel that may have not made sense even twenty years ago. Set in the Lancashire I know, the story of Albert helps us to reflect on friendship, acceptance and the changes that have happened during that time.

Matt Cain has skilfully drawn our attention to the struggles and experiences LGBT individuals have faced in the past and today, but also how society has changed to embrace and celebrate diversity.

The story is totalling engaging and takes you on a journey where the characters and locations are vividly accurate. As the chapters unfold the story brings tears of joy, laughter and poignant reflections. 433 pages of sheer bliss! I read it in one sitting. I implore Matt Cain to write a sequel because Albert has so much more to say, he now lives in my head! It is a compelling tale of hope and discovery that many will identify with.