SHOUT Festival of queer arts and culture is holding its annual “SHOUT OUT” Community Event this Sunday (20th of November) to honour the memory of those whose lives were lost in acts of anti-transgender violence.
The main venue will be at Mac Birmingham, but public spaces all around Birmingham will be hosting activities for this free event.
There will be a number of local midlands performers ranging from the Birmingham Gay Symphony orchestra, Faye Bagley and Zara Sykes. Multiple craft activities for families and all ages, as well as an art exhibition, produced by Arts All Over The Place from their LGBT carers project. All of these hope to raise awareness of the LGBT community in Birmingham and the discrimination they face daily.
Adam Carver, the festival development officer, said:
“We still don’t see a lot of stories about LGBT, particularly lesbians, bisexuals and trans people in mainstream pop culture. SHOUT seeks to platform the voices of the under-represented.”
Anti-transgender violence occurs with alarming regularity- and for the most part we are totally blind to it. I think a lot of it comes down to a lack of understanding, and in many cases a lack of desire to understand.”
SHOUT will also be holding a memorial at 4pm for the Trans Day of Remembrance, with a speech from local trans advocate Romario Wanliss- the TV presenter, speaker, face of Brighton’s Trans Pride and founder of PureGender.com, which sells products to help those transitioning.
The festival takes place each year for ten days across November and 2016 is its eighth year. It aims to showcase the best of queer performance, theatre, visual arts and film from all over the UK, with the goal of increasing visibility and presence of queer arts throughout Birmingham. Adam said Birmingham, like the rest of the world, still has a “long way to go” in terms of being informed on LGBT issues.
“In Birmingham I think there’s a strong and diverse community of LGBT people- the city has a thriving gay village and a number of community organisations, but I think many would be shocked by the adversity that many LGBT people still face and how ingrained discrimination is into our culture.
Hate crime is still a big issue for the city, and so is a lack of safe spaces where people of any sexuality or gender are welcomed equally.”
The festival is hoping for an even bigger turnout than last year, to spread their message to an even wider audience and tackle the issue of LGBT hate crime head on. Tickets aren’t required- those interested can simply turn up from 12pm at mac Birmingham.
“We all have a duty to challenge discrimination, to educate ourselves and to support everyone so they can feel comfortable within themselves.”