This month Zhoosh caught up with Brighton community resident Maz Ogden, an energetic character trying to make dating fun for those of you still single and events for those simply searching for others to hang out with that have not disappeared to their love nests!
How long have you lived in Brighton?
I moved to Brighton in 2004. I was thinking about London and then I came down here for a few days and got a suntan and so asked to get a transfer with my job to Brighton the next day! I’ve been to Oz and back again and for the Uk this is a pretty good place to live.
How have you been involved in the LGBT community?
Since I came out at 21. When I first came out I got a job at Aberdeen’s only gay Bar, O’Henry’s. I also joined the University LGBT group, Abfab and started organising LGBT events and weekends away.
What insider secret about Brighton are you willing to share with Zhoosh readers?
Brighton can be really expensive but there are really good services that are great value. Places like Ba Ba Blacksheep in Kemptown where you can get a good hair cut from £12 or London Road Market.
What are the challenges of organising LGBT events?
Getting women to turn up! Lesbians can be really shy and will tell you for months they want to come to Lesbian Speed Dating but are too shy. We have a team of hostesses on hand, so that everyone who turns up on their own won’t be on their own for long. Come on ladies – what have you got to lose!!
The other challenge in running women’s events is that women are much harder to get money from that men! Some women will quibble at paying £6 for an event when they have a stack of empty beer glasses and we all know the price of beer these days!
On the positive side of that, the women who come to my events don’t come looking to get drunk, they come to meet friends and maybe more, so the women who are happy to pay mean that if you come along, you are meeting the right calibre of women. We get a lot of positive feedback from women saying it’s really nice to meet non scene women in a friendly environment and the good thing about activities like Lesbian Speed Dating is that you’ve not had to trawl through websites for months to find you do or don’t like someone. You get an initial impression (which is normally right) of 20 women all in one fun night!
Online dating or does the old fashioned meeting in the pub still work?
Both! I think online works if you use it to get offline and meet people in real life but it can be very time consuming. In real life, you get an instant impression of someone. When I first moved to Brighton, I was shocked at how lots of lesbians could be all in one pub but were often too shy to speak to each other. My friend and I saw an ad for Speed Dating in Manchester and so we thought it would be a good idea to try it down here. That way you’ve got an excuse to speak to each other and find out if you like each other but 3 minutes isn’t too long if you don’t click!
What is your latest event and why should people attend?
I’m doing Brighton’s first ever Blind Date’s Gone Queer this SUNDAY, 16TH NOVEMBER, 5.30pm. It’s like Cilla Black’s 90’s TV show but our contestants are all lovely ladies looking for love! Our contestants will have their best cheesy one liners and it’s in a fantastic venue, the lovely Proud Cabaret at the top of Kemptown.
Straight, gay, singles, couples – everyone can come along. We will also be raising money for Mind Out, the LGBT mental health charity so come along, support a local charity at the same time and check out the amazing raffle prizes.
Please note THERE ARE ONLY A FEW TICKETS LEFT FOR SUNDAY’S EVENT. Get yours now at http://www.ticketsource.co.uk/blinddate.
Zhoosh readers can get 50% discount so with the promo code PINK, tickets will be £6.25*.
After that our Xmas Women’s Speed Dating is Dec 5th and you can find out more at http://www.sapphicvine.com
Have a Word, the Brighton based LGBT literary and music evening returns for a summer special at Manchester Street on Wednesday 27th August at the latest music bar.
Ellis Collins once again takes on M.C. duties, while D.J. Josh ensures the evening’s events are set in full swing.
Following on from Have a Word Pride featuring an all female revue, it is now the time of the boys.
Poet, Nicolas Collins returns with a new set of poetry following on from his hugely entertaining first book, Washing the Duvet. Once again he will be exploring all aspects of love, life, and all that lay between.
Nicolas’s first book, Washing the Duvet will be on sale on the evening.
Glenn Stevens will be reading his Brighton based urban gothic tale, Dead Famous, taken from his short story collection, Blanche Street: where all the neighbours are a nightmare, which will available to download as an ebook.
During a ghost walk in Brighton’s Lanes, Bryan bumps into Janice and Nick. As a new boy in town, Bryan is pleased to meet such a nice couple. Even better, Janice loves the fact that Bryan longs to be a writer, an actor or someone famous. With their help he will be, but at what cost?
www.blanchestreet.co.uk (website coming very soon)
Liam Murray Bell who will be reading second novel, The Busker, published by Myriad in May 2014 and Scottish Book Trust 2014 Pick of the Year.“A modern-day ballad set across three cities and two years, The Busker is a richly comic exposé of the music industry, the occupy movement, homelessness, squatting — and failing to live up to the name you (almost) share with your hero. It is also the story of what survives when the flimsy dreams of fame fall apart.”
