Why is London really getting more theatres?

Why is London really getting more theatres?

The new Troubadour in White City is designed to be taken down and rebuilt elsewhere if necessary Some will be permanent – others may survive for just a couple of years. Either way, London’s in the middle of a theatre construction boom. So why is it happening? And doesn’t London have enough theatres already?

People come from around the world to enjoy theatre in London. But there are other cities with far more theatre buildings.

The authoritative Theatres Trust reckons there are currently 263 theatres in London. It’s about the same number as Tokyo, whereas Paris has around 350. New York tops the list with well over 400.

Producers believe more tickets could be sold in London. But first they need more places to originate shows in and to transfer existing shows to. It’s hard (and very expensive) to rent a West End theatre to bring in a hit – whether from a non-commercial London theatre or from Manchester or Paris. Dino Fetscher and Daisy Boulton in Torch Song which is the Turbine’s opening play Partly that’s what lies behind the boom in London theatre construction.

But there’s another factor. Property developers with a commercial interest in London’s rapidly changing skyline find theatre useful. It attracts punters to areas being promoted as desirable new places to shop or eat or even buy a home.

Tristan Baker is co-founder of Troubadour Theatres which has opened two big new theatre spaces in London. One’s on part of the former BBC site at White City and the other’s at the old Fountain Studios in Wembley.

In both cases there are two auditoriums with up to 2000 seats. Each area is undergoing extensive redevelopment and eventually the theatres are planned to come down.

"But the buildings are 97% recyclable," Baker points out. "They’re built to a high spec and they have great facilities for professionals and for the public. But whether it’s after 18 months or five years we can move the building elsewhere. That’s what happened at King’s Cross where all this started."

Troubadour’s production arm Runaway staged live versions of The Railway Children at Waterloo Station and then at King’s Cross, including a full-size steam train. That led to building new theatres at King’s Cross for the David Bowie musical Lazarus, to house the Donmar’s Shakespeare productions and for the Lin-Manuel Miranda show In the Heights. An artist impression of how the Boulevard Theatre will be "It proved we could build large, comfortable theatres which are far more than pop-ups but probably aren’t going to be permanent. They cost less for producers to rent than a top West End venue.

"We were approached by the developers Quintain who asked if we could do something similar at their huge regeneration site at Wembley Park. And another mega-developer Stanhope had similar ideas for White City."

Baker says Troubadour now has its eye on other sites to build theatres. "I won’t say where but it’s not just a London thing. There are sites around the UK where developers see theatre as a real place-maker, boosting a place’s profile.

"Transport is always crucial: our two current sites in London have great links to rail and the Tube. But outside London there might be places where people would be happy to drive for half an hour or even more to get there.

"But what counts is content. In London most people don’t ask themselves what’s on at the Gielgud Theatre: they want to know where the good shows are. So what we say is build it and they will come." Other theatre openings announced for London include: New Nimax theatre near Tottenham Court Road station (expected to open 2021)

The former Ashcroft Theatre in Croydon reopens shortly as the Ashcroft Playhouse

An additional home for Sadlers Wells in Stratford, east London due to open in 2022

Nicholas Hytner, who opened the Bridge Theatre in 2017, plans another new theatre near Kings Cross

Just behind the Gielgud stands the formerly sleazy alleyway Walker’s Court, long home to the Raymond Revuebar. But Soho is changing and from October the new 165-seat Boulevard Theatre is set to continue the area’s progress up-market.

The same name was used in the 1970s and 80s for a theatre on nearly the same site. But Rachel Edwards, the new theatre’s artistic director, says the impressive new building will be hugely more ambitious both technically and artistically. It’s part of a major upgrade to the area costing some £40m.

The opening show is the London premiere of the musical Ghost Quartet. Edwards says she knew at once that the venue would be perfect for small-scale musicals – but she’s also looking forward to programming one off late-night gigs and comedy events. The theatre takes its name from the nearby former Battersea power station "I think when you open a new venue like this in the middle of Soho you’re dealing inevitably with a whole variety of audiences. We have a great new bar and a restaurant to tempt people in: I think increasingly people want the theatre building to be an event in itself."

