A word from the editor
This platform has been redesigned to replace the outdated 'GayLeeds', which needed a massive overhaul after a level of neglect for quite some time.
The core value for this new platform is 'by the community & for the community', and we hope that the community will be able to benefit from the latest news and information featured throughout every section of this platform. You can find us on Twitter & Facebook too!
If you have any suggestions, or feel you are up to the challenge of contributing contact to over 2,000 monthly visitors, please get in contact with us: firstname.lastname@example.org
Andrew Smith - Law
Blacks Solicitors LLP is a firm of solicitors in Leeds, providing legal services to clients throughout Yorkshire and the UK. We specialise in family law, wills and probate, commercial, sport, property and a wide range of other private client and business law issues.
Blacks is featured as a leading firm in the Legal 500 and we were recent winners of the Law Firm Award (11 – 30 partners) in the 2016 Yorkshire Legal Awards. We pride ourselves in providing excellent customer service and we are actively involved in the promotion of services to the LGBT community in Leeds.
Our columnists will provide legal advice on topical issues facing the LGBT community and give guidance and insight as to your best course of action on a wide spectrum of matters.
Emily - LGBT+
Emily is a bisexual activist living in Leeds. She set up and has been running Leeds Bi Group (a social/support group for people attracted to more than one gender) since 2014
She also works closely with other groups and organisations such as Leeds City Council, Touchstone and Trans Leeds, leads the bi+ sub group for the Leeds City Council LGB&T* Community Hub and from time to time writes pieces for the bi-monthly publications Bi Community News.
Rob Wilson - Arts & Entertainment Food, LGBT+ & Community
Rob works as a project manager within the Communities team for Leeds City Council, with an area of focus including the support of city leaders on developing Leeds as an LGB T* inclusive city. In addition to this Rob chairs the Councils LGB T* Staff Network, and is involved in a voluntary capacity with West Yorkshire Police, Leeds Street Angels and Yorkshire MESMAC.
Having formerly been involved in a number of social networking groups in Leeds, he is now the chair of the Leeds Inclusive Sports project supporting the development and engagement of the LGB T* community with active lifestyle opportunities. As part of this Rob chairs The Leeds Hunters RUFC, The Bad Mittens and The Pink Ping Pong Pals sport groups.
Danny Silk - Sport & Health
Hey guys! My name is Danny and I am a personal trainer, creator of 'The Hills have Gays' and the creator/organiser of 'Leeds LGBT Sport Fringe Festival', which worked together this year with Leeds Pride. Working closely with the LGBT+ community I see the desire to break down barriers and prevent bullying within the community.
I warn you now I am a proud Yorkshireman, born and bred in Leeds! I aim to write as I speak and will try to be as politically correct as possible!
Leeds is an amazing city and has so much more to offer than what the LGBT+ community has perceived from the past. We are no longer the minority and we no longer hide in the shadows... we are part of this community and we are part of Leeds.
I have tried many fads and gimmicks to achieve my goals and I realised quickly what works for one person might not work for the next. What remains constant is that to achieve your goals it will not be an easy fix, it will not be a 4-week wonder, especially if you are visiting takeaways on a daily basis! We all need a cheat day every now and again however! We have one shot at life and there needs to be a balance mostly good, with a little bit of bad.
My articles will be focusing on different training techniques, nutritional advice and training with athletes, sports persons, teams and clubs focusing on how they train to become champions of their fields, I hope you enjoy reading!
Eleanor Broadbent - LGBT+
Hi I’m Eleanor and I’ve been living and working in Leeds since I came here as a student in 2009 and after nearly eight years I can say that I know Leeds and I know a lot of people!
I’m a Zumba enthusiast, a vegan and a cat-lady. Women give me strength and I like to put my energy back in to the community. I’ll be writing about all things lesbian, bisexual and queer in the city that matter to us – high-brow, low-brow and eyebrows. I’ll be joined by fierce guest writers to zap you with Sapphic feminist vibes.
Jack Mac - Sports
Jack is the current editor of the Leeds LGBT* Sports Newsletter as well as the Recruitment Officer for Yorkshire Terriers FC, Yorkshire’s only LGBT* football team.
He has always had a passion for sport and has tried a lot of them! From Tchoukball (google it, you’ll love it!!) to more orthodox sports like Football and Rugby his columns will mostly be about how you and people from the Leeds LGBT*community can get involved in local sports teams and groups! Jack will also be promoting the various, potentially unexpected benefits everyone can gain from paying more attention to their health and fitness, it can give you so much more than just getting fitter and losing weight!
So get reading and if you feel inspired by any of the articles, make sure you get involved with the LGBT* inclusive sports teams/clubs that are based in and around Leeds!
