Mayo Wynne Baxter and the rest of the AMPA group are keen to reflect their diverse workforce and client base and to raise awareness of groups within that. Our LGBTQ+ group, AMPLIFY aims to build a professional network including mentoring and clear role models for the LGBTQ+ Community. The group helps educate the firm on issues faced by the LGBTQ+ community, celebrates individuality and organises social events for the network and allies.
I am a Client Service Manager at MWB and as February is LGBTQ+ History month, following on from the success of AMPA’s History month quizzes in Lewes and Birmingham, last Monday, I went along to a walking tour of Brighton – ‘Brighton’s LGBTQ+ Spaces – Then, Now, Next’
I’ve lived in Brighton for nearly 10 years after many years in London but I didn’t really know why it is known as the unofficial queer capital of England.
The tour was voluntarily hosted by Dr’s Nick McGlynn & Becca Searle from The University of Sussex. Our group were shown around the city centre and various sites, such as the first gay pub were highlighted. During the Regency Period, Brighton became renowned as a place for leisure and pleasure. This was mainly due to it’s close proximity to London. The elite class could travel down to the coast and enjoy ‘activities’ discretely that they couldn’t in London. The Napoleonic and both world wars saw troops based in Brighton which increased the towns’ renown for homosexual behaviour.
With homosexuality still being taboo, the 1950s and 1960s gay men and women would often meet in spaces with other ‘criminals’. These bars and clubs weren’t ‘safe’ for them but they were safer than most other places.
This reputation grew and grew and where it was once a crime, the local authorities now promote the area as a place where those who live an alternative lifestyle are welcome. The tour talked about the Brighton LGBTQ+ scene now and how it may be in the future. The recent census showed that 1 in 10 residents of the city of Brighton identify as LGBTQ+ and in Kemptown, ‘Brighton’s gay village’ the number is 1 in 5.
Brighton’s First Pride 1973 and 2022 Copyright BBC
I really enjoyed this tour and found out lots of information that I was unaware of. The guides promoted it as part of LGBTQ+ History Month and there are similar tours available, such as https://www.onlyinbrighton.co.uk/piers-queers/
Further information about LGBTQ+ History month as well as recommendations of books and movies you might enjoy and find informative can be found here https://libguides.brighton.ac.uk/LGBTQplus
I found a really informative book space in Kemptown where you can also find information about LGBTQ+ matters https://thequeery.co.uk/
The Big Issue has released a top 10 list of essential queer movies to watch as part of their LGBT History month coverage:
10 – Wizard of Oz
9 – Paris is Burning
8 - Adventures of Priscilla Queen of the Desert
7 – Blue is the Warmest Colour
6 – But I’m a Cheerleader
5 – Brokeback Mountain
4 – Pride
3 – Call Me By your Name
2 – Everything Everywhere all at Once
1 – Bros