2019: The Year That Was...
Posted on 29 Nov 2019

The anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, a rise in homophobic attacks and the Sultan of Brunei’s introduction of the death penalty for gay sex captured many of the headlines nationally and internationally this year. But 2019 has been full of incident and controversy for the LGBT community at a local level too. While several gay venues have either closed or been in danger of doing so, the ongoing row over LGBT lessons in Birmingham schools has cast a dark shadow across the second city. It’s not all been bad news, though, as the following review of the year ably illustrates...   
 


January
We launched our Save Birmingham Gay Village campaign

Major residential developments in the Birmingham Gay Village posed threats to the area’s cultural heritage and the future of its venues.

Another Birmingham gay venue announced its closure
The Wellington announced it would be closing on Saturday 16 March. One of its owners, Paul Cueson-Speck, told Zone: “We’ve been here for the last 25 years, and it’s now time to hang up the pub keys.”


February
Local drag star Lacey Lou joins the Midlands Zone team
And what a favourite Lacey has proved to be with our readership! Here’s to another year of cracking columns from one of the Midlands’ most accomplished drag acts... 

March
Two greatly missed scene personalities were honoured
Dez Barrett - former general manager at The Village - and Saathi founder Perdes Simplay were each posthumously awarded Midlands Zone Lifetime Achievement Awards.


April
Missing Bar reopened after refurbishment
One of Birmingham’s favourite gay venues, Missing Bar underwent a significant refurbishment before celebrating its relaunch with a Unicorn Disco!

May
New LGBT flag was unveiled in time for Birmingham Pride

Birmingham LGBT joined other national organisations and Pride events up and down the country in using the new flag, which incorporates colours representing Trans communities and queer people of colour. 


No Outsiders’ Andrew Moffat led the Birmingham Pride parade
In response to the equality-lessons protests, the creator of the award-winning No Outsiders school educational  programme led Brum Pride’s parade alongside LGBT Muslims Khakan Qureshi and Saima Razzaq.

June
Four teenagers brutally beat up a lesbian couple in a homophobic attack on a London night bus
Melania Geymonat and girlfriend Chris were left covered in blood when a group of young men attacked them.


Eden Bar became the latest Brum venue to be under threat
A planning draft was released which showed Eden Bar surrounded by new apartments, creating concerns that future noise complaints would lead to the venue’s closure.

Prince William gave his endorsement to the LGBT community
On a visit to the Albert Kennedy Trust, Prince William gave his endorsement to the LGBT community by saying that he would support his child if they were gay.  


50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots
Fifty years on from the Stonewall Riots, we reflected on the ‘moment in history’ that signposted the route to equality for the LGBTQ community across the western world.

July
Queer Prom made Birmingham debut

Dedicated to providing the LGBTQ+ community with the prom night that they always wanted but never had, the UK’s first Queer Prom made its Birmingham debut at the iconic Nightingale Club.


Year-long Ageing With Pride campaign came to an end
Birmingham LGBT’s Ageing With Pride campaign came to an end after 12 months spent challenging ageism, confronting over-50s’ isolation and making the scene inclusive for all LGBT people, regardless of age.

August
Three more Brum gay venues announced they were to close

We exclusively revealed that Birmingham gay venues Unit 2 Sauna, The Core and Boltz were all to be demolished within 18 months.


September
Black Peppa won Church of Yshee contest

The much-anticipated final of Church of Yshee saw drag act Black Peppa take the crown.

Wolverhampton’s only remaining gay venue came under threat
Gorgeous Nightclub objected to a planning application which would see a six-storey building comprising 113 dwellings and associated works being constructed opposite the venue.


October
Same-sex marriage was made legal in Northern Ireland

Earlier in the year, the UK Parliament  passed a law stating that same-sex marriage would become legal in Northern Ireland unless a new  Executive was formed before 21 October, something which did not happen.

Another venue in Birmingham’s Gay Village closed
Bar Jester, one of the oldest gay bars in Birmingham, closed its doors for the very last time.


RuPaul brought his Drag Race contest to the UK 
The first ever television series of RuPaul's Drag Race UK aired on BBC Three.

November
Unit 2 closed its doors

Sadly Unit 2 Sauna closed its doors for the very last time on Sunday 24 November 2019. Property developers are set to demolish the building along with a large number of adjacent buildings soon.


Coventry gay venue revamped 
The downstairs area of The Yard in Coventry underwent a complete remodelling, meaning that in future the venue will benefit from the addition of an all-year-round garden area. 

High Court made final ruling on LGBT lessons row exclusion zone
The temporary exclusion zone which had been in place around Anderton Park -  one of the Birmingham primary schools at the centre of the LGBT lessons row - is made permanent. 


Happy birthday to SHOUT 
Birmingham’s festival of queer arts & culture celebrated its 10th anniversary.

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