Russell Potter of the architects Soda was commissioned to bring the new theatre to life. "There’s an architectural revolve which means the whole theatre floor can switch within minutes between seven different configurations. And the balcony also spins separately.

"That’s great for productions. But financially too you need to be able to use the theatre in different ways. Maybe it’s a conference in the morning then the main show in the evening and a cabaret event late-night. It’s not really something London has had in such a great location.

"Soho’s the most vibrant area London has and one of its strengths is it can surprise you. So one of our ambitions was that the Boulevard should do the same thing: when you come in you won’t know what the set-up will look like.

Edwards says some West End venues can offer a poor experience. "It can be about sitting in a slightly uncomfortable seat and paying £8 for a glass of warm Chardonnay. But I think as new venues open the ticket-buyers inevitably are going to expect more from their evening."

Paul Taylor-Mills has just opened the 200-seat Turbine Theatre, part of another huge new development in London on the old Battersea Power Station site. The area’s transformation is remarkable: there’s even a new pier to get visitors into central London by boat in 15 minutes. Eventually there’ll be a new extension of the Northern line too. The Ashcroft playhouse will be within the Fairfield Halls "We called it the Turbine partly because we’re by the old power station. But also as artistic director I want it to be a home for generating new ideas and for existing plays done in exciting new ways. We’re starting off reviving Harvey Fierstein’s gay classic Torch Song. We’ve got a great director in Drew McOnie and a cast which includes Matthew Needham and Dino Fetscher.’

Taylor-Mills was approached by developers to discuss a theatre operation suited to an area of up-market bars and restaurants. "It’s part of what a new quarter of London needs. Obviously they’re delighted to have an extra 200 customers each evening looking to eat and drink. And it gives us the chance to create an important venue from scratch in a location full of character.

"We’re being supported by one of the great West End producers, Bill Kenwright, and we’d love a West End transfer in our first year.

"Look at the role theatre played in the King’s Cross development, which I was involved with doing In the Heights. That was only 2015 and people were saying audiences wouldn’t go to this weird area behind a railway station. Now it’s buzzing every night.

"Around London, in the traditional theatre district and beyond, things are changing. Things like the Turbine are only the beginning."

Philosophers File Amicus Brief on LGBT Discrimination Cases

Philosophers File Amicus Brief on LGBT Discrimination Cases

This fall, the Supreme Court will be looking at a trio of cases concerning the protection Federal employment discrimination law provides to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender persons. An amicus curiae brief signed by 80 philosophers, in support of the employees in the cases, has just been filed. The amicus brief was co-authored by philosopher Robin Dembroff (Yale) and law professor Issa Kohler-Hausmann (Yale), and concerns the Supreme Court’s review of Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia , and Altitude Express, Inc. v. Zarda (both cases concern whether federal laws banning employment discrimination protect gay and lesbian employees), and R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes v. EEOC (on whether Title VII’s protections apply to transgender employees). Some background on these cases can be found here .

The following is the “summary of argument” section of the 50 page document:

1. The concept of “sex” is inextricably tied to the categories of same-sex attraction and gender nonconformity. Both categories are partially defined by sex and cannot logically be applied to any individual without reference to that individual’s sex. It is simply not possible to identify an individual as being attracted to the same sex without knowing or presuming that person’s sex. Likewise, it is not possible to identify someone as gender nonconforming (including being transgender) without reference to that person’s known or presumed sex and the associated social meanings. It follows that discrimination on the basis of same-sex attraction or gender nonconformity is inherently discrimination “because of sex.”

2. It is conceptually incorrect to state that discrimination against persons who are same-sex attracted or gender nonconforming is “sex-neutral.” If an employer decides to terminate an employee on the basis of same-sex sexual attraction (i.e., a particular sexual orientation) or gender nonconformity (e.g., being transgender), the employer must first presume the employee’s specific sex, and then account for the social meanings, expectations, and stereotypes specific to the employee’s particular presumed sex category. But for the concept of sex, the judgment that an employee violated one of the expectations and stereotypes specific to their sex would be impossible.

