Film, drama, music and more: a celebration of Croydon’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Month


By - Friday 6th February, 2015

As Croydon once again marks LGBT history month, Liz Sheppard-Jones looks at what’s on and explains why it matters so much to her


I recently shared on Facebook a picture of a rainbow. Underneath it is written: I am an ally. I’m not gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. I just share this crazy idea that everyone should have equal rights.

I’ve been an ally since 1989 when my sister bravely came out and faced the full onslaught of homophobic prejudice: abuse in the street, offensive messages on the noticeboard that hung on her door in her student hall of residence and the attitudes of family members. It’s how the fight for equality and justice for sexual minorities became my fight, and it’s stayed that way.

Croydon’s LGBT history month doesn’t mean that the fight is over

We live, as Alvin Shivmangal writes in another Citizen article,  in a different world now. The fact that Croydon celebrates people whose lives were once scarred by hatred and rejection doesn’t mean that the fight is over – we’re a very long way from that – but it’s a sign of how far we’ve come.

Croydon LGBT Month runs throughout February, marking the lives and achievements of people who don’t belong to the sexual majority. Themed this year around history, it features film, drama, music, literature and crafts in a varied programme stretching across the borough. With the kind help of Croydon Council’s Equalities Officer, Yvonne Okiyo, I’ve selected a few highlights.

The launch

4:00pm – 6:00pm, Wednesday 4th February 

The Braithwaite Hall, Katharine Street.

This featured performers from Croydon Colleges and LGBT community groups, and light refreshments, hosted by Councillor Mark Watson, Croydon Cabinet member for Safety, Justice and Communities. 

Comedy 

Award-winning comedian Rosie Wilby brings her one-woman show, Nineties Woman, from the Edinburgh Fringe to Croydon.

Friday 27th February, 7:30pm; tickets £10 via www.oxboffice.com or direct from the venue.

Spreadeagle Theatre, above the Spreadeagle pub, Katharine Street.

The exhibition

This runs throughout February on the ground floor and first floor of Croydon Central Library and features the work of youth and community groups and information about CAGS, the Croydon Area Gay Society.

For families

Craft sessions welcoming participants of all ages: make a rainbow badge or rainbow mosaic.

Rainbow badges: Thursday 19th February 11:00 am – 1:00pm and 2:00pm – 4:00pm; rainbow mosaics Saturday 28th February 11:00am – 1:00pm and 2:00pm – 4:00pm.

Croydon Clocktower, Katharine Street

The icon

Jarman In Pieces: twenty-one years after director Derek Jarman‘s tragic death from AIDS, this show is a performance collage comprising original songs, film, interviews, ambient sounds and words, all of which aim to celebrate contrasts rather than to reconcile them. It was first performed on the Edinburgh Fringe in 2014.

7:00pm Wednesday 11th February, Thornton Heath Library, 190 Brigstock Road, Thornton Heath CR7 7JB. Contact the library on 020 8726 6900 for more information.

Film

The David Lean cinema is screening Pride, winner of the Queer Palm award at the Cannes Film Festival 2014. Directed by Stephen Beresford, it’s a comedy drama telling the story of the role of the LGBT community in the 1984-5 miners’ strike. 

2:30pm and 7:30pm, Thursday 26th February, at the David Lean cinema, Katharine Street. Tickets £7.50 or £6.00 concessions, available from Croydon Visitor Centre, next door to East Croydon station.

For seniors

Two Silver Rainbow Lunches will be held during LGBT month, on Wednesday 4th and Thursday 19th February.

For details contact info@silverrainbow.org.uk or 07594 572623. Booking required. 

Liz Sheppard-Jones

Liz Sheppard-Jones

Writer and editor. Views personal, not representative of editorial policy.

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