Shining a spotlight on Liverpool’s LGBTQIA culture and community, Homotopia launches Liverpool’s Queer Summer to celebrate and amplify the work and events of creatives and organisations across the city.
Running throughout July and August, the campaign comes amid a rise of homophobic attacks in Liverpool city centre and the cancellation of Pride and other LGBTQIA events that usually take place in the summer months.
Research by DIVA (a media partner of Homotopia) and the charity Stonewall in spring 2021 revealed the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on LGBTQIA people. 3 in 4 LGBT+ women and non-binary people experienced worse mental health due to the pandemic. Two thirds cited the inability to see family and friends. Isolation and loneliness were compounded by not living or working with people who identify or feel the same way, of a lack of access to safe queer spaces has created an inequality that’s very specific to LGBT+ people.
In Liverpool, a spate of homophobic physical assaults in June led to a march and demonstration in Liverpool city centre. Coming at a time when coronavirus restrictions were easing and more people were spending time with family and friends, the attacks sparked a fear of a growing intolerance and threat to the safety and existence of LGBTQIA people within the city.
Homotopia, who curates the UK’s longest running queer arts and culture festival, launched Liverpool’s Queer Summer to address the specific concerns of the community. The project aims to ensure LGBTQIA visibility and celebrate queer organisation’s contribution to Liverpool’s cultural and creative life.
Char Binns is Homotopia’s Festival Director: “There are LGBTQIA organisations and creatives working across Liverpool, producing a superb selection of events. Pride in Liverpool might not be taking place, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t celebrate the contribution of this community to Liverpool’s vibrancy, its culture and identity.
“In the LGBTQIA community we talk a lot about family, and it’s because we are often forced to find our own. We find our own safe spaces, our own allies and our own culture because we do not see ourselves reflected, we do not feel welcomed or we are simply unseen in mainstream society. 52 years ago this week the Stonewall riots took place in New York, a protest and a strike against the dangerous idea that anyone who is different poses a threat. Visibility is key, not only for challenging homophobic attitudes but to allow a community to find and support each other.”