Hot on the heels of being named an official ‘Gayborhood’ – an internationally-recognised honour that places Kings Heath alongside the likes of Lisbon, New York, Paris, Ibiza, Johannesburg and San Francisco – the community of Kings Heath are uniting on Sunday 26th September to celebrate becoming Birmingham’s newest gay quarter.
Having affectionately renamed the area ‘Queens Heath’ for the occasion, the first-ever Queens Heath Pride will feature a Pride March, free live music performances, face painting, exclusive drinks deals, plus special surprises and giveaways.
The event has been organised by local Kings Heath businesses, alongside The Gayborhood Foundation, a not-for-profit worldwide organisation dedicated to finding and empowering residential areas of exceptional gay sanctuary.
To mark the occasion, many local businesses in the area are renaming themselves for the day and lined up a range of activity, including:
- A Queens Heath Pride March, beginning at 2pm on York Road
- At The Kingsway will become At The Queensway and has lined up a hive of activity, including a disco dance class, a magician, a catwalk show from the big green bus and exclusive drinks deals
- Craft beer bar The Juke will become The Duchess and serve up drinks from the Queer Brewing Project, which was set up to provide visibility for LGBTQ+ people in the beer industry
- The Hare & Hounds pub will host free live performances from disco divas Fatt Butcher and Alanna Boden
- Shop, bar and deli Grace & James will become Will & Grace & James for the day
- Poli will become Ru Pauli’s Drag Race
Kings Heath was included in The Gayborhood Foundation’s 2021 list of official Gayborhoods in April. The Foundation, based in the US, was set up in 2020 to recognise areas around the world that are the most gay friendly, as nominated by members of the public and then judged by an esteemed 300-strong panel made up of prominent LGBTQI+ advocates, including lawyers, business owners and CEOs of charities from every continent on earth.
Factors the panel of judges take into consideration include a higher-than-average population of LGBTQI+ people living in the area, a local dedication to LGBTQI+ rights and issues among residents, proud and visible support for the community, a lower risk (than the national average) of homophobic crime and the vibrancy of the local LGBTQI+ cultural programme. Those submitting a suggestion are asked to provide a written statement to outline their reasoning, with factors cited for Kings Heath’s inclusion including the higher-than-average lesbian population, the range of gay and queer nights and the bustling make up of the area’s York Road which ‘brims with diversity of all forms’.
Ken Roberts, Vice President, Communications of the Gayborhood Foundation, said: “It fills us with immense pride to see the people of Kings Heath, or should that be Queens Heath, using the recognition in such a positive and inclusive way. We had received messages from the UK of people anecdotally referring to the area as Queens Heath, and we’re sure Queens Heath Pride will be a fantastic bonanza of fun and entertainment in all its diverse glory – the perfect underlining of why the community deserved its inclusion in our list of Gayborhoods.”