Paul Diello is a Brighton based singer songwriter and it is a real treat that he will be bringing his soul drenched songs to Have a Word Summer Special, singing songs from his second album, Looking Glass, including new double side single, (I am) a Voodoo Doll, reminiscent of Soft Cell’s Marc Almond in both sound and dark lyrics, with the flip side bringing Paul’s soulful sound to the Bronski Beat/Jimmy Somerville classic, Small Town Boy.
It truly is looking to be a spectacular night and not to be missed!
Camping this bank holiday weekend might have been slightly optimistic as five of us huddled close around the open camp fire trying to stay warm once the sun went down, leaving frosty sub zero temperatures. Conversation turns to what we’ve been up to, plans ahead; next Sunday is the Stonewall Equality Walk which takes place annually in Brighton. We discuss who’s planning on taking part.
“The thing is, I just don’t like ramming it down people’s throats; raising money for gay things” says one of the women, there are nods of agreement from the others.
As someone who has been active in the Brighton LGBT community, both working and volunteering for its’ many charities and groups, as well as my current employment being with the Institute of Fundraising, I find this viewpoint disappointing, but not unfamiliar.
As I pointed out in a previous blog, Raising Funds for LGBT Charities, just ask any of your friends who they are running, abseiling, swimming for, or some other fundraising challenge and you’re unlikely to hear it’s for an LGBT organisation, with the view expressed around the campfire shared by many of the LGBT community.
Yet this leaves our LGBT organisations vulnerable. MindOut, Switchboard and Sussex Beacon nearly closed in 2012, and Pride changed from being a charity to a business in the same year in order to remain operational. The small charity sector which includes nearly all of Brighton’s LGBT organisations, is still heavily reliant on statutory and grant funders; but this has increasingly become a smaller pot of money available and the competition for it, ever higher.
For sustainability, small charities need to diversify their income through fundraising, but this seems to be an even bigger challenge for LGBT charities. As I questioned in Is apathy killing our LGBT Communities? it’s a sad fact that as LGBT individuals the majority of us do not seem to be as loyal to LGBT services, don’t seem to care in fact if they exist at all and general apathy prevails. May be, because we fail to see the value of these services if we are not using them ourselves and do not know those who are or how we, are benefiting from them?
It’s ironic, that on the same day we are discussing who is taking part in the Stonewall Equality Walk next Sunday, the press are full of stories about the UK culture secretary Sajid Javid blocking the Lib Dem equalities minister Jenny Willott from attending the EU summit in Malta to mark the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia. This means the declaration against homophobia to be signed by 11 EU countries at that summit, will not be signed by the UK.
LGBT organisations need to get better at engaging with their LGBT communities, so they see the value of their services and understand who and how they are helping, but LGBT individuals also need to recognise that we should all be more pro-active in raising awareness of ‘gay things’ and being a voice for LGBT rights and equality, the organisations enabling this and the fundraising money that is needed by them.
Last week Zhoosh popped along to the Metropole Hotel, to hear more about this years hugely successful Rainbow fund presentation.
The Rainbow Fund was initially set up to raise funds for Brighton’s AIDS Memorial. Since then the Rainbow Fund has been working in partnership with a host of fundraising organisations including Brighton Pride who ring-fenced £1.00 from every ticket sold which this year helped raise over £41.000. Additional supporters to the project who helped raise funds include: Bear-Patrol’s, ‘Bear Weekender’, Legends, Tony Chapman, Queens Arms, A-Bar, Charle’s Street, David Raven, James Ledward, The Brighton Gay Men’s Chorus and many more, helping raise funds for the Rainbow Fund Project to over £46.000 pounds.
Over the last 12 months, volunteer groups and projects from the LGBT/HIV community have been encouraged to put their proposals forward, with The Rainbow Fund putting these requests through a stringent process to ensure that the money raised truly help the groups progress and help develop the individual organisations further.
This years groups that benefited from the funds raised were:
- Allsorts - £5000 For a youth engagement worker to support the Transformer Group for young Trans* people.
- Clare Project – £4640 to extend their psychotherapy and speech therapy sessions Trans* people.
- Brighton Gems – £4000 towards support cost for befriending & support work for older gay men.
- LGBT community Safety Forum – £7000 towards hate crime advocacy.
- LGBT Switchboard – £2500 towards clinical supervision for counsellors.
- Lunch Positive – £7000 towards food, venue hire and lunch club running cost for people with HIV.
- MindOut – £7000 towards peer support groups and housing advice for people with mental health issues.
- Peer Action – £5000 for health and wellbeing activities for those living with HIV.
- Sussex Beacon – £4000 towards a new occupational therapy project.
The remaining funds were earmarked for a feasibility study to develop a funding needs assessment of all LGBT organisations, the service they provide and their future grant needs.
