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Jan 152021
 

Text 'Lost Spaces' in a blue rectangle overlaying an inverted pink triangleWill Warren is the co-host of Track by Track, a podcast that reviews pop albums from the past – think Girls Aloud, Pet Shop Boys and Kylie Minogue. In this podcast from Lost Spaces, a queer podcast about lost gay venues, he recalls alcopops, pre-drinks, and all the alcohol you can drink for £20 at Flamingos, a bar in Bristol that billed itself as THE South West Gay superclub. Will recalls his time living near Old Market and also briefly mentions monthly club night Wonky in Frogmore Street.

Listen to Will Warren on Spotify, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts or Anchor.

Lost Spaces explores queer experiences as told through now-closed bars and clubs. Every episode singer/songwriter K Anderson interviews a different member of the community to find out about a venue from their past, the memories they created there and the people that they used to know.

Do you have memories of Flamingos?

Flamingos was in the building that is now the Old Market Assembly; previously it had been Winns nightclub. We want your stories about your nights out, photos (inside or out), dates they operated, the people who ran the clubs and regulars. Please leave comments on our pages about Winn’s or Flamingos.

Jan 142021
 

There is something I should get off my chest
I don’t know what it is yet but it is beautiful
Delicate as a paper bird, soul warming as hot soup
A baby’s laugh, the cats we share our lives with to bring us joy
I feel i should make a statement, place my mark
Look upon this unknown new world and turn it on its head
10 lines of text or so to change the world
This isn’t usual, yet it’s become habit, and it’s hard and it’s fearful
but it is so joyful to sit at home with tea and cats
Learn our neighbour’s little quirks, spend too much on food, less on clothes
Grow new routines around each other’s supporting pole

My cat stops to watch the children on the street, the postman calls, my wife mocks my many parcels
This is not a good life, and it is harder for others
But we have made it as soft as we can manage

J Carter-Syme

Jan 142021
 

In 1995
by Max Turner

 

In 1995 I fell in love with Wilfred Owen. I discovered him, loved him, and mourned his loss in the same week.

In 1995 the school’s Art Curriculum was to consist of two very different projects.

Pop Art.

And an art project tied into the History Curriculum where we were studying Germany from 1914 to 1939. The Great War, the abdication of Kaiser Wilhelm, the impact of the Spanish Civil War, the rise of the Weimer Republic and then the Nazi Party.

We were asked to take inspiration from Warhol and soup cans. From Owen, Sassoon, Brooke, Graves and of course Picasso’s Guernica.

In 1995, some of us were going through our goth phases as we looked for ways to exorcise our hopelessness. Those of us in need of an outlet as we watched our parents get worn down by government policy whilst we ate our free school dinners, jeered by the kids who could afford their food.

In 1995 I found a way to channel my self destructive thoughts and feelings into a creative passion.

In 1995 I spent weeks working clay with my hands. Sculpting Picasso’s screaming horse on a mound of dead bodies, set on a plinth that read the old lie “Dulce et decorum est, Pro patria mori.”

I held my breath when the teacher fired it in the kiln.

I painted it shades of green and brown. The colours of the Western Front. Dark red blood foaming from the horse’s mouth.

In 1995 I poured my soul into clay and felt every word written by a man long dead, whose photo I would gaze at with the wistful fancy of a closeted teen with a crush.

In 1995 my screaming horse earned a curious nod, and an acknowledgement that my skills with clay were not the best.

In 1995 I acknowledged that art was in the eye of the beholder, as I looked at a can of soup and women’s faces consisting of dots. I nodded and smiled and claimed to understand why it was art.

In 1995 I was in danger of losing the creative passion that my screaming horse had brought to life. I dallied and grew apathetic as the time to reveal our great pop art creations for grading drew closer.

In 1995 the ruin of my academic record was looming.

I pulled myself together and cut a piece of rectangular card a little larger than A4. I covered that card in papier mache, creating a curve – the effect of a flag waving in the wind. As time grew shorter I started to paint, only realising part way through that I had forgotten to cover the newspaper with white pulped paper to mask it.

