Today is International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (17 May).
If you listen carefully you can almost hear a collective sigh and rolling of eyes. Another awareness day, week, month! What’s the point?
The number of days, weeks, months in the calendar raising awareness for different causes can seem overwhelming. However, it is too easy to simply dismiss them.
Happy Valley Pride has been lucky enough to partner with all sorts of interesting people over the years. None more so than local artist, Paul MacDonald. Paul has participated in many Happy Valley Pride events over the years and will be a familiar face to many. We caught up with him to find out how this crazy year has been for him and what is on the horizon for him.
We have launched a series of videos featuring LGBTQ+ friendly stories for children across Calder Valley and beyond – as part of our series of digital events for 2020. The four special stories all have an LGBTQ+ focus and have been read by friends and supporters of Happy Valley Pride.
And Tango Makes Three
The story of two male penguins, Roy and Silo, who create a family together.
Authors: Justin Richardson, Peter Parnell, Illustrator: Henry Cole. Published by Simon & Schuster.
Read by Sean Pert.
Julian is a Mermaid
An award-winning picture book about self-confidence and love.
Author: Jessica Love, Illustrator: Jessica Love. Published by Candlewick Press.
Read by Terry Logan
The wonderful story of Cliff, the crocodile who wants to wear a dress.
Author: Jeanne Willis, Illustrator: Stephanie Laberis. Published by Hodder Children’s Books.
Read by Jenny Wilson.
Mommy, Mama and Me
One of the only original board books about gay parents!
Author: Lesléa Newman, Illustrator: Carol Thompson. Published by Tricycle Press.
Read by Lisa Tregellas.
Chair Tim Whitehead commented:
“A key part of what we do at Happy Valley Pride is engaging with all parts of the community. As part of our digital focus for 2020, we wanted to provide something that teachers and parents can use to engage with children using stories with an LGBTQ+ focus. These wonderful, inspiring and powerful stories are read by friends of Happy Valley Pride and we hope children (and grown-ups) will enjoy listening to them. Thank you to the authors for their kind permission, and to our special storytellers.”
There has never been a more vital time to make sure you are looking after your mental health. There are so many hints and tips around on maintaining your mental wellbeing during these difficult times. Remember there are no hard and fast rules! Everyone is different, we are all coping with different challenges and living in very different circumstances. So here I offer some of the common themes I have noticed and offer up some of my own thoughts.
Pick and choose what you think may be useful for you! Anything you do will be beneficial. Do what you can and don’t beat yourself up if you have a bad day. Tomorrow will be a better day.
Obviously it is important to keep up-to-date with developments but it is useful to set limits. The constant flow of information is overwhelming online, on TV, on the radio – the news is everywhere. Perhaps catch updates in the morning then again in the evening. You won’t miss anything if you are not continually monitoring the situation. Also stick to reputable news sources – that friend on Facebook may mean well but sharing unfounded conspiracy theories really doesn’t help anyone!
Maintain a routine
Everyone has experienced a huge shift in lifestyle in recent times and this has a significant impact on your overall health. Try to maintain some kind of routine. Go to bed at the same time (ish) each night, try and stick to three meals a day, go for a lunchtime walk etc. If you notice your routine slipping, try and get it back on track as quickly as possible. For example, I noticed I was starting to have lunch earlier and earlier each day, when it got as early as 10.30am I realised I needed to reset my routine!
Try and think of three things each day you are grateful for. Doing this regularly can help you feel more positive and optimistic. Feeling ‘grateful’ isn’t always easy, especially at the moment, but focusing on the good things in your life really will give you a boost each day. I try to take a few minutes each day to write down a brief list of things I am grateful for or happy about. Often it is something simple as seeing a deer in the woods, that there is a new series of Schitt’s Creek on Netflix, or I managed to get out for a run.
Organize your mind
Writing down what you have to do each day will help you plan more efficiently and have a more productive day. Writing it down gets it out of your head, and a list often seems more manageable than random thoughts. It doesn’t have to be detailed or extensive. I try and create a quick note on my phone of what I need to do each day and also what I want to do each day.
Organize your space
We all have different living situations. Living alone or with others, try and ensure a sense or organization where possible. You don’t have to be ultra-tidy but keeping on top of household chores will stop things becoming overwhelming down the line. If you live with others and you have some space for yourself, try to create a bit of sanctuary where you can go to relax and unwind on your own.