The amazing Lola Lasagne was on presentation duties, along with a host of well known faces from Brighton to present the grants to the groups. Individuals from each of the groups took to the stage to talk a little about how the grants awarded to their group is so important and what a difference it will make in the coming year.
All in all, it was a fantastic evening which helped celebrate how amazingly generous the Brighton and Hove’s LGBT community and LGBT/HIV voluntary sector is. For more information on how to donate to the Rainbow Fund or to apply for LGBT/HIV groups to apply for a grant more information can be found at www.rainbow-fund.org
1960’s Gay men, criminals, sailors and carnival folk; no that’s not the guest list to a Brighton gay bar, but those most likely to have a tattoo from that era. These days it seems the word and the Prime Minister’s wife now sport a tattoo of some description.
While trolling around Preston Park during Brighton’s fantastic Pride, it became evident that the LGBT community, continue to embrace skin ink art and then some; me included.
With Kate and Wills naming their new baby, George, we here at Zhoosh thought it only fitting that we should celebrate our own family Georges. so without further ado, here’s are top five iconic Georges.
5. George Passmore (half of Gilbert and George)
George Passmore first met his long term collaborator, lover Gilbert Proesch, back in 1967 at Martin’s School of Art in London (Central Saint Martins) where they both studied sculpture. Put off by what they considered the confines of elitism of sculpture taught at St. Martins, the duo decided to create a piece of art to challenge the conceptions of, “What is art?” (more…)
Carrying on from last week, LGBT Brighton Pride theme, Icons in the Park, Zhoosh present to you the top five iconic Susan’s’.
5. Susan “Sue” Storm Richards.
One quarter of the Fantastic Four, Susan Storm is well established as an icon among Marvel fans. Her back story is long and varied. Sue Storm, along with her brother Johnny Storm, Reed Richards and his his old collage pal, Ben Grimm all take a flight into space, only to be exposed to cosmic rays. On their return they all realise they now have superhuman powers; Susan gained Invisibility and a force field, Johnny, a force field of fire that also enables him to fly, Reed, has ability to stretch and bend into any shape, while Ben turns into harden rock. (more…)
This year’s theme for Brighton’s LGBT Pride is, Icons in the Park. With this in mind, Zhoosh writer, Glenn Stevens has had a poke round the internet to bring you his top five, Great Iconic, Glenns. (more…)
Brighton and Hove is the gay capital of the United Kingdom, thousands flocking every year for the infamous Pride Festival. Not just a gay attraction, Brighton and Hove are steeped in history and culture, especially the creative kind. There is a veritable treasure chest of attractions to meet your date’s tastes, and here are just 12 of the hundreds of things you can do on that special date.
Ross Boat Tours
For a laid back date, take a stroll along the beach to West Jetty of the Marina and climb aboard the Ross Boat Tour. You will have three options for their boat rentals: a 90-minute mackerel fishing adventure, the 45-minute pleasure trip, and finally, the 25-minute speed boat ride, one that will speed up your already racing heart.
Brighton & Hove Seafront
Once you have returned to dry land, spend some time with your partner strolling along the Brighton and Hove Seafront. Take a lazy walk and soak up the sun during the day, or watch sky change colours as it sets over the Channel. If you are feeling puckish, you have many small cafés and restaurants to choose from, and at night the seafront really comes alive as the multitude of nightclubs open their doors – Brighton is renowned for some of the best clubs in the UK.
Brighton Museum And Art Gallery
Brighton is a Mecca for arts and culture, so how about a more sophisticated date at the Brighton Museum and Art Gallery. The museum boasts an abundance of modern art that will intrigue even the most discerning connoisseur. You’ll experience the permanent exhibits known at the gallery, and as this may be, there are pieces always rotating, so you’ll witness something different on every visit. The best aspect by far is the free admission!
The Brighton Sauna
During the 18th century, Brighton and Hove became a popular destination for bathing, and this status has remained for over a century. Take your date to Sauna and gift them a rejuvenation and intimacy only the Brighton Sauna can offer. The sauna only costs £15, with a student discount admission of £5. The Sauna can hold a maximum of 20 people, and as well as the relaxation facilities, it also provides a dining area, massage area, a wonderful 15-seat cinema. As you are on a date, you may want to hire one of their 20 private.
Blanch House – Brighton
I’m sorry, but there really isn’t another city quite like Brighton and Hove for a proper party atmosphere on a night out. After a heavy night partying, stay at Brighton’s sexiest hotels – Blanche House. Being Brighton’s first unique boutique style hotel, you’ll experience true class, as it has set the standards so many try to emulate today. Sip amazing cocktails surrounded by crimson draped and drown in complete decadence.
