A first for Shrewsbury - in February 2016 the National Festival of LGBT History selected Shrewsbury as its Midlands' Hub: honour indeed. Sue, Sal, Pete and Geoff organised a creative, varied programme across a weekend with an array of speakers, presenters, entertainment. These included Stuart Milk (Harvey Milk's nephew) and Peter Tatchell who addressed hundreds of children at Shropshire schools before the festival got under way. It was opened by the Mayors of Shrewsbury and of Telford. Shrewsbury Museum and Gallery exhibited a special exhibition for the occasion, and the Market Hall was illuminated for the first time with a rainbow motif. The festival was based in the University Centre, with fringe events in The Hive and Museum. Film of festival highlights here; interview with Stuart Milk reflecting on his visit to Shrewsbury here.
It was followed a week later by a visit by stand up Australian performer Rose Collis, at Shrewsbury Library.
In September for Black History Month Jamal Gerald presented his solo performance work, FADoubleGOT, in The Hive. In October we had the Shropshire Rainbow Film Festival, in November SAND's horse racing fundraiser. This was followed by a reading by Paul McVeigh from his book The Good Son in Rowley House. On 1st December for World AIDS Day the Shropshire Film Festival screened Holding The Man at The Hive.
In January 2016 the Ex Libris book reading and discussion group met for the first time - and has been meeting monthly since. A dozen copies of the same title are provided by Shropshire Library Service. Titles have included The Song of Achilles, Lolita, The Story of Istanbul, Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal, Deaf Sentence, The Pride of Miss Jean Brodie.
On 17th May 2016, International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, Shropshire Rainbow Film Festival screened a documentary about Ukraine - This Is Gay Propaganda.
The town's Diversity Day was held in July in the Square, with dancers and a stall representing Shrewsbury's various LGBT events and groups. In August the town's Unitarian Church in High Street became the first church in the area to offer same sex weddings.
On 17th June 2016 a vigil for the victims of the massacre at Pulse Club, Orlando was held at the Bandstand in the Quarry. There were music, reflection and speakers from the UK and USA.
We enjoyed a warm, sunny Pink Picnic in August in the Quarry.
Chill Out Xtra's walking group explored parts of Shrewsbury through the year. This included a visit to Shrewsbury School where they saw the portrait of Lord Wolfenden who was headmaster from 1944. He went on to chair the government's Committee on Homosexuality and Prostitution whose 1957 report became law in 1967 with partial decriminalisation of male homosexuality.
Shrewsbury Carnival in June chose a theme of 'Carnival Goes To The Movies'. Our LGBT entry did a Glee take on it with t shirts and a dance troupe from the Rocky Horror Picture Show as well! The Mayor presented us with a first prize for Best Entry On Foot. A vehicle was kindly provided by Furrows Ford. Video footage here 2 min 30 sec into it.