Brighton is an English seaside resort town. About an hour south of London by train, it’s a popular day-trip destination. Its broad shingle beach is backed by amusement arcades and Regency-era buildings. Brighton Pier, in the central waterfront section, opened in 1899 and now has rides and food kiosks. The town is also known for its nightlife, arts scene, shopping and festivals.
The LGBT community of Brighton and Hove is one of the largest in the United Kingdom. Brighton, a seaside resort on the south coast of England is generally agreed to be the unofficial gay capital. Many LGBT pubs, clubs, bars, restaurants, cafés and shops are located around Brighton and in particular around St James’s Street in Kemptown. Several LGBT charities, choirs, publishers, social and support groups are also based in the city.
Brighton Pride is the largest Pride event in the UK, celebrated at the start of August and attracting around 160,000 people every year. Brighton Pride promotes equality and diversity, and advances education to eliminate discrimination against the LGBT community. The major event is an annual summer festival held in the first week of August, which usually consists of a parade through the city centre, a festival event in Preston Park, the Gay Village Party and other club parties. Since 2013, it has also included an Arts and Film Festival and a Pride Dog Show!
Trans Pride has taken place every July since 2013 with a parade and a weekend of events. The Brighton & Hove LGBT Switchboard is a telephone helpline that describes itself as ‘providing a service to the lesbian, gay, bisexual & trans communities since April 1975’ and is one of the oldest in the UK. The Clare Project is a local support group which provides a safe and confidential meeting place for anyone exploring issues around their gender identity, besides organising other events such as monthly meals. MindOut is a mental health service run by and for LGBT people, based in Brighton and Hove. The city also has the Allsorts Youth Project which aims to meet the needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and unsure youth in Brighton & Hove and the wider East Sussex area.
Both Brighton and Sussex universities have active LGBT organizations and they often work together to cater to the needs of LGBT students. Sussex LGBTQ is for students at the University of Sussex and LGBrighTon is for students at Brighton University.
Free LGBT magazine Gscene (by James Ledward) describes itself as “the gay and lesbian lifestyle, listings and community magazine for Brighton and Hove”. Brighton has a gay and lesbian sports society called BLAGSS which offers a range of 17 sports or activities to its 600+ members, and two congregations of the Metropolitan Community Church. A walking tour ‘Piers & Queers’ (by Ric Morris) explores the historical sites and characters of LGBT interest.
Photography: Royal Pavilion & Museums