In 1995, as the teacher’s assessments began I offered up my failed project. A half painted US flag, newspaper still visible under the thin paint and extending out past where the still drying colours ended. My teacher stood back and gazed upon it with a discerning eye and flicker of joy. I had captured something.

In 1995, thinking on my feet, I made up a bullshit tale for my teacher about how the flag represented the juxtaposition – a word I had not long learned and used to the fullest – of rich and poor America. How there was a lesson in the newspaper print visible beneath the red, white and blue. I was lauded, as was my “art”, such an insightful piece. Top marks.

In 1995 I learned a lesson that I’m still not fully finished with.

That screaming horse is somewhere in my parent’s attic and I think of it every time I forget what creative passion is.

I look back on it now, and I’m not even sure that it was 1995. It might have been 1996. But I guess that isn’t important.

24 Feb 2021 – The history of gender in sport

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Jan 102021
 

Women were barred from the original Olympic games, yet Rome had women gladiators.

Down the centuries, the question of who can partake in sport has always been controversial and not least for the LGBTQ+ community. In the 20th century, thanks to advances in medical science, the focus has switched over to definitions of womanhood.

The 1930s saw numerous controversies over women athletes, including Mark Weston from Plymouth who had competed in the Olympics as a woman but, after an unspecified procedure at Charing Cross Hospital, began to live as a man.

These early controversies primarily featured people with intersex traits, and this pattern has continued. More recently there have also been controversies over the participation of trans people in sport.

Our panel discussion will look at the LGBTQ+ history of gender segregation in sport, and what that means for intersex and trans athletes today.

The panel will be:

  • medical historian, Dr. Sonja Erikainen from the University of Edinburgh;
  • historian Professor Noah Riseman from the Catholic University of Melbourne;
  • football player Samantha Walker;
  • rugby player Verity Smith.

This event is morning to accommodate Professor Riseman joining us from Australia.

Wednesday 24th February 2021       11am to 12pm

How to take part

This online talk will be held over Zoom. The event is free but you need to register in advance.

Please book your place through the Bristol Museums website https://www.bristolmuseums.org.uk/m-shed/whats-on/lgbtq-history-month-the-history-of-gender-in-sport/.

Details of how to join the session will be in your registration email.

Face of smiling man aged about 30

Mark Weston is one of the five Icons for this year’s LGBT+ History Month.

Thanks to Bristol’s M Shed museum for facilitating this event and to M Shed’s Equality and Diversity programme sponsor: UWE Bristol.

Text "LGBT+ 2021 history month" inside the outline of a light bulbBristol museum and art gallery logoRed rectangle with text "University of the West of England"OutStories logo. Letters 'O' 'S', and 'B' in a speech bubble

16 Feb 2021 – author Nicola Griffith in conversation

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Jan 102021
 
Face of Nicola Griffith, a middle-age woman with penetrating eyes

Nicola Griffith

Hild' bookcover portraying ghost-like young woman in a forest
Saint Hilda of Whitby is a key figure in the history of Christianity in early Britain. Born into a royal family in Northumbria in 614 CE, Hilda entered the church and founded Whitby Abbey.

There she hosted the Synod of Whitby in which clergy from the British and Roman branches of the Christian Church met to debate the then disputed question of how to calculate the date of Easter.

In her historical novel, Hild, based on the early life of the saint, award-winning novelist Nicola Griffith chose to make her heroine bisexual.

In this event, Nicola will be in conversation with historian and OutStories Bristol co-chair Cheryl Morgan. They will talk about the research underpinning the novel, and how we understand ideas of sexuality and gender in the ancient and early-medieval world.

They will address the perils of assuming a linear progression of attitudes from the past to the present day — tolerance is not a purely 21st-century characteristic.

Nicola Griffith grew up in Yorkshire but now lives in Seattle with her wife and fellow writer, Kelley Eskridge. Griffith has a successful career in writing novels and memoir, and editing anthologies of original queer fiction. She has won multiple awards, including six from the Lambda Literary Foundation for books with LGBTQ+ themes.