3. Title VII prohibits discrimination not simply based on the categories “man” and “woman,” but because of sex. The philosophical underpinnings of antidiscrimination laws represent a societal commitment to alter socially restrictive categories such that they no longer serve as the basis for denying equal treatment or limiting freedoms based on sex. To permit discrimination against individuals who fall into categories that are partially defined by sex would violate the fundamental rationale behind antidiscrimination laws. Moreover, it would require this Court to define “sex” in a way that is illogically constrained and harmful to groups that have historically been the targets of discrimination.

You can read the entire brief here . The oral arguments for the case will be heard on October 8th, 2019.

Kentucky Supreme Court hears religious freedom case over LGBT shirts

Kentucky Supreme Court hears religious freedom case over LGBT shirts

The Supreme Court chamber in the Kentucky State Capitol. Credit: Nagel Photography / Shutterstock The Kentucky Supreme Court heard oral arguments on Friday in the case of a Christian business owner who is facing punishment for declining to print shirts for a LGBT Pride festival because of his faith.

“The right to decide which ideas to express is core to human freedom. The Commission violated that freedom by ordering Blaine Adamson to print messages that violate his religious beliefs,” Jim Campbell, senior counsel with Alliance Defending Freedom who argued the case before the Kentucky Supreme Court, stated after oral arguments in the case on Friday.

Blaine Adamson, owner of the Lexington, Kentucky-based print shop Hands On Originals, was sued for declining to print T-shirts promoting a Lexington Pride festival in 2012. His business had been requested by the Gay and Lesbian Services Organization, but Adamson declined to print the shirts because he believed that to do so would violate his Christian faith. He did refer the group to other companies.

In 2014, the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Human Rights Commission ruled that Adamson violated an anti-discrimination ordinance, and ordered him to print the shirts and undergo diversity training.

Adamson challenged the decision and won in a Kentucky court in 2017; the case has since been appealed to the state supreme court, and oral arguments before the court were heard Aug. 23.

Speaking to reporters and supporters after oral arguments, Adamson said that “I will work with any person, no matter who they are, and no matter what their belief systems are. But when I’m presented with a message that conflicts with my faith, that’s just something I cannot print.”

“I don’t walk into my business every morning and leave my faith at the door,” he said. “For the last seven years, the government has tried to punish me for declining to print a message that went against my conscience.”

In oral arguments, Campbell emphasized to the court that Adamson’s company Hands On Originals “serves everyone,” but reserves the right not to print certain messages it deems inappropriate or that would otherwise conflict with Adamson’s Christian faith.

Campbell said that Adamson, in his initial conversation with representatives of the Gay and Lesbian Services Organization who were looking for a shirt promoting the Lexington Pride Festival, only declined to print the shirts after he asked and learned what would be printed on the shirt.

Campbell argued that this constituted a “substantial burden” on Adamson’s religious beliefs, as defined by the Supreme Court in Holt v. Hobbs .

The Commission required Mr. Adamson to violate his religious beliefs, and its mandate that he attend diversity training says that it’s “wrong” for him to operate his business according to his religious beliefs, Campbell argued.

Opposing Adamson, and representing the Commission, attorney Edward Dove said that Hands On Originals “practices censorship” according to Campbell’s admission.

“That’s why we have a public accommodation ordinance,” he said, to protect against people enduring discrimination as they seek to enjoy goods.

“They can do anything they want in the name of religion and censor any message they don’t like, which would affect the free speech argument in the country,” he said of Hands On.

Justice Michelle Keller asked Campbell how far the government could go to mandate that the shirts for the Pride festival be printed, asking if a disclaimer could be put on shirts saying the messages do not reflect the views of Hands On.

Adamson and other business owners have a constitutionally-protected “individual freedom of mind,” Campbell said, with an “individual dignity” to protect free expression.