Technology is a wonderful thing and helps us all keep connected. You can video call friends and family, join virtual quizzes and much more. You can also keep in touch with a simple text or WhatsApp. If you are really old fashioned you can even phone someone. However, all this can also be overwhelming so don’t feel bad about not joining everything or jeeping in constant touch with everyone you have ever met. Like most things in life, it is about balance! And this relates directly to the next tip…
Do not compare yourself to others
You may think everyone is coping with the current situation better than you. It seems to me everyone is using their spare time to bake banana bread, do all the DIY jobs they have been putting off, learn a new skill etc. I have mainly been watching Peaky Blinders and Schitt’s Creeks – and that is fine! What people put out on their on social media is rarely truly representative of how people really feel. Everyone will have their ups and downs.
Whatever that means for you! That may be a one-mile jog or running a half marathon. Maybe it is a Joe Wicks PE class or maybe it is dancing around your living room. Trying to do a bit more each time is great, but then if you skip a day that is fine as well. The key thing is to just to keep moving.
Everything in moderation
Alcohol and food sales through the roof and it is unsurprising we are seeking comfort in a glass of wine and slice of pizza. When this becomes a bottle of wine and full pizza every night it may be time to cut back a little (I am speaking from experience). Try and keep the treats for the weekend for example. Though again don’t worry too much if you slip up. Just try and get back into a sensible routine.
Get some head space
Take some time each day to give yourself some headspace. This could be meditation, mindfulness, brain training or whatever works for you. If you haven’t tried these things before, give it a go. Give yourself a dedicated slot just for your head – even just five minutes will make a difference. There is lots of information online and loads of apps available. I try and do a short hypnosis session every day, using an app to have 30 minutes to relax and think positive thoughts and I always feel better afterwards.
Give yourself a break
Working from home, trying your best at home schooling, maintaining your studying or whatever it is you may be doing, regular breaks will help you feel refreshed and come back to your tasks with more energy and focus. With us all spending most of our time at home, it can be hard to separate things out. Just going to a different room, or in to the garden if you have one or sticking your head out the window if you don’t, can really help.
Really, give yourself a break!
This is the most important thing! GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK! Don’t be too hard on yourself if you’re having a difficult day. We all have to adjust to the “new normal”. What is happening is a big deal. There will be good days and there will be bad days. Don’t beat yourself up if you feel low, or if you haven’t achieved everything you wanted to or if you ended up eating the entire packet of hob nobs. It happens, so pick yourself up and move on.
Although it may not seem like it at the moment this will pass! It will take time and things will be different on the other side, but it is good to look forward, start planning and give yourself some longer term goals.
Finally, if you need to reach out for more support
There are many organizations ready and able to help if you do need support. If it does all feel a bit overwhelming don’t hesitate to ask for help.
During this time of social distancing and self-isolation, it is vital to keep safe and important to stay positive, active and entertained. Happy Valley Pride has produced some useful links and resources to help.
We will keep adding to the list over the coming weeks and encourage you to provide your suggestions and recommendations on our Facebook page.
The resources are listed are free to access – simply click the links below for more information.
Healthy Minds Calderdale – Calderdale’s local mental health charity is led by people who have personal experience of emotional distress. They have a number of services available during this time.
LGBT Foundation – Delivering advice, support and information services to lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) communities. They have a dedicated page for specific advice related to services available during the current crisis.
Stonewall – The website includes information on how LGTBTQ+ organisations are coming together during the current crisis. They also have a Stonewall home learning pack for teachers and parents.
Dolly Trolley – Join in with Drag Aerobics on Facebook and Instagram every Wednesday, 7.30 to 8.30pm.
To The Max Fitness – Free online sessions are available from Happy Valley Pride supporter Max.
OUT with Suzi Ruffell – The fantastic lesbian comedian Suzi Ruffell, who played Happy Valley Pride last year, launches a new podcast on the 6 April. She looks at the lives of LGBTQ+ people, coming out and finding your place in the world – for anyone has ever felt like an outsider.
Beautiful Thing – The fantastic film from 1996 by Jonathan Harvey is now available on Channel 4.
BFI Flare at home – you can experience selections from BFI Flare: London LGBTIQ+ Film Festival’s 2020 programme from the comfort of your couch with a free 14-day trial.
Rafiki – All 4 – A moving drama exploring attitudes and laws around LGBTQ+ rights in Kenya. The daughters of two opposing politicians fall in love in this award-winning film. In English and Swahili/subs.
Feel Good – All 4 – New LGBTQ+ comedy drama created by and starring Mae Martin.
Sugar Rush – All 4 – Classic drama series based on the novel by Julie Burchill. Teenager Kim moves to Brighton and develops an earth-shattering, hormone-surging crush on her new best friend, Sugar.
Queer As Folk – All 4 – Ground breaking drama from the nineties that chronicles the lives of three gay men living in Manchester’s gay village around Canal Street.
