This February it’s LGBT History Month; a nationwide annual observance of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans history.
At Rural Arts we decided to host some extra special activities to mark this LGBT Activities day on Wednesday 6th February and James McDermott performing his show Rubber Ring on Friday 8th February.
On Wednesday, we tried out lots of creative activities whilst working alongside Ben Metcalf from Prouder Communities Yorkshire, to have an informal discussion about LGBT issues and to invite the participants to talk about their own experiences.
We had a selection of activities for everyone to choose from, with the choice of Keith Haring inspired ceramic tiles, paper flower garlands inspired by Frida Khalo and watercoulour LGBT flags overlayed with calligraphy quotes from famous LGBT writers such as Virginia Woolfe and Oscar Wilde.
“To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance.” – Oscar Wilde
“There is no gate, no lock, no bolt that you can set upon the freedom of my mind.”
– Virginia Woolf
Our Keith Haring-inspired activity was especially popular, with small ceramic hearts also being provided for the participants to paint! Below are some of the lovely ceramics that were painted, ready to be glazed and fired.
We had a variety of people coming along to the session and they all seemed to enjoy themselves and were happy that the session had been put on!
“A lovely, informal, encouraging and supportive space”
“A nice safe group and enjoyable discussion”
Ruth, who brought along this very special zine “Queer Stories”, a wonderful book that had been created to represent different stories from LGBTQ+ people.
It was great to have an event that provided people from the LGBT community an opportunity to meet other people and share their experiences. Ben from Prouder Communities made everyone feel especially welcome and we had some inspiring discussion about gender and sexual identity, including how to be more inclusive through the use of pronouns and different terms. People were particularly interested to discover the meaning of the term “Cisgender” which is a term for people whose gender identity matches the sex that they were assigned at birth, in contrast to “Transgender” which is a term for people whose gender identity or gender expression differs from their assigned sex. Overall it was a brilliant session and we are hoping that this is just the beginning of something that can grow to become a regular occurrence at Rural Arts!
Not only did we have the activities day in recognition of LGBT History Month, but the following Friday we also had a special performance from James McDermott of his show “Rubber Ring” for which a wide array of people attended.
James told a story of young Jimmy and his experience of growing up in Norfolk struggling with both his sexual and regional identity. The tale followed his journey to the city to go and see his idol; none other than Morrisey, with the willingness to do whatever it took to get to the concert at the O2 in London. And so unfolded “a wonderful, warm, human story,” as one audience member described it, saying, “Jimmy was so easy to relate to. This was poignant, entertaining and I wish more younger-folk could see this.”
We had a wonderful range of people coming along to the performance and the reaction and feedback to the show was wonderful. James even took the time after the show to answer questions from the audience which provided a great opportunity for people to get to know more about the ideas behind the show and James’ views on various LGBT issues, such as Pride.
Below are a few more comments we received from the audience in reaction to the show:
“Really engaging and moving. It was so nice to see something so topical in an intimate venue. The performance was exceptional.”
“Fabulous and life-affirming.”
“Brilliant – refreshing, honest, inspiring and the youngest audience I have ever seen out in North Yorkshire.”