Dada Masilo

LGBTQ+ Notts: Preparing for Pride

5 June 19 words: Caroline Barry

Caroline Barry has been gallivanting around Nottingham for all the incredible gay and gay-adjacent events, and also has the lowdown on this year's pride...

I feel like I start each column with a giant sigh and “what a week.” But in fairness, it really was a month to remember.

I dared to leave Nottingham for a weekend away with herself in May. We packed our very best cans of gin and tonic before heading to Manchester to go see Jinx Monsoon, Ben De La Crème perform Drag Becomes Her. While the performance was fantastic, the evening was lovely with a side of sombre.

In 2019, I was reminded about the importance of safe spaces for LGBT+. After the performance, we headed to a bar to grab a drink. Clutching our sauvignons, we became the subject of much staring by a man at a table nearby. The staring became so much that I felt uncomfortable leaving my girlfriend while I went to the bathroom.

Upon my return, the man decided staring wasn’t enough. He walked over, pulling a chair away from a table before plonking himself down close to us. He began to pretend to be drunk, ill and slumped over – hoping that one of us would check he was ok, using that as an in to talk to us. We turned away from him feeling guarded and worried.

After a few minutes of this (while his embarrassed mates ignored him), he popped back up, seemingly fine, and returned to his table. We, on the other hand, felt watched and didn’t want any trouble. We quietly finished our drinks and got up to leave. He then demanded we tell him where we were going. We pushed past and left feeling angry.

What to do in this situation? I’m angry I didn’t tell anyone. However, with two huge men on the door of the bar, what could we report? Staring and weird behaviour?

I cannot stress this enough: LBGT+ people are not here to be stared at. Lesbians are not here to be eye candy, window dressing or entertainment for drunken men. This is not, sadly, an isolated incident – we experienced this on a bus in Nottingham recently. This is why we need queer spaces.

But back to more fun matters quickly. I am delighted to announce that I’ve been involved in a fantastic project with a Leicester based bag brand, Zatchels. I have helped to design a collection of bags that will help to raise valuable funds for York Pride. As someone who grew up in a rural village in Ireland with no access to a pride – these prides are vital.

The bag collection features several of my favourite designs, from a classic satchel to boxy backpack. I’m already in love with the mini satchel for nights out. You can find the collection here. 

So what is coming up for June?

June looks set to be a mad one. I’m doing four days solo in Berlin this month to celebrate my *cough* 34th birthday, so will miss a few events here and there. However, there are plenty more to choose from. I’m delighted to be heading to see Trinity the Tuck at Glee Club this week – I love a good trip to Glee Club, as it not only allows me a seat for the entire evening but I get the added joy of eating pizza the whole way through an event. What’s not to like? I’m keen to see what Trinity can tuck (sorry) into her performance, as she deserved her win on All Stars 4.

 June also sees the launch of the Desire, Love and Identity book that has been developed in conjunction with the exhibition at National Justice Museum. The launch takes place on Wednesday 12 June.

Nottingham has been a great source of LGBT+ literary events recently, which has been amazing. As a writer myself, I find that a lot of writing spaces feel quite scary, especially if you are a queer writer. So the workshops, events and talks have been a very welcome addition to the Nottingham scene.

It does feel a bit strange however that this month is ‘pride month’ everywhere else – our pride won’t take place until July. So I’ve been making a mental (and paper) note of where to go. No doubt the parade will be a must again this year. My next column will cover all the upcoming events for pride but I’ve decided to give you fair warning with my listings below. Happy pride planning darlings!

JUNE

LGBTQ+ Literary Festival
Waterstones
Wednesday 5 June

Trinity the Tuck
Glee Club
Thursday 6 June

Trans Picnic
Nottingham Lakeside Gallery
Saturday 8 June

Shady Cow Present: Sacred Paws Live
Rough Trade
Saturday 8 June

Still Not Asking For It
Bodycraft Tattoo and Piercing
Sunday 9 June

Writing Proud Creative Workshops
Waterstones
Tuesday 11 June

Desire, Love and Identity Bok Launch
National Justice Museum
Wednesday 12 June

The Guilded Merkin
Glee Club
Sunday 16 June

Drag Bingo: Return of the Maz
Rough Trade
Tuesday 25 June

*I will be updating the Pride events as they are announced so please check back to make sure you don’t miss any! If you have an event, tweet me at @mizzpennydreadf

JULY

Writing Proud Creative Workshops
Waterstones
Tuesday 2 July

Writing Proud Creative Workshops
Waterstones
Wednesday 10 July

Drag Bingo
Rough Trade
Thursday 18 July

Reel Equality: Rafiki Screening
Rough Trade 
Friday 19 July

Prose Pride Masterclass
Waterstones
Monday 22 July

Film Pride Masterclass
Nottingham Writers Studio
Tuesday 23 July

But I’m a Cheerleader
Nottingham Contemporary
Wednesday 24 July

Lyric Pride Masterclass
Rough Trade
Wednesday 24 July

Write Pride: Poetry Masterclass
Non Such Studios
Thursday 25 July

Nottingham Queer Pride
Various venues
Friday 26 – Sunday 28 July

Happy Birthday Maesha! Film and Panel
Nottingham Contemporary
Friday 26 July

Alternative Pre-Party
Rough Trade
Friday 26 July

Nottingham Queerfest
Sneinton Market
Saturday 27 July

Nottingham Big Queer Picnic
The Arboretum
Saturday 27 July

The Underground: DirtyFilthySexy Alternative Afterparty
Nottingham Contemporary
Saturday 27 July