Pride House Birmingham announces promising calendar of events for Freedom for All festival
Commonwealth Games inclusion site set to welcome thousands of visitors from Friday July 22; campaigners Peter Tatchell and Dr Nas Mohamed, poet Jasmine Gardosi and the UK AIDS Memorial Quilt feature on a packed itinerary; program built around the theme ‘Celebrate, Educate, Participate’, with activities accompanying live screenings of the sporting action at Birmingham 2022
Visitors to Pride House Birmingham can expect to find an atmosphere of celebration, protest and cultural passions, say organizers of the Commonwealth Games Inclusion Project.
The hall located in the city’s Gay Village – a stone’s throw from the Smithfield site where beach volleyball and 3×3 basketball will be played – is preparing to open its doors and welcome the public from Friday July 22.
Announcing an initial itinerary of events around its theme “Celebrate, Educate, Participate”, Pride House aims to combine the thrill of watching live sport with activities that emphasize the importance of equality and the diversity.
The build-up to Birmingham 2022 will include a keynote address on the fight for human rights in the Commonwealth from veteran campaigner Peter Tatchell and the opening of a special exhibition which explains the past, present and future challenges facing citizens LGBTQ+ in member states of the association.
“The Commonwealth Games provide an unmissable opportunity to directly address the persistent discrimination of LGBTQ+ people across the Commonwealth,” says Tatchell.
“Since I spoke at Pride House Glasgow in 2014, there has been relatively little progress on LGBTQ+ rights in Member States. Sport is a powerful vehicle for addressing equality and celebrating diversity and I look forward to contributing to the Pride House program.
“Pride House is a safe, welcoming and supportive space for LGBT+ athletes, officials and spectators. It sends the message that we are here, that we are gay and that in the Commonwealth, we are everywhere. »
After a VIP reception, Friday night revelers will be among the first to experience the Pride House space above the Loft Bar & Kitchen on Bromsgrove Street, and there will also be film screenings and live match coverage at direct elimination from the UEFA Women’s Euro the week before the opening ceremony of the Games on July 28.
This must-see curtain-raiser will also air live at Pride House, albeit with a twist, as the venue’s resident drag queen provides an alternate commentary that’s sure to be acerbic but appreciable.
Fans who show up will be able to watch Birmingham 2022 on the big screen while enjoying refreshments in the venue bar and cafe; the latter is family-friendly and alcohol-free. Pride House volunteers will be on hand throughout the day to provide information and support to visitors.
Education-focused events will highlight topics such as trans inclusion in sport, homosexuality and Islam, as well as the experiences of LGBTQ+ asylum seekers. Activists including Matt Mahmood-Ogston of the Naz & Matt Foundation and the first publicly disclosed Qatari gay, Dr Nas Mohamed, will be among those contributing to these discussions.
Meanwhile, there will be a party feel to the ‘Participate’ programming strand, with fun fitness and wellness sessions on offer, as well as a Pride Paddle session hosted by British Canoeing which will chart a course through Birmingham’s canals.
Less physical exertion can be enjoyed in the on-site “Gayming Arena” – delivered in partnership with Gayming Magazine – which will also witness a two-day LGBTQ+ esports celebration on August 1-2.
Meanwhile, new skills can be learned at the quilt making workshop where participants will contribute new HIV awareness quilts to the Birmingham HIV/AIDS Memorial ‘Cover Up’ project; and there will be a mix of organized entertainment every night, with comedy, drag and club shows in store.
“We are delighted to bring such a varied program to Birmingham during the Games,” said co-host Neil Basterfield.
“There’s something for everyone, with a host of local talent and local experts plus space to relax, have a drink and watch live sporting action from all over the Midlands.”
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