I remember one colleague actually, following my speech, when we had done the third reading - we were about to vote for it to finally become law, the vote had been called, the division bells were going, and she was still sat on the benches. I had been and voted, I went and sat down and said, “are you alright?”, she was just crying. She said, “I was going to vote against this because, I had so many constituents contact me”, but she said, “I’ve just listened to your speech, how can I deny you the right of marriage?”.
Pockets Theatre proudly produced a new show,
sharing LGBTQ stories from in and
around our home town, Pudsey.
The performance debuted on Friday 26th August
in Café Lux, Pudsey, Leeds.
To make this show, we spent time interviewing people from the LGBTQ+* community in and around Pudsey. Some of the people we spoke to have lived here all their lives, some have moved away and haven’t been back for years, some are new, and some are just passing through. We wanted to offer a challenge to the town. A lot of people outside of the LGBTQ+ community think that the job is done. Same sex marriage arrived in 2013, the final hurdle.
But if you are a part of the LGBTQ+ community, you will have noticed the rise in hate crime, talks of scrapping state protected rights, the rise of far right organisations launching attacks and campaigns against LGBTQ+ people. A third of young gay men think about, or try to, end their own lives. A quarter of homeless young people in the UK are LGBTQ+.
We wanted to share stories, because we all walk through the world differently, and it’s through stories that we can find our common ground, learn about our differences, and decide what to do about it. Nearly everybody we interviewed spoke unprompted about the shooting in Orlando. The situation in the states is shocking. There are some areas that the British Home Office advises LGBTQ+ people do not travel to. We can be refused business, hotel rooms, rent, emergency healthcare even. But Orlando brought up long gone fears, and shook our communities to the core.
It also brought people together. People were ready to take a stand. There was a vigil in Leeds, alongside every other major city in the country. Gay pride flags flew at half-mast on the civic hall. Shamefully, major political players and media outlets scrambled to give the shooting a sense of meaning that erased the LGBTQ+ identities of the people murdered. They spoke of party goers, people having a good time, the right to have a night out. But as a community, we saw through that. The resolve amongst LGBTQ+ people was strengthened. It’s one of the reasons we decided to share the stories of our home town.
The LGBTQ+ rights movement is one of the most significant and wonderful parts of our British history. It didn’t just happen in London, it happened here in Pudsey. Real people, with real lives, and real stories. So we want to celebrate that, honour that, challenge ourselves, and take a stand.