Tuesday 16th February 2021,   7pm to 8pm

How to take part

This online talk will be held over Zoom. The event is free but you need to register in advance.

Please book your place through the Bristol Museums website: https://www.bristolmuseums.org.uk/m-shed/whats-on/lgbtq-history-month-nicola-griffith-in-conversation/

Details of how to join the session will be in your registration email.

Thanks to Bristol’s M Shed museum for facilitating this event and to M Shed’s Equality and Diversity programme sponsor: UWE Bristol.

Nicola Griffith’s blog: https://nicolagriffith.com/
Cheryl Morgan’s Mewsings: https://www.cheryl-morgan.com/

Text "LGBT+ 2021 history month" inside the outline of a light bulbBristol museum and art gallery logoRed rectangle with text "University of the West of England"OutStories logo. Letters 'O' 'S', and 'B' in a speech bubble

10 Feb 2021 – Michael Dillon – Trans pioneer

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Jan 102021
 

Side of man's face, perhaps in his mid 30s with beard and moustache and wearing a seaman's cap and shirt.Michael Dillon is one of the key figures in 20th century trans history.

Whilst other trans men had undergone surgeries before him, Dillon was one of the first people to use testosterone, and probably the very first to receive a penis through plastic surgery.

However, Dillon’s importance goes far beyond his medical transition. He also wrote a treatise on the medical treatment of trans people that was decades ahead of its time. Later on he became the first Western European to be ordained as a Buddhist monk.

Many of the key incidents in Dillon’s life happened while he was living in Bristol. It was not a happy time for him as World War II was raging, and gender transition is never easy.

In this talk Cheryl Morgan will look at Dillon’s life, and in particular bring to light some of the latest research on his time in Bristol.

Speaker: Cheryl Morgan, co-chair of Outstories Bristol.

Wednesday 10th February 2021    3pm to 4pm

How to take part

This online talk will be held over Zoom. The event is free but you need to register in advance.

Please book your place through the Bristol Museums website https://www.bristolmuseums.org.uk/m-shed/whats-on/lgbtq-history-month-michael-dillon-trans-pioneer/.

Details of how to join the session will be in your registration email.

Face of Dillon as a middle-age man

Michael Dillon is one of the five Icons for this year’s LGBT+ History Month.

Thanks to Bristol’s M Shed museum for facilitating this event and to M Shed’s Equality and Diversity programme sponsor: UWE Bristol.

Text "LGBT+ 2021 history month" inside the outline of a light bulbBristol museum and art gallery logoRed rectangle with text "University of the West of England"OutStories logo. Letters 'O' 'S', and 'B' in a speech bubble

4 Feb 2021 – Muslim views on queer relationships over time

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Jan 102021
 

Hidayah logo comprising rainbow coloured temple dome and minarets with text "Hidayah - gender, sexuality and Islam".According to LGBTQ+ charity Hidayah, research shows that Muslim views on sexual diversity became more conservative in the last century.

Today, the majority of the community does not accept same sex activity whether in the UK or abroad. Some Islamic states imprison gay people under morality laws, and some go as far as imposing the death penalty on them.

In this talk, we take this opportunity to reflect on queer Muslim art and poetry from the past. We will consider how queer Muslims have become increasingly visible. They are challenging views of hetero-normative attitudes in Muslim society today, giving positive examples of queer identities from their heritage.

Speaker: Osman is the outreach volunteer for Hidayah. This is a charity that provides support and welfare for LGBTQ+ Muslims. It provides education around the queer Muslim community to counter discrimination, prejudice and injustice.

Thursday 4th February 2021       6pm to 7pm

How to take part

This online talk will be held over Zoom. The event is free but you need to register in advance.

Please book your place through the Bristol Museums website https://www.bristolmuseums.org.uk/m-shed/whats-on/lgbtq-history-month-muslim-views-on-queer-relationships-over-time/.