Jordan Small - Arts & Entertainment
Leeds based Project Manager and creator of club night BE LGBTQ, R’n’B With Edges at Queens Court which is for everyone yet focuses on the LGBTQ community. We play New & Classic R’n’B blended with Soul, Disco, House, Pop, Rap, Dance Hall and more!
Welcome to my new monthly column which will be a hub for reviews of songs, albums, films, nights out, gigs and so forth. If it's something that'll potentially keep you and I entertained I’ll do my best to see or hear it and let you know if it’s worth your time and money.
Everything gets reviewed out of 10 and If you think there’s something I need to review drop me message and let’s do this!
Cllr James Lewis - Leeds City Council
Hi I’m James Lewis, I’m a Labour Councillor for Kippax & Methley ward, Deputy Leader of Leeds City Council, Executive Board Member with the Resources, Strategy and Sport portfolio and I am proud to be the Council’s LGBT* community champion.
I’m really excited at the launch of the ‘The Freedom Quarter’ as Leeds aims to be a fully inclusive city with people, businesses and organisations working in partnership to make this happen. Our aim as a council is to see a ‘Strong Economy and a Compassionate City’ and the Freedom Quarter supports this objective and is a real celebration and representation of diversity for everyone in Leeds which includes all expressions of sexual orientation and gender identity. I am pleased to see the ‘Freedom Quarter’ website will feature contributions from the whole LGB T* community.
The fantastic new ‘Rainbow Bridge’ is a great example of the partnership between the community and the Council and partners Network Rail, the first of its kind in the UK. Other people may be building walls but here in Leeds we are painting bridges.
Emma Simpson - Trans Identity
Emma Simpson is a trans non-binary activist, facilitator and trainer based in North Yorkshire. A graduate of the University of Leeds in 2015, Emma has been part of global justice and social rights movements in the North of England for the past 6 years. After half a decade in the third and public sectors, Emma launched their training and consultancy business, Simpson Training (http://www.simpsontraining.org/), last year.
They now spend their time running between locations across the UK, talking to people about trans identities and helping organisations to be better allies. Emma is most often found at protests, crouched over Twitter or lying awake at night thinking about what gender even is.
Emma's ambition is to turn awareness into action: taking the public's widening knowledge of what it is to be trans and transforming it into allyship that uses its voice to support and empower trans people. Talk to Emma about transness on @simpsontraining on Twitter and follow their never ending adventure to pet as many dogs as possible.
David Goulding - Sports & Music
22, is a chemistry graduate from Cambridge University currently studying at the University of Leeds for a Masters in Colourants, Polymers and Fine Chemicals. With no prior experience to rugby and having only moved to the city in September, David was one of the first members to join the Leeds Hunters back in November and since has enjoyed training with the ever growing club. He has also recently taken on the role of the club’s secretary, hoping to get more involved in the organisation and running of Leeds Hunters.
With previous experience in student radio and performing at local open mic nights before moving to Leeds, David is hoping to get more involved in the city’s rich music scene. Alongside that, he is also working on setting up an online shop for his home printed t-shirts and handmade accessories which he is currently in the process of designing. Until then though, David will most likely be found training on the weekends with the Hunters or spending too much money on tea and cake.
Phil Oldershaw - Brands, Food, Arts & Entertainment
Phil Oldershaw is a man of many talents, primarily his operational skills within multiple venues in our Freedom Quarter. He has a wide knowledge of events, brands, marketing, presenting and more. Phil has been living in Leeds for nearly 2 years now, and he will be blogging about pretty much anything that he see's as interesting, watch this space.
Angela Williams - Community & Engagement
My name is Angela Williams, and I am currently a Temporary Assistant Chief Constable at West Yorkshire Police. I now have 25 years' service across the force including being District Commander at Bradford, Airedale and latterly Calderdale Districts, and in a wide array of departments. I have a strong sense of loyalty to both the area and the residents of West Yorkshire, having been born and brought up in Bradford and now living in Leeds and as such am passionate and care dearly about our local communities and what serves in their best interests.
I am currently the West Yorkshire Police lead on Neighbourhood Policing, looking at the ways to bring communities together and responsibility for overseeing the Criminal Justice process ensuring that victims and witnesses are supported from the beginning of the criminal justice journey to the end. Alongside this, I am the Force Lead on hate crime looking at additional ways to support victims, target offenders and crucially ensure that these matters are reported. It's important for people to remember that being who you are is not a crime, but being targeted because of race, sexual orientation, religion disability or gender can be.
My colleagues and I are only too aware as to the devastating consequences being victim of either hate crime or incident can be and that whilst there have historically been misconceptions that victims may not be taken seriously or indeed listened to, I would like to encourage all victims of this type of offence to ensure that it is reported. We have specially trained officers on hand who can support victims of hate crime and we will continue to do all we can to help people have confidence in reporting hate crime and hate incidents.
If you don't feel that you can turn to the Police, