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Hey babe! I know you’ve missed us but we’ve just been too busy to blog. Here’s some highlights of what we’ve been up to the past few months!.

February – Lucky us! 

Back in February, we were excited to announce that Courtnee had snagged Portsmouth City Council’s Community Inclusion Grant! Her project was set to be fantastic, with a great project manager at the helm. It focused on intergenerational work, infused with that Downtown spirit of heart, integrity, and passion. Congratulations, Courtnee, on pulling it off so well!

March – Music, Movies and More

We celebrated a Day of Queer Joy with Gosport Gal and London Drag Icon ‘Barbs’ at Portsmouth Central library. The event was so fab, blending the magic of drag with classical piano in a one-of-a-kind recital. We enjoyed contemporary tunes, timeless classics, and lots of fun with great music, good company, and unforgettable performances.

It was a privilege to take part in the premier of the documentary “Uncharted Waters: Generations of LGBTQ+ Pride in the Royal Navy”. Les was at the helm for this event and enjoyed speaking to current serving navy and veterans about our work. Plus we got to hang out with our fellow queer organisations and groups the Royal Navy’s LGBTQ+ Network, the Terrence Higgins Trust, Portsmouth Pride, Queer All Year and Fighting With Pride.

A photograph of a white drag queen sitting in front of a piano. They are wearing a strappy red dress and flowing skirt, you can see their bare waist and back. They have a long black pony tail. In the front left corner there are a large amount of flowers climbing up the side of the image. Behind Barb is a projection of a shite screen of white and blue china.

April – Always on the go!

We we’re out and about in April taking part in workshops at Aspex from the Tavistock institute as part of their PARCS project, we visited the National Museum of the Royal Navy for a talk by filmmaker David Graham and finally the history centre to look at some of the archives. We made such gorgeous new connections and loved learning new skills. 

It’s launch day!

The mix of community consultation and heritage discussions at our recent Heritage Stakeholders event was super enlightening, helping us chart a path forward. Meeting new community groups, engaging with our partners, and sharing our plans for heritage brought so much passion and energy to the event. Krystle and Sienna absolutely smashed their first official outing with Downtown, engaging fabulously with all the attendees. Courtnee delivered our keynote speech, outlining the plans and scope of the project. We wrapped up with delicious food from Natty’s Jerk and sweet treats by Lily and Lime, and of course a killer performance by the one and only Tayris Mongardi. A huge thank you to everyone involved, The National Lottery Heritage Fund, and all its players! Keep an eye on our website and socials for more exciting updates, and thanks to Karl Bailey for capturing some great shots!

May – Mystery, history and meetings!

May was a month of meetings, planning and the start of our new youth strategy. Our team got started on our Queer Utopia projects working with young people to create a queer utopia of their own, we started with one group and already have progressed to three! It’s going great and we are so excited for the work to continue with our incredible team.

This Pride Month, we teamed up with Pigeon Books for a lively event uncovering the life of Fred Barnes, a captivating LGBTQ+ figure known for his defiance of norms. Filmmaker David Graham from *Uncharted Waters: Generations of LGBTQ+ Pride in the Royal Navy* led the discussion, diving into Barnes’ glamorous career, bold fashion choices, and adventurous life. Attendees enjoyed oral histories, rare photos, and personal stories, all while browsing Pigeon Books’ collection of LGBTQ+ literature. The event was a hit, and we’re eagerly looking forward to Graham’s upcoming short film on Barnes!

A septia toned image from the 1800's of a feminine man in a suit with a white flower on his lapel.