VeggieTales Creator Says LGBT Representation in Cartoons is ‘Concerning’

VeggieTales Creator Says LGBT Representation in Cartoons is ‘Concerning’

Video screenshot Arthur cartoon slammed by Phil Vischer for its portrayal of gay marriage

A recent portrayal of gay marriage in the children’s show Arthur has led to VeggieTales ‘ co-creator Phil Vischer speaking against what he perceives as LGBT representation being forced into modern cartoons. Vischer, the co-creator of the Christian cartoon, lamented the state of today’s cartoons while discussing a recent episode of Arthur . In the episode, one of the titular character’s teachers is married to another man, something that Vischer says is “concerning.”

In an interview with The Christian Post , he said “It’s going to show up more and more as the world has decided that LGBT issues are in the same categories as race and civil rights issues. So, to say you shouldn’t have a same-sex couple on Sesame Street is the equivalent of saying you shouldn’t have a black couple on Sesame Street .”

While it’s possible to interpret his comments as being positive towards LGBT issues being viewed as civil rights issues, Vischer made it clear he did not agree with the sentiment that they were similar. He referred to the marriage as the “shot heard through the Christian parenting world” and said he found the whole thing “concerning” because the kids on Arthur didn’t question it.

Vischer is aware shows like VeggieTales are going to have to address LGBT issues at some point. However, Vischer’s statement didn’t provide many clues that it would be handled very well. He said: “If I get pressure from Hollywood to show two men getting married because we’ve all decided it’s right and correct, my pushback is: ‘No, I won’t. Because that’s not what I believe is best for kids.” apparently the Veggietales creator recently said he doesn’t want to show LGBT+ in the show. i mean i don’t agree with how he feels about LGBT+ but are you really that surprised that the creator of a Christian cartoon would say that? it’s not like he’s saying we’re bad people. — (^ó ᴥ ò^)

This week’s winners and losers in LGBT sports

This week’s winners and losers in LGBT sports

Each week, Outsports stops the clock for an instant reply of the week that was. It’s our way of memorializing the glorious victories, the ignominious defeats, and the players and personalities who made them, lived them or just couldn’t avoid them.

If you’d like to read more about each entry, just click the link!

We realize our roster may differ from yours, and we welcome your comments, contributions and critiques. We read them all! Details on how to reach us are below, after our look at the week’s winners and losers. Winners: Anya Battaglino and Madison Packer

Anya Battaglino and Madison Packer of the NWHL got married last weekend in Newport, Rhode Island, and we have the awesome photos. A Coors Field employee cited stadium policy against ‘not appropriate’ PDA when she spotted a lesbian couple ‘casually’ kissing. Their tweets got them an apology and free tickets. Winners: Alec Smith, Katie McCabe and Nathan Matthews

Loser: Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive pro s1mple called Twitch “a joke” in response to his one week suspension for using harassing and homophobic language. Winner: Straight couple who met playing gay flag football

We particularly enjoyed a story in The Washington Blade Sports Issue profiling the budding relationship between Amanda Livingstone and Jorge Membreño, two straight allies who fell in love through their participation in the D.C. Gay Flag Football League. Loser: Leah “GIlty” Hayes

The trans Street Fighter pro received a ‘global prohibition’ in response to allegations of sexual assault from multiple women dating back to 2015.

A record 70+ MiLB teams have hosted Pride Nights this season, and thanks to You Can Play, the Staten Island Yankees will play theirs wearing jerseys featuring rainbow pinstripes. Loser: The Maui high school volleyball coach who said a trans student athlete posed an “elevated level of risk” to other girls

A Hawaii high school girls volleyball team now has a transgender girl on its roster, and so far, her only obstacle appears to be one bigoted coach, who refused to give his name to the newspaper reporting on her debut last week. Winner: Out NASCAR team member Ryan Hines

Ryan Hines never thought he could be gay and work in NASCAR. He said reading Outsports helped him realize “I could be myself and still do what I love.” Losers: Everyone still speculating about Odell Beckham, Jr.