Details of how to join the session will be in your registration email.

Thanks to Bristol’s M Shed museum for facilitating this event and to M Shed’s Equality and Diversity programme sponsor: UWE Bristol.

Text "LGBT+ 2021 history month" inside the outline of a light bulbBristol museum and art gallery logoRed rectangle with text "UWE Bristol"OutStories logo. Letters 'O' 'S', and 'B' in a speech bubble

Jan 012021
 
Street art on 18m wide black wall with slogans demanding better healthcare for trans people

Photo: CJ / Bristol 24/7

This mural was painted for the duration of October 2020 on a 18m long wall in Jamaica Street, Bristol. The wall is used by the People’s Republic of Stokes Croft community group as a continually changing canvas for street art.

The mural’s intention was to shine a light on the shocking state of healthcare for transgender and non-binary people.

CJ, the person behind the mural said “Everyone who helped to paint the mural has so much love for the National Health Service as an institution but feel that as a community we have been roundly disregarded for many years as the waiting lists have spiralled to the current appalling state”.

“The NHS aims for an 18 week wait for referrals, a sharp contrast the current five year wait for trans and non-binary people. After referral, patients will wait up to three years to begin hormonal treatment and up to five years for gender affirming surgeries. This is an overall wait of up to a decade for some trans people to receive the help they need.”

“These failures of the system are causing very real harm to a vulnerable population,” says CJ. “The letters along the bottom are months represent the five years that trans people have to wait for our first appointment”.

The rest of the piece is an attempt to explain a little about the realities of living as a transgender person in what can feel like a very hostile world.

With thanks to Bristol 24/7.

‘Everything Is Music’ project

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Nov 302020
 

Magazine cover with head and shoulders image of KylieWere you in the Bristol music scene in the 1970s to 1990s?

Jack Lettis is working on an exciting project called Everything Is Music that is being developed by the team behind Bristol based Crack Magazine. Everything Is Music will bring together the most important people and stories in Bristol’s musical cultural history through an interactive map that will launch in April next year. Audiences will go the relevant locations to find stories and music that link to that place, a musical and cultural historic digital treasure hunt! Of course it’s important to include Bristol’s incredible Queer scene history.

Jack wants to talk to people present in Bristol’s queer scene circa 1970-1995: artists/venue owners/promoters/punters/bar staff/entertainers/club workers to present their memories from historic queer moments in time such as the Moulin Rouge, the Scarlet Coat, the Oasis ClubClub Leo and Chantelle’s, to explain their story of the location and if at all possible provide any visual content (photos, flyers, video footage) and/or audio content (could be a favourite track from the club, or he would conduct an audio interview if willing). The user of the app would then experience and listen to that content at the location on their smartphone.

They are currently looking at placing over a 150 pins across the city in order to make the hunt as rich and varied as possible. These pins will form the jigsaw of Bristol’s musical history. This project is going to be a huge cultural event for the city and will be the first of its kind in the UK, we’re also hoping it will provide some much-needed musical adventure in the absence of live events.

If you can help, contact Jack at jack@jacklettis.com.

18 Nov 2020 – Inauguration of Michael Dillon LGBT+ lecture series

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Nov 102020
 

Side of man's face, perhaps in his mid 30s with beard and moustache and wearing a seaman's cap and shirt.The University of Oxford in partnership with Frontline AIDS is inaugurating a twice-yearly LGBT+ lecture series named after Michael Dillon, the world’s first person known to have successfully transitioned both hormonally and surgically from female to male.

Michael Dillon spent the war years in Bristol and it was here that he began his gender transition.

To mark the creation of this landmark lecture series, the University of Oxford will be hosting an online launch event titled LGBT Rights in a Time of Pandemic.

