Birmingham Pride 2017 is less than a week away, and the festivities look set to be the best and biggest to date.
Each year, the bars on Hurst Street pull out all the stops, and this year will be no exception. Attendees will be able to grab a bite to eat or a cocktail at Loft Lounge, which recently had a full refurb, complete with Edison lightbulbs and a brand new drinks menu to appeal to the hipster crowd. You can dance to your favourite classic pop and R&B in The Village Inn, or something a little more current in Sidewalk. Then you can play a quick game of pool with a pint at Eden, before heading out to the Nightingale. Affectionately known as Gales, it’s the biggest gay nightclub in the city, with three floors and an outdoor terrace.
And don’t forget the fairground, street food, Women’s Area, and live music tents that will be dotted around Birmingham’s gay district!
Basement Jaxx, Boney M, Gabrielle, Sophie Ellis-Bextor and Brummie superstar Jamelia will be on hand to satisfy your retro pop music cravings, as will Charlotte Church, who is bringing her “Late Night Pop Dungeon” club night to the city for one night only.
The weekend line-up also includes X Factor winner Louisa Johnson, and perhaps more excitingly, the eccentric and gender-fluid Seann Miley Moore, who delivered drama every single week during his time on the competition. Additionally, current chart-toppers Dua Lipa and Jonas Blue will perform on the Main Stage.
If you’re straight and planning to attend Pride, great! Please just be mindful that you’re a guest. Gay venues are inclusive spaces, and for the most part, all are welcome — but it’s worth remembering that they are first and foremost designed for LGBT people. Hurst Street is not a place for you to go on safari and marvel at the curious ways of the LGBT community. Ultimately, everybody is there to have a good time.
But Pride isn’t just about the party. 2017 marks the 50th anniversary of the decriminalisation of homosexuality in the UK, and on Saturday 27th May, thousands of people will gather and march through the city centre in solidarity with LGBT people elsewhere in the world who are still fighting for equal rights. We’re lucky; Britain still has a long way to go in terms of LGBT equality (especially when it comes to the treatment of trans women), but we can’t deny the relative safety we live in, compared to countries like Chechnya or Uganda.
Which is why it’s important to note that Pride isn’t just a parade; it’s a demonstration. Simply being who you are can be an act of protest; loving who you love is an act of defiance.