Perry helps get party started as Pride House Birmingham opens at Commonwealth Games

Published by Jon Holmes on

Official Birmingham 2022 mascot among the VIP guests at opening night event in heart of city’s Gay Village; ringing endorsements issued on visit by delegation from Commonwealth Games Federation; “Come down and find out more!” says Pride House Ambassador Michael Gunning

By Jon Holmes

Perry, the official Birmingham 2022 mascot, with Pride House Ambassador Michael Gunning (event photography by Nick Hynan)

Pride House Birmingham is officially open – and you couldn’t find anyone more excited about it than Perry, the official mascot of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games!

The Brummie bull was strutting his stuff on Bromsgrove St on Friday night as the LGBTIQ+ inclusion venue celebrated its opening night with a VIP reception, hosted by sports reporter and former Wales hockey international Beth Fisher.

Special guests at the first event included Commonwealth Games medal winners for Team England, Heather Fisher and Sally Walton; the Minister for Sport and the Games, Nigel Huddleston MP; and Pride House Ambassadors Michael Gunning and Amazin LeThi.

Huddleston said: “Creating a ‘Games for Everyone’ has been an essential part of our vision for Birmingham 2022.

“Pride House is an important part of that vision, giving a warm welcome and safe space to LGBTIQ+ athletes, coaches and officials from across the Commonwealth.”

Earlier on Friday, a delegation of officials from the Commonwealth Games Federation, including president Dame Louise Martin and chief executive Katie Sadlier toured Pride House and thanked the team and volunteers for their hard work on the project, which has been many months in the making.

“I’m delighted to see the opening of Pride House Birmingham, which will be a fantastic hub to champion and enable LGBTIQ+ values throughout the Games,” says Dame Louise.

“We’re proud to support Pride House and as “The Games for Everyone” we believe that Birmingham 2022 will provide an inspiring and important opportunity to engage, champion and benefit many diverse communities, including the LGBTIQ+ sporting community.

“Our sporting family is defined by all kinds of diversity, including religious and cultural diversity. Through our support for Pride House, the CGF will continue to lead by positive example, embracing our shared passion for sport and living our values of Humanity, Equality and Destiny.”

The main venue is located in the heart of the city’s Gay Village, in close proximity to the Birmingham 2022 beach volleyball and basketball 3×3 and wheelchair basketball 3×3 venue at Smithfield.

Meanwhile, for the first time in Games history, Pride House also has a presence in the Athletes’ Villages, with trained volunteers staffing the stations set up at The University of Birmingham, The University of Warwick, and The NEC Hotel Campus.

Partners of Pride House Birmingham include E.ON, PWC, DXC Technology and LSH Auto. Delivering the project is Pride Sports UK, whose director Lou Englefield is co-chair of Pride House International.

Piero Zizzi and Neil Basterfield, the co-founders of Proud Baggies – West Brom’s LGBT+ fans group – are also part of the executive team, with Sports Media LGBT+ proud to be the media partner on the project.

Beth Fisher with PHB exec team Piero Zizzi, Neil Basterfield, Lou Englefield and Jon Holmes

“We’re so excited to see visitors coming through the doors of Pride House Birmingham where they will find both culture and celebration but most importantly, they will take away a call to action,” says Englefield.

“Across the Commonwealth, millions of LGBTIQ+ people are still criminalised, stigmatised, discriminated against, or met with violence.

“The Games at Birmingham 2022 are an opportunity to drive conversation and demonstrate allyship, not least to people who are trans or intersex, with both groups increasingly being made to feel unwelcome in sport.

“We’re grateful to all our sponsors and supporters for providing the platform for Pride House Birmingham to inspire greater participation and inclusion through education.”

One of the big draws on offer at Pride House is an eye-opening exhibition detailing the challenging situation with regards to LGBTIQ+ rights across the five continents of the Commonwealth.

Alongside the Exhibition Room, there is a Gayming Arena, Education Room, and Media Suite, plus a Cafe and the Main Bar area.

A busy events schedule has already been announced, with more events being added frequently. Forthcoming highlights include Sunday’s Paddling With Pride session put on by British Canoeing; an event for parents with the Naz & Matt Foundation; a screening of ‘My God, I’m Queer’; and a Commonwealth Quiz Night.

The powerful UK Aids Memorial Quilt Exhibition opens to the public on Tuesday morning – book a ticket for a viewing slot – before Peter Tatchell talks about his life and career in activism from 6.30pm, followed by a live screening of England’s semi-final against Sweden at the Women’s Euros.

Pride House Podcast

New! Episode 6 out now as we bring you interviews from opening day with…

PHB Ambassador Michael Gunning; Brendan Williams, the chair of the CGF’s athlete advisory commission; Hartwell Mhunduru, the CGF’s human rights lead; Councillor John Cotton, who has responsibility for Equalities and social justice on Birmingham CC; and the CGF’s chief executive, Katie Sadlier.

Sports Media LGBT+ is a network, advocacy, and consultancy group that is helping to build a community of LGBTQ+ people and allies in sport. We’re also a digital publisher and proud to be a media partner on Pride House Birmingham. Learn more about us here.

We’re interested in your news and stories. Share with us and tap into a worldwide audience through our Google News affiliate website and our popular social channels with over 10,000 followers. Contact us to discuss how we can help you.

Jon Holmes

Digital Sports Editor