The circular speculation that Odell Beckham, Jr. of the Cleveland Browns is gay does no one any good and is, at this point, desperately unfair to OBJ. Winners (but not officially): Scotland’s non-binary and gender neutral runners

Letting non-binary and gender-neutral runners compete is a great start for Scotland’s Great Run, but organizers will not allow them to win prizes or claim official rankings. Losers: Radio listeners of Alex Reimer

A mainstay at WEEI for the last few years, Alex Reimer will now be walking the halls of the Massacusetts State House as we moves from radio to politics. Winners: SonicFox and LGBTQ charities

Dominique “SonicFox” McLean’s 48 to 72 hour Twitch stream, which started on August 23, will benefit at least three LGBTQ charities.

That’s all for this week! We’ll bring you a fresh list of winners and losers next Saturday. Got a name we missed, or want to challenge our choices? Comment here or on Facebook or Instagram, tweet at us , message us via any social media, or just plain email us at outsports@gmail.com Thanks!

State of Kentucky must pay $225,000 because county clerk Kim Davis refused to marry gay couples

State of Kentucky must pay $225,000 because county clerk Kim Davis refused to marry gay couples

Former Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis, who refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. (Ty Wright/Getty) An appeals court ruled yesterday (August 23) that the state of Kentucky must pay the $225,00 legal bills of the same-sex couples that Kim Davis, the anti-gay Kentucky county clerk, refused to issue marriage licences to.

Davis was jailed for several days for contempt of court by US District Judge David Bunning after refusing to issue marriage licences to same-sex couples in 2015, following the Supreme Court decision to legalise equal marriage across the country.

In 2017, Bunning ruled in favour of four couples – two same-sex couples and two opposite-sex couples – ordering that the state of Kentucky must reimburse them $225,000 for their legal fees.

Bunning also ruled that the state of Kentucky must pay the fees because he said that Davis was acting in her official capacity when she ignored court orders and refused to issue the marriage licences to the same-sex couples. Kentucky governor Matt Bevin said Kim Davis acted independently, despite supporting her views

In January this year, however, republican Kentucky governor Matt Bevin argued that Davis should be responsible for the fees , despite the fact that he had voiced support for her views.

Bevin’s lawyer said previously: “Davis had an independent and sworn duty to uphold the law as an elected county officer.”

According to USA Today , a three-judge panel for the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati upheld Bunning’s decision on Friday and maintained that the state must pay the fees.

The couples who were denied their marriage licenses were by represented The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which said that the decision would act as a warning to state officials in the future.

The ACLU told USA Today in a statement: “By affirming the sizeable fee award, the Court also sent a strong message to other government officials in Kentucky that it is not only unconstitutional to use public office to impose one’s personal religious views on others, but that it also can be a very expensive mistake.”

UK Home Office accused of persecuting LGBT Asylum seekers.

UK Home Office accused of persecuting LGBT Asylum seekers.

Photo by Jasmin Sessler from Pixabay Leanne Wood has accused the Home Office of persecuting LGBT people seeking asylum in the UK.

Speaking ahead of Pride Cymru this weekend, she said that asking LGBT asylum seekers to “prove their sexuality” was both “absurd and offensive” adding that the Home Office is dismissive of any evidence presented to them by those fleeing persecution because of their sexuality.

Earlier this week, Abderrahim El Habachi, a young gay man who fled from Morocco to Swansea two year ago in fear of his life, accused the UK Home Office of putting LGBT asylumn seekers “through hell”. In a separate case it was reported on Tuesday that an asylum seeker’s appeal was rejected because the judge did not think he was ‘effeminate’ enough to be gay and did not have a gay ‘demeanour’. Wood, Plaid Cymru’s shadow minister for social justice, added: “In many cases, the only “evidence” a person might have is their own testimony and to open up to a complete stranger who has your life in their hands about such personal details of your private life is both intimidating and difficult. Often, even if a person has written or physical evidence, the Home Office will dismiss or ignore whilst suspecting asylum seekers of lying about their sexuality.