Wednesday 18th November 2020,   5:30pm to 7pm

A distinguished panel of guests will discuss the formation of The Michael Dillon LGBT+ Lectures, Michael Dillon’s life and legacy, and the status of LGBT+ rights in this time of pandemic. Guests will be:

  • Lord Smith of Finsbury (Chris Smith), the first openly gay male MP and Cabinet minister;
  • Justice Edwin Cameron, former Justice of the Constitutional Court of South Africa hailed by Nelson Mandela as “one of South Africa’s new heroes”;
  • Zing Tsjeng, executive editor of Vice UK, BBC Sounds host, and author of ‘The Forgotten Women’ book series;
  • C N Lester, classical singer, curator, and author of ‘trans like me’;
  • Jonathan Cooper OBE, human rights and international law barrister;
  • Juno Roche, writer and trans rights campaigner.

This live online event is free and open to everyone. Register on Eventbrite.

On registering you will receive a confirmation email with a link to the event.

6 Nov 2020 – LGBT+ History Month 2021 launch event

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Nov 012020
 

"LGBT+ 2021 history month' inside the outline of a light bulbThe theme of the 2021 LGBT+ History Month is ‘Body, Mind and Spirit’. The launch event is this Friday and will be streamed online in conjunction with the British Library.

Each year ‘Five Faces’ are chosen to represent the theme of LGBT+ History Month. To mark the 2021 launch, join this online event celebrating the lives of the five selected icons: Maya Angelou, Mark Ashton, Michael Dillon, Lily Parr and Mark Weston.

Michael Dillon was the world’s first person known to have successfully transitioned both hormonally and surgically from female to male. Michael spent the war years in Bristol and it was here that he began his transition. His story will be told by Cheryl Morgan, Co-Chair of OutStories Bristol.

The event is free and open to all. Book your place on the British Library website.

This is an online event. If you book you will be sent a link in advance giving access and will be able to watch at any time for 48 hours after the start time.

Friday 6th November 2020, 7:30pm to 8:30pm

Daryn Carter awarded an MBE

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Nov 012020
 
Young man with quiff of bright blue hair looks at a pencil portrait of himself

Daryn Carter, director of Pride Bristol, with his portrait by Malcolm Ashman

Director of Bristol Pride Daryn Carter was awarded a MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list for services to the LGBTQ+ community in Bristol.

As well as being a principal organiser of Bristol Pride, Daryn has campaigned tirelessly for equality in the LGBTQ+ community. He does lots of schools engagement work talking about being LGBTQ+, works with local businesses across the region to support diversity and inclusion and sits on a number of diversity advisory panels.

You can read more about Daryn on this UWE Bristol blog page.

Your group’s story wanted

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Oct 172020
 

An assortment of flyers and posters on a tableBristol Archives holds almost two million documents which record the history of the City of Bristol and the surrounding area from the 12th century to the present day. These include minutes, accounts, letters, diaries, maps, photographs and films created by many types of organisations and people.

They have an online catalogue of their collections. Click on ‘Browse Collections’ and you will see an LGBT collection.  Many local organisations have already donated records including Gay West, Freedom Youth and the University of the West of England LGBT+ Society.

Are you involved with a local group?  Bristol Archives want your records to preserve the diverse story of the city and its people. You can donate directly – contact them at archives@bristol.gov.uk. Alternatively give them to us and we will pass them on. Most of the LGBT Collection were collated by us. Click here to send a message to OutStories Bristol.

Oct 072020
 

It’s Black History Month and we’re starting with a home-grown contribution.

Performance artist and poet Travis Alabanza was born and grew up in Bristol and returns to talk to Sharifa Whitney James and writer and historian Edson Burton, co-founders of Kiki – Bristol’s first visible community for QTIPOC (Queer, Transgender and Intersex People of Colour).

Examining blackness and gender non-conformity in the context of growing up in Bristol, Travis discusses the importance of oppressed people archiving their own communities so that they are recorded in history in all their complexity.

Director, DOP: Shivani Hassard
Producer, Researcher: Joanna Boateng
gal-dem magazine

Aisha Sanyang-Meek wrote this interview with Travis for Rife Magazine, an online platform for Bristol’s young people.

