BIG GAY BUCKET LIST
Host a Eurovision Party
Let’s face it, we’ve as much chance of winning in Italy this year as Prince Andrew has of ever being crowned king, but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy it in all its camp glory. If you are really brave, you and your guests can check out eurovisiondrinking.com
Go on a Gay Staycation
Who needs Sitges, when you have got saucy seaside hotspots like Brighton, Blackpool and Bournemouth (and other resorts not beginning with B) to explore? Or what about a city break to somewhere new with a great gay scene like Bristol, Manchester, Liverpool, Dublin or Edinburgh? Don’t forget your toothbrush…
See a drag show
Get ready to start your engines… the motorways of Great Britain are currently being crisscrossed by Drag Race drag queens on seemingly endless tours and adult pantomimes, so you won’t have far to travel to catch your faves. Or why not pop to your local bendy boozer and enjoy one of the classic queens, who have been treading the sticky floors for donkeys.
A night at the movies
Now we can return to the flicks (well, we could at time of writing) it’s time to watch some LGBTQ+ movies on the big screen. There are loads to look out for this year, including My Policeman (starring Harry Styles), Framing Agnes, Fire Island, Bros, and for horror fans the reboot of Hellraiser starring trans actress Jamie Clayton as the iconic demon Pinhead
Attend a Festival
Flesh Festival is the UK’s first queer electronic music and camping festival aimed at LGBTQ+ individuals, their friends and allies. The event will also be pioneering diversity with a majority of artists being female, trans, non-binary or queer and a line-up representing a spectrum of ethnicities. The festival is taking place on Springfield Farmin Hertfordshire.
Go to: fleshfestival.com
Learn some LGBTQ+ history
The team from LGBT+ History Month, which takes place every February, has created a Voices and Visibility: Uncovering Hidden Histories wallchart for schools and colleges. However, the associated website is fascinating for all members of the community whatever their age. Divided in sections labelled Legal, Themes, Symbols and Personalities, you are guaranteed to learn something new.
Go to: voicesandvisibility.org.uk
Do something that scares you
Apparently being scared is good for you, although don’t do anything life-threatening, obvs. But a little challenge in life could also be a lot of fun. There are endless possibilities: go out in drag, try skinny-dipping, read out a poem at a poetry slam, chat to a complete stranger, sing karaoke, try stand-up…
Read a book
It’s looking like another bumper year for unmissable queer books this year, so do go out and support your local independent bookshop. Highly recommended is Outrageous!: The Story of Section 28 and Britain’s Battle for LGBT Education by Paul Baker and Gay Bar – Why We Went Out by Jeremy Atherton Lee. Check out gaystheword.co.uk for more suggestions.
Go see Cabaret
Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club (at London’s Playhouse Theatre) is the must-see queer show of the decade and you should do whatever it takes to blag yourself a ticket. Now booking until 01 October, it’s an immersive in-the-round experience in a remodelled theatre designed to look like a nightclub in 1930s Berlin. With a shot of schnapps and vintage burlesque performances before the show even starts, it’s unlike anything else we’ve seen.
Go to: kitkat.club
Support a Charity
Charities have had a really difficult couple of years and while we are all tightening our belts, if you are able to support a community organisation they would really appreciate it. Some you might like to consider include Albert Kennedy Trust, Stonewall, The Outside Project, Galop, Switchboard, MindOut, Black Trans Alliance, Metro, Hidayah, Mermaids and Intercom Trust.
Volunteer at a Pride event
After two years of cancellations, Pride events are back in an explosion of rainbow-coloured glitter and loved-up vibes. There are more than 200 Pride events taking part across the UK and not just the big ones like London Pride which celebrates its big 5-0 this year. You’ll spot events in everywhere from Barry to Yeovil and Shetland to the Hebrides and they’d all love you to volunteer. Check at the list at pride-events.co.uk
Listen to a podcast
There are some great LGBTQ+ podcasts out there offering the ultimate in aural pleasure. Some to look out for include Queersplaining, We’re Having Gay Sex, Making Gay History, Food 4 Thot, History is Gay, LGBTQ&A Podcast, One From the Vaults, Homo Sapiens, The Logbooks, A Gay and a NonGay, A Lesbian Affair, The Dorothy Project, Bad Gays and Attitudes. That should keep you going for a while…
Talk to people more
2022 should be the year we all get out and socialise IRL more, after all of those annoying lockdowns. If you are not sure where to start, try meetup.com. Pop in a search term like “LGBT”, “queer”, lesbian”, “bisexual” or “transgender” and find a group near you. You’ll find everything from book clubs to walking groups to coffee mornings.
Watch some comedy
We all need a bit of a laugh these days, so why not grab some friends and head out for some stand-up. Try and catch Glasgow comic Larry Dean on his UK Fudnut tour, who is a refreshing change from some of the more stereotypical camp comedians. Or why not try The LOL Word at the Soho Theatre in London, an all women and non-binary queer comedy collective taking the UK by storm with their epically gay stand-up shows.
After Tom Daley was seen knitting at the Olympics, about a million more people have now taken up the hobby in the UK, meaning there are now about seven million knitters in the country. The “Tom Daley effect” has also seen more youngsters and men taking up the craft with the Olympic high diver launching his own range of knitting kits.
Go to: bytomdaley.com
One of the positives to come out of the pandemic was the return to a sense of community, with people looking out for their friends, neighbours and even strangers. With anxiety still running at an all-time high and people needing more support with their mental health than ever, it would be great if we could continue to ride that wave of empathy, support and care.
Go to an arts festival
Many LGBTQ+ people find a safe space in the arts, as creative spaces tend to be more open and inclusive. There are also some great queer arts festivals across the UK including Homotopia in Liverpool (homotopia.net), GaywiseFESTival in London (gaywisefestival.org.uk), Curious Festival in Newcastle Gateshead (curiousarts.org.uk) and Shout in Birmingham (shoutfestival.co.uk).
Take up a sport
According to Sport England, more gay and lesbian people are classed as active compared with heterosexual people, but this number drops dramatically for those who class themselves as “other sexual orientation”. Pride Sports and the Proud Trust have produced guidance for non-binary inclusion in sport and physical activity. They’ve also created a club finder tool to help locate clubs that are LGBTQ+ friendly or LGBTQ+ focussed.
Go to: pridesports.org.uk/resources
Go to a Museum
The UK is opening it’s first LGBT+ museum in Kings Cross, London, this year. Called Queer Britain, the space will house four galleries, a workshop an education space, a gift shop (yaas!) and offices. They have yet to announce their programme, but the great news is that entry will be free. Keep an eye on their progress at queerbritain.org.uk
Party Like a Queen
This year we are getting a bonus bank holiday to celebrate The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, which has got to be a great excuse for a right old royal knees-up. Expect every gay venue in the land to be planning a party, or why not host your own big gay garden party or picnic? You can even buy rainbow Jubilee bunting and flags.
Visit a pub
The hospitality industry has really struggled throughout the pandemic and are still being impacted by recruitment and supply issues and people’s changes in behaviour. The gay scene was already struggling to remain relevant in an age when you can be yourself in just about any venue. However, gay bars and clubs are still a vital part of our heritage and usually make for a fantastic night out. The best way of supporting them is to go and enjoy them – it’s a use it or lose it situation.
Following a landmark change to blood donation eligibility last year, male donors are no longer asked if they have had sex with another man. Instead, any individual who wants to give blood, regardless of gender, is asked about their recent sexual behaviours. Anyone who has had the same sexual partner for the last three months is eligible to donate. And you still get a biccie.
Go to: blood.co.uk