Protest

“This is why Pride is still needed. It is a celebration but also a protest at the ongoing discrimination that LGBT people still face. Nobody should have to suffer the humiliation and persecution the Home Office currently subject LGBT asylum seekers to.

“Whilst the UK Government is deliberately chasing a hostile environment agenda, Wales can choose to do different. If we had power over asylum and immigration we could protect our asylum seekers and ensure that those fleeing from persecution because of their sexuality are not neither discriminated against nor deported back to a country that could kill them. Wales could become a true nation of sanctuary.”

We need to take Pride in the ‘hidden’ LGBT heritage and history of our nation

We need to take Pride in the 'hidden' LGBT heritage and history of our nation

Time & Again. Filmed in Cardiff and starring Dame Sian Phillips I watched a beautiful love story this week called Time & Again. Filmed in Cardiff and starring Dame Sian Phillips, it was just half an hour long.

But those 30 minutes attempted to make up for years and years of this kind of love being invisible on Welsh screens.

Not only did it show what women know to be perfectly normal but popular culture still recoils from – the fact that even when we’re old we feel passion – it portrayed emotional and physical love between two octogenarian women.

Its writer, producer and director Rachel Dax believes this is a first. I certainly can’t think of any other positive representation of an elderly lesbian relationship in film or television drama. Which, when you come to think of it, is a startling state of affairs in the 21st century.

And to get this story made Rachel had to do it without any backing from a studio or broadcaster. Shot in two and a half days on a miniscule budget which she scraped together herself, it is an astonishing achievement given those restrictions.

The involvement of Dame Sian – who also helped bring veteran actress Brigit Forsyth to the project – was transformative. Once the Welsh acting icon had seen Rachel’s script she immediately wanted to do the film. Dame Sian Phillips (Image: PA) The story was partly inspired by older gay people fearing prejudice in care homes. We see Dame Sian’s character Eleanor being reunited with Isabelle (Brigit Forsyth) who arrives in the same care home 60 years after their relationship was torn apart by family opposition.

Isabelle had complied with her parents’ wishes and entered a loveless marriage while Eleanor remained true to her sexuality, going on to live the life she wanted, but sacrificed her bond with her mother and father who never spoke to her again.

These brutal choices reflect the reality many lesbians of this generation would have faced, as Rachel told the BBC:

“I think the main thing is families would be ashamed,” she said.

“It was very much like forced marriage. They were told ‘if you don’t marry, we’re disowning you’. Lots of lesbians went to London.”

But Time & Again is anything but grim and, without too many spoiler alerts, an uplifting denouement awaits. Actress Brigit Forsyth (Image: PA) “It’s not all doom and gloom and shows in your old age you can heal,” Rachel explains, adding: “I think older women in general tend to be treated like they don’t have any sexuality. I think it is important for lesbian visibility. Not all, but a lot of LGBT films with older characters are more male-focused.”

Time & Again is being shown at Barry Pride on September 19th and will also have screenings at the Cardiff International Film Festival in October but it deserves a pan-Wales platform. Let’s hope BBC Wales, who hosted the screening in the build up to this weekend’s Pride Cymru event, can broadcast it.

If these kind of fictional stories deserve the biggest possible audience the same goes for Wales’ factual LGBT history which has remained in the shadows until very recently.

The first book exploring the experiences of notable Welsh lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people through the centuries was only published last year.

In the introduction to Forbidden Lives – LGBT Stories from Wales (Seren Books), author Norena Shopland outlines the challenges researching such a work presents. After all, the mainstream historical narrative we have all grown up with in Wales is resolutely male, heterosexual and British.