10 Oct 2020 – 7th Annual John Addington Symonds lecture and AGM

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Sep 152020
 

The Seventh Annual John Addington Symonds Lecture and OutStories Bristol’s Annual General Meeting will be held on Saturday 10th October 2020, 2:30pm to 5pm. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic the event will be an online video conference via Zoom.

A muscular middle-aged man wearing a skimpy black tanktop tee shirt and pouting provocatively.

Dr Alan Greaves

The lecture, to be delivered by Dr Alan Greaves of the University of Liverpool, is on statue desecration which stretches as far back as Roman times and has been headline news this year.

Registering your intention to participate in the video conference is essential to receive the link to the Zoom conference. You can register on Eventbrite and you don’t need to print your ticket.

You will receive the link to the video conference by e-mail a couple of hours before the event starts.

We will pick up your e-mail address from your Eventbrite booking. Your e-mail address will not be used for any other purpose. However if you would like to join the OutStories Bristol e-mailing list, send a message by clicking here.

To join the conference, you will need Zoom enabled on your device. If you have not used Zoom before, you are advised to familiarise yourself with the system. We recommend you test the system with a friend to ensure that you know the settings to get video and sound.

The talk is an annual celebration of the life of John Addington Symonds (1840-1893), Bristol-based writer, art historian and pioneer of homosexual rights.

This event is held by OutStories Bristol in collaboration with the University of Bristol’s Institute of Greece, Rome, and the Classical Tradition (IGRCT). Our thanks to them for hosting this event.

Find out more about the IGRCT on their website; you can also find them on Facebook and Twitter.

UnivOfBristol_logo_colourOutStories Bristol logoAncient sculpted head on black background with text "Institute of Greece, Rome, and the Classical Tradition"
Sep 152020
 

Lockdown is a very weird time for all of us. My lockdown story begins a week or so before it started: I had recently lost my job, and I was searching – unsuccessfully – for a new one. Even then, the Crisis was beginning to creep up on us.

And then my grandmother Whatsapped me asking me to come and stay with her. She’d been having heart palpitations and feeling weak, and my parents thought that a strong young unemployed grandchild was the perfect candidate to lend her a hand. I’m a dutiful grandchild, so off I went with my laptop, some books and some clothes.

So far, so Little Red Riding Hood. She even has a Big Bad Wolf: his name is Gus. He likes to have balls thrown for him and play tug-o-war with frisbees. He’s more likely to lick my feet than gobble me up; in fact, Granny (whose eyes and ears and teeth are perfectly fine, thank you) has deemed him a complete traitorous creep who barely pays any attention to her except for food.

Then there’s the amusing matter of Mrs. Blackbird. Somehow she has decided to build a nest in Granny’s shed behind the greenhouse; in fact, she has several times flown straight past us to get to it. I was not previously aware that I live in a Disney movie, but apparently I talk to animals now. I’ve also caught myself saying hello to various butterflies, bees, and even the occasional frog that I find in the garden. Next thing you know I’ll be kissing one, and then where will we be? Any prince that emerges will have to contend with the fact that I’m probably not who he was expecting. He’d have to be attracted to men, for a start.

The thing is, I’m not a very good fit for this kind of semi-magical life. I’m not a delightful soprano princess, nor am I a sweet little Red Riding Hood. My name is Neil, although not many people know that about me (I’m transitioning from female to male very slowly indeed). I consider myself lower-middle-class, a man who’s becoming more of the soil and who’s really getting into this gardening stuff. More of a Samwise Gamgee type than a lord, really. Hobbit feet included.

Honestly? I don’t mind that so much. I don’t mind it at all. I’m getting more sun and exercise these days. And perhaps, when everyone in my life knows me as Neil, and when my body takes its rightful shape, I’ll be able to take up the mantle of a fairy tale hero more easily.

Assuming the Big Bad Wolf doesn’t get me first.