Years and Years – BBC iPlayer – From Russell T Davies, an ordinary family contend with an uncertain future in that begins in 2019 and propels the characters 15 years forward into an unstable world.
Club Quarantine – A daily online queer party – more details on their Instagram account.
Jinkx Monsoon Playlist – Friend of Happy Valley Pride and RuPaul’s Drag Race winner, Jinkx Monsoon present their quarantine playlist (spotify:playlist:6RlQ9BoPrvLp0uFWfXnHZ)
Face of Frida – A look at the life and work of artist Frida Kahlo.
Vox Tox – daily pearls of wisdom from Sandi Togsvig
OutSavvy – the UK’s ticketing company, proudly raising money for LGBTQ+ charities. They have info on loads of great lockdown events such as virtual Cabaret from Annabelszki & Friends, Isolation Bingo with Charlie Hides, a Big Online Quiz from Pride in Surrey and much more… Updated regularly.
UPDATE – THESE EVENTS HAVE BEEN CANCELLED OR POSTPONED
Happy Valley Pride announces a ‘Big Night Out’ series of community events.
These special one-off activities will take place all year round to complement the main festival at the end of July. They will be focussed on bringing the community together for a special night of entertainment.
The first three ‘Big Night Out’ events have been announced.
Writing Anne Lister: An LGBTQ+ History
Hebden Bridge Town Hall on Wednesday 18 March at 7pm. Tickets £3 here or on the door.
Writer and academic Dr Jill Liddington, whose research into the diaries of Anne Lister inspired the BBC/HBO series Gentleman Jack, will provide an insight into the life and times this pioneer. The 19th-century businesswoman, mountaineer, world traveller, and science enthusiast is often called “the first modern lesbian”. Her edition, Female Fortune: land, gender & authority: the Anne Lister Diaries 1833-36 (1998, 2019), inspired scriptwriter Sally Wainwright to write Gentleman Jack.
And Then We Danced
in partnership with Hebden Bridge Film Festival
Hebden Bridge Picture House on Sunday 29 February at 5.30pm. Tickets available here.
A special screening of the award-wining LGBT+ film. This passionate and beautiful coming-of-age tale about forbidden love in the Georgian ballet caused violent protests during screenings in Georgia. It will bring the 2020 Hebden Bridge Film Festival to a close.
Kirsty’s Poptastic Piano Singalong: Gay Anthems Special!
Drink, Market Street, Hebden Bridge on Friday 17April at 8pm. Free entry
Join Kirsty for a special singalong and lots of laughs where the audience pick the songs. Kirsty is a veteran performer on the musical comedy scene, having toured with award-winning comedians Paul Merton, Rich Hall, and dozens more
Tim Whitehead, Happy Valley Pride Chair said:
“We are thrilled to announce a new series of nights out, bringing the same high-quality events that Happy Valley Pride festival has become renowned for to the rest of the year. An eclectic mix of performance, club nights, talks and film screenings, each ‘Big Night Out’ will bring the community together for a very special night of entertainment.”
Monthly social events have been a key part of Happy Valley Pride since we started back in 2016. Through these get-togethers many friendships have formed and continue to flourish.
This year we will be doing things a little differently. We will be running exciting, year-round events, as well as the main festival in July and we will share these as soon as possible.
Our friends at the brand new Out in the Valley will be hosting regular socials. We hope many of you can attend their kickoff on Thursday 20 February (8pm at the White Lion) and take part in future activities. We also encourage you to attend the Flood Fundraiser at The Trade Club on Friday 28 February. There is a lot going on, and now more than ever it is important we get together and celebrate the fantastic place we call home.
During this very special week of Happy Valley Pride, we are thrilled to announce Kate O’Donnell has become our new patron.
Kate is an award winning transgender performer, activist, theatre and cabaret maker. She brought her fantastic show “Hayley and Me” to the festival last year and also worked with us when we adopted her #StandByYourTrans campaign to help spread the message of diversity and tolerance throughout Calderdale.
In 2016 Kate she founded Trans Creative, a trans arts company whose aim is to help trans people tell their stories. As Artistic Director, Kate has just completed her second, hugely successful, Trans Vegas festival, the UK’s first Trans Arts Festival.
Her work is autobiographical, entertaining and political showing pride and strength in being transgender and includes; the award-winning Big Girl’s Blouse with its successful twitter campaign #StandByYourTrans ( winning Manchester Pride’s, “Spirit of the Parade” Award, 2018) she has also created several well received cabaret performances; “A Short History of My Tits”, “No Pride” and “Hayley and Me”. With support from Arts Council England, she is currently touring her critically acclaimed one woman show “You’ve Changed” in the UK and across Europe, following its premiere at the Edinburgh Festival.