Helicopter Ride – Brighton
Brighton is a city packed with every kind of entertainment you could ever dream of. To make a massive impression on your date, whisk them skywards in a helicopter, where you can view this vast seaside city from a very unique angle. One you’ve both landed, find a bar, restaurant or art gallery, and talk about the breathtaking ride and what you fancy.
If the hectic club scene isn’t really your cup of tea, check out the A-Bar. Attached to the Amsterdam Hotel, this bar offers the best for a casual nightlife experience. 2011 saw it completed renovated and now provides a relaxed and elegant atmosphere. Spending an evening here will ensure you and your date have nice conversation with a beautiful backdrop of the English Channel.
The North Laines
The North Laines are known as “the heart and soul of Brighton”, a unique shopping experience tying all of Brighton’s culture together in one place. However, the North Laines are not actually lanes per se, but more of an area of connecting lanes – it’s easy to get lost. The square mile of land guiding you down to the southeast from Brighton’s train station is home to over 300 shops, 37 cafes, 22 pubs, 4 theatres, 2 museums and a library. Take your date for a wander around the North Laines to really get what Brighton is all about.
2013 is said to be the most exciting year for Brighton Pride, one of the most talked about and celebrated festivals in the UK. For the first time there’s a Brighton Pride Arts & Film Festival 19th July – 4th August – this includes special screenings of LGBT interest movies at the Duke Of York cinema, as well as art and photography exhibitions, encouraging even more involvement with our community. Another welcome addition to the 2013 line up is ‘Pride at the Fringe’, a season of spectacular Pride Gala shows taking place with the Brighton fringe festival at the amazing Ladyboy’s Sabai pavilion. This is the perfect place to take a date, with so much on offer and an ultra gay atmosphere.
The gay Brighton village Kemp Town’s main focus is around St. James Street and the gay seafront venues east of Brighton’s infamous pier. There’s a massive choice when it comes to shopping in Brighton, with some of the most unique shopping in the UK, from the North Laines to gay-friendly Kemp Town. From kitsch to cool, there’s something to satiate every gay and lesbian taste.
The sister cities of Brighton & Hove have established themselves as a mecca for queer people from near and far, and will be the perfect backdrop for whatever intimate scenario you have planned. Whether you are seeking to celebrate a new relationship or stoke the fire of an old one, you will find what you’re looking for here. If you want to have your dream date in Brighton & Hove but don’t have somebody to take with you, don’t fret as there are many options for you.
There are many local community groups and meet-ups you can check out, online dating websites and chat line options (Check out Gaynetwork dating) are rising in popularity for people to find each other in their quest for love and companionship.
If you let yourself be shot by the arrow of Eros and make your way to Brighton & Hove; it will be an experience you will not regret.
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James is a writer who lives in Hove, works in London and loves all the scenes in Brighton & Hove. Creative and also loves Eco living. If you would like to contact James here is his LinkedIn
Guest post by James Hubbard.
Starting a new job is quite stressful, or at least a little daunting. The average person is likely to question how well they might fit into their new company, how well they might perform in the role, how well they might cope with the challenges that a new job often brings. However, for LGBT people there can be even more complex questions that arise at the start of a new employment contract.
For those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, there may be fears about prejudice within the workplace, or there may be some difficulties in the process of “coming out” to colleagues. This might be particularly true in smaller businesses that have not yet developed their legislation and policies on dealing with minority groups.
As the founder of a brand new employment related business, JobsinBrightonandHove.co.uk, I am looking to investigate the current attitudes and experiences of people who identify as LGBT in the Brighton and Hove area. I would like to know if people who have worked for Brighton and Hove (or East Sussex) based businesses have ever experienced any forms of discrimination or bullying within the workplace because of their sexuality. I’d also like to know how people have found the process of coming out to colleagues. Was it a big deal for you, or did you not make an issue of it? How did you find the response from your colleagues when you did open up about who you are?
The survey is quite brief and will only take about 5 minutes or so of your time. Your answers will be treated in the strictest of confidence and taking part can be done so completely anonymously. If you can spare 5 minutes to take part, please follow the link below:
I plan to use the outcome of this survey to run some local media campaigns in the near future, highlighting any issues that arise from the votes cast and the comments left on my blog post. As someone who has worked for Brighton and Hove based businesses for the last 14 years, I am passionate about equal rights in the workplace and helping to raise awareness of key concerns that people may have when joining a new company. I hope to communicate this to employers that I may deal with as part of running my new jobs board.
I hope readers of Zhoosh can spare the time to take part. As a small gesture of thanks there is a chance to win a £40 gift voucher to spend at Marks & Spencer. Simply leave a comment on my blog for the chance to win.
James is the founder of JobsinBrightonandHove.co.uk, a new comprehensive job listing site for the Brighton and Hove area, offering job alerts and career advice for job seekers and tailored job packs for local employers.