So Norena’s mission was to “read between the lines” to uncover hidden lives, as she explains: “Once outside the famous names such as Ivor Novello, the Ladies of Llangollen and more modern people such as Sarah Waters and Gareth Thomas things became harder. Trying to find the everyday lives of people became an exercise in ‘bit picking’ from other works. For much of what had existed had been shattered. For example, Frances Power Cobbe destroyed both her and her partner Mary Lloyd’s letters and diaries. Nothing they did was illegal, women were not affected by a ban in law the way that men were, but society did not approve and so the material was destroyed.

"Consequently, we are left to pick around in the letters and diaries of others to piece together stories about LGBT people in history. Over the years I have done much picking at bits and pieces and this book represents that. This is the first work highlighting real lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and events in and from Wales.”

A second pioneering work will arrive on the shelves this October. A Little Gay History of Wales (University of Wales Press) by Dr Daryl Leeworthy tells a big story. The historian who was brought up in Pontypridd draws on a rich array of archival sources and oral testimony to examine the experience of ordinary Welsh LGBT men and women from the Middle Ages to the present day. Gentleman Jack, featuring Suranne Jones as Anne Lister, and Sophie Rundle as Ann Walker, on the BBC, portrayed a historical lesbian relationship (Image: BBC) It’s the narrative of poets who wrote about same-sex love and translators who worked to create a language to describe it; activists who campaigned for equality and politicians who created the legislation providing it; teenagers ringing advice lines for guidance on coming out and revellers in the pioneering bars and clubs on a Friday and Saturday night. It is also a study of prejudice and of intolerance, of emigration and isolation, of HIV/AIDS and Section 28.

And for its author, it’s also a deeply personal project: “My childhood and adolescence coincided almost exactly with the implementation and enforcement of Section 28,” Daryl explains.

“Introduced in 1988 when I was a toddler, it was abolished in 2003 when I was in my final year of Sixth Form. Its legacy was still palpable when I went up to Oxford in the autumn of 2004. Talking to friends and former teachers in more recent times, it is clear just how fundamentally the legislation marked – and continues to mark – those of us who went to school during the period of its existence. To be blunt: this is a book that should have been written a long time ago.

“In other words, I wrote the Little History because I felt it should exist and that the longer such a book didn’t exist, the poorer we are here in Wales intellectually and culturally. Call it my revenge on Section 28!

“But it’s also a book that is very much about the ordinary men and women who we might now describe as LGBT, and I’ve tried to reflect the diversity of the community as far as possible, too. So the Muslim sailors who landed in Cardiff and had sex with local men; or the woman (Daphne Higuera) from Caerphilly who established Wales’s first ever gay women’s support group in the early 1970s; or Tim Foskett, a student from London studying at Cardiff, who helped to create the first pride march in the city in 1985; or the two ladies – Jamie and Eileen, active Christians – who ran Lan Farm in Pontypridd as an LGBT hostel in the late-1980s and early 1990s.

“I wanted to move away from LGBT history as being about the great and the good – the Ladies of Llangollen, Viscount Tredegar, Ivor Novello, Rhys Davies, even (heaven forbid) Edward II, etc – and make it about the rest of us. When those pioneers marched through Cardiff in 1985 they shouted ‘we are everywhere’, but what does that mean if our histories only talk about the people whose lives are far more easily documented?

“I also wanted a book that could form the basis of a better understanding of heritage and the ways in which gay, or gay-friendly, spaces existed in far more places than we often realise.

"Even now I’m learning about new ones. If you look in the columns of the pink press of the 1970s, for instance, they tell you that Gay News was sold in the Salisbury Hotel in Ferndale, that Merthyr had Britain’s most boring gay scene (but by implication, it had one), and that there was even a branch of the Gay Liberation Front in Aberdare. I hesitate to call this hidden history: those who needed to know, did know. But for today’s generation of young people, or tomorrow’s, knowing that someone else from your community was LGBT is both powerful and comforting.

“Like all minorities it is important to know that you are not alone, that your experience is not unique. That’s the value of this type of history – of the history of us – it means we don’t always have to start over.” Pride Cymru was taking place in Cardiff today (Image: Matthew Horwood) Cardiff is hosting Pride Cymru this weekend – Wales’s biggest celebration of equality and diversity.