Happy Valley Pride Chair, Tim Whitehead said
“Having just worked with Kate on Trans Vegas, I know how lucky we are that she has agreed to be our second ever patron along with Peter Tatchell. As one of the most committed and visible Trans people in the country, I hope Kate’s involvement with us sends a positive message to the Trans community in our LGBTQ+ family. Kate will be joining us for the weekend events at Happy Valley Pride.”
Happy Valley Pride is an eclectic, alternative and inclusive, week-long festival for everyone. Celebrating LGBT+ life in Hebden Bridge and surrounding areas. This year, it will be taking place earlier than in previous years, during the week of 22 to 28 July 2019.
Founded in 2015, the festival has rapidly grown in size and stature – last year we attracted over 3,000 attendees across 15 events and 7 days. Set in the stunning location of the Calder Valley (recently recognised in National Geographic’s Cool List 2019) we’ve built an enviable reputation for creating a distinctive, LGBT+ arts-focused programme.
The decision to move the festival was taken to guarantee the calibre of artists and performers now expected of Happy Valley Pride, as the previous dates were close to other key festivals, notably Edinburgh Festival.
Our Chair and Festival Programmer, Tim Whitehead:
“In the last couple of years, we have managed to attract an incredibly diverse and reputable range of artists. Camille O’Sullivan (recently voted in the Top 25 Jools Holland’s performances) headlined last year, due to an unusual change in schedule. In 2016, BBC Radio 4 regular, Zoe Lyons was another coup and a total sell out. We were aware of other artists we’d loved to welcome to Happy Valley Pride, yet missed out simply because they were booked for Edinburgh. We’re now planning a superb week, which we’re excited will offer something special for everyone and offer our best Pride yet.
At the heart of this, we owe a huge debt of gratitude to to the local community and businesses who have supported us in funding the festival, such as local artist, Kate Lycett, whose unique artwork donation attracted national interest via our art auction.”
Which brings us on to the first confirmed event for 2019 – the auspicious return of legendary London-club night, Duckie. Having lured them to Yorkshire from their Vauxhall Tavern residency – last year’s inaugural visit to The Trades Club sold out in 48hrs post-announcement. Its cult cabaret line up of renowned performance artists is bound to guarantee Happy Valley Pride will stand above the Pride crowd.
With a growing Committee of volunteer trustees and loyal festival team, we’ve quickly built a strong reputation and year-round profile via social nights, community involvement and regular Trades’ Club fundraiser nights. Working alongside local schools and other community groups, we seek to raise understanding and acceptance of the LGBT+ community via art projects.
With plenty still to do, those interested in getting involved please visit the ‘Get Involved‘ page for more info.
Now in its third year, the festival will be united by a Revolution theme with performances, art and outdoor entertainment.
A strong theme, with their best headliners yet, who have eagerly signed up to participate in the revolution, recognising the unique flavour of Happy Valley Pride’s tone in a town that does things differently. The festival will provide world-class entertainment throughout the week bringing class acts and clubbing together. Headliners already booked to appear are:
Duckie – Legendary London Club Night @ The Trades Club, Saturday 11th August
Whilst most club nights last a few years, Duckie has happened every week for 23 years. For the first time EVER, the original Vauxhall veterans bring their rock’n’roll performance disco-bar to Yorkshire on Saturday 11 August to The Trades Club. Legendary DJ’s, The London Reader’s Wifes will be joined on stage by Happy Valley Pride favourites’ Bourgeois & Maurice, drag artist Victoria Sin and comedian Barbara Brownskirt.
Camille O’Sullivan @ Hope Baptist Church, Friday 10th August
Irish/French Camille O’Sullivan is now an internationally-renowned singer with a formidable reputation for her interpretations of the songs of Cave, Brel, Waits, Bowie, Cohen, Radiohead and more. She has stunned audiences around the world, including a ten-night, award-winning run of shows at Sydney Opera House; London’s Royal Festival Hall; The Roundhouse. The Telegraph recently named Camille one of the top 25 performances of all time on the BBC’s Later with Jools Holland BBC.
Ursula Martinez – Comedy and Performance Artist @ Hebden Bridge Little Theatre, Thursday 9th August
An established international artist, regularly supported by the British Council, Ursula Martinez produces live performance, both solo and collaborative, for theatre, cabaret, site-specific, installation and nightclub. She will present her critically acclaimed show Free Admission which celebrates the inconsistencies and contradictions that make us human, whilst having a dig at some of the mess that is of our own making.
Newly-appointed Chair, Tim Whitehead said “We believe Revolution gives a soul-stirring theme, which will fire up our festival visually, artistically and create comradery amongst our festival performers and supporters.”
Tickets and full programme details to be announced in June 2018