I think I’ll just throw him another frisbee…

Neil M

Sep 152020
 
Dale Wakefield, founder of Bristol Gay Switchboard

Dale Wakefield

OutStories have received the following message:

I am a Humanist Funeral Celebrant and will be leading the funeral of Dale (Billie) Wakefield next week. I know she started the Gay Switchboard from her Hill Street Totterdown home in !975, was a founder of Bristol Pride in 1977, and that her work is represented at M-Shed (which re-opens this week, and I hope to visit). She was clearly a legend! Is there anything you more you can tell me? I would of course check with her family, with whom I am working to create her ceremony.
Many thanks,
Chrissie Hackett

Please respond direct to Chrissie at chrissiehackett@gmail.com.

12 Sep 2020 – Bristol Virtual Pride Day

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Sep 112020
 

This year Bristol Pride are bringing an online celebration of our community. Pride Day will be streamed on Saturday 12th September from 11am to 1am, so get your flags ready, Pride outfits on and the snacks in!

For the most reliable feed, subscribe to their Youtube Channel and you’ll be able to cast the broadcast to your TV or simply watch on a laptop, tablet or your phone. It will also be streaming live via the Brispride Facebook page on the day.

Full details from https://bristolpride.co.uk/virtual-pride-day/

Sep 112020
 

Dale Wakefield, founder of Bristol Gay SwitchboardIt is with great sadness we learn that Dale Wakefield died in Bristol Royal Infirmary on Saturday 5th September 2020. Her family were at her side. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s she was a prominent figure in lesbian and women’s rights in Bristol.

Dale was born in Bristol in 1941, started her working life in insurance firms and subsequently worked as a teacher, a nurse and in later years in accounts. She married and had two children but the marriage broke up when the youngest was only months old. Dale went to London to work as a prison officer at Holloway women’s prison and it was there she first fell in love with a woman although no relationship ensued.

She returned to Bristol in the early 1970s and came out first on the gay scene. Soon she was active in the second-wave Women’s Movement and with Monica Sjöö and two others started the Gay Women’s Group and a collective that produced ‘Move’ magazine for about three years.

Attending a Gay Women’s Group meeting in Clifton, the constant phone calls received at the premises (from gay men and lesbians alike) alerted her to the enormous need for information and a friendly ear. Bristol Lesbian & Gay Switchboard was founded at Dale’s home in Hill Street, Totterdown on 1st February 1975, using her private phone line.

For over three years it ran from her house, with volunteers taking phone calls during the advertised hours and Dale answering at all other times, often during the night. In 1978 Switchboard moved to new premises at Bristol Gay Centre, however Dale remained involved until the early 1980s. She later helped organise Bristol Lesbian Line, and was active in Women’s Aid providing refuge provision for women fleeing domestic violence.

Dale remained a resolute advocate of women and men working together at a time when there was a lesbian-separatist trend within the movement in Bristol.  A believer in collective approaches to action, she was critical of the hierarchies that characterised orthodox and male-oriented ways of organising. Her quiet authority, clear focus and belief in the power of collective action made her one of the most significant figures in the story of LGBT rights in Bristol.

In the words of Tim Manning, a fellow founder of Bristol Gay Switchboard: “Because of her, lives were saved, closets opened, and she helped us change our world for the better”.

We send our thoughts to her son Shaun, daughter Teraza, and four grandchildren.

 

Dale in 2013 beside her portrait by Malcolm Ashman; now displayed in Bristol’s M Shed Museum. Copyright: Matt Seow.

Aug 282020
 

Text 'Lost Spaces' in a blue rectangle overlaying an inverted pink triangleJamie Jamal, the Bristol-based lead singer of electronic pick n mix duo This Human Condition remembers Bristol nightclub Just in this delightful and amusing podcast from Lost Spaces, a queer podcast about lost gay venues. He also talks about gay club music, growing up gay, coming out and ‘guncles’ (gay uncles).

Listen to Jamie on Spotify, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts or Anchor.

Lost Spaces explores queer experiences as told through now-closed bars and clubs. Every episode singer/songwriter K Anderson interviews a different member of the community to find out about a venue from their past, the memories they created there and the people that they used to know.