Around 50,000 people are enjoying a mile-long parade and entertainment, music and comedy in support of our LGBT+ community.

It is an event that shows modern, inclusive Wales at it best but we also need to take Pride in the LGBT heritage and history of our nation – whether its expressed in the drama of Time & Again or through the pioneering research of Norena Shopland and Dr Daryl Leeworthy.

Polish group associated with ‘LGBT-free zone’ stickers to host concert at Carnegie Hall

Polish group associated with ‘LGBT-free zone’ stickers to host concert at Carnegie Hall

LGBT-free Zone stickers distributed with Polish conservative weekly magazine Gazeta Polska. (Beata Zawrzel/NurPhoto via Getty) The world-famous venue Carnegie Hall, New York, has listed a concert presented by a group associated with the Polish publication which produced “LGBT-free zone” stickers.

The concert, titled “From Chopin to Gershwin,” is due to take place on October 24 and the only information provided is that it is “presented by the Gazeta Polska Community of America.”

The Gazeta Polska Community of America said on its Facebook page that its clubs in the US are “supported by… Gazeta Polska media and its editorial board,” but that it is “independent and separated from” the magazine.

It continued: “The Clubs represent a broad social movement which inherits the freedom and patriotism oriented legacy of Gazeta Polska.”

Gay concert pianist Paul Bisaccia told NBC News that he was asked to take part in the “star-studded event,” but when he realised the concert was associated with the anti-LGBT publication he said he had to turn it down.

He said: “It is not a small thing to turn down a concert at Carnegie Hall, no one does that.”

“To walk out on that stage is a great honor, to be asked to do it is a great honor, and to find out that the sponsor is someone who would besmirch this honor is very depressing and saddening to me.”

Carnegie Hall in New York City. (Peter Kramer/Getty) A member of anti-racism group Never Again said the Gazeta Polska editor was involved in organising the group

Carnegie Hall spokesperson Synneve Carlino also told NBC News that the show was “an event presented by an outside producer renting Carnegie Hall.”

Carlino said that Carnegie Hall “strongly rejects this sticker campaign and does not condone discrimination or intolerance against any group.”

Gazeta Polska said it would distribute “LGBT-free zone” stickers to readers with its July 24 edition, but earlier this month the Warsaw District Court ordered the magazine to cease distributing the controversial stickers.

A spokesperson for The Gazeta Polska Community of America told NBC News the organisation “does not support, take part or promote” the stickers.

However, a member of a Polish anti-racism group Never Again said that the organisation is “a political movement built around the newspaper… It shares the political perspectives of the newspaper and [ Gazeta Polska editor] Mr. Sakiewicz is very active in organizing it and leading it.”

New York femme footwear brand Syro wants more men in heels

New York femme footwear brand Syro wants more men in heels

Femme footwear by Syro. (Instagram) Two queer designers in New York have launched Syro, a femme footwear brand, with the goal of creating wearable heels for men and gender-nonconforming people.

According to Shaobo Han and Henry Bae, Syro’s co-founders, men wearing heels is much more than just a trend.

“The market is mainly catered towards drag and bondage communities, or high-end custom/luxury price points,” Han told i-D . “The thirst for casual heels in larger sizes is very real.”

“We are part of a bigger generational movement living outside the binary ,” Han said. I have ALWAYS wanted to find a heel I could wear everyday to the shops dream come true!! I love you @shopsyro

A post shared by Sam Smith (@samsmith) on Jun 19, 2019 at 7:14am PDT The pair made a small run of shoes in 2016 to test the market, receiving an “avalanche of support”.

With a tagline of “femme footwear: gay as in happy, Queer as in Fuck You”, the Syro website describes the brand as a “queer cult” in Bushwick that makes heels, disrupts systems and “voted for Cynthia [Nixon]”.

The designers also said, in an interview with Refinery29 , that Syro’s goal is to “Refuse femme oppression. Liberate femme expression. Heels for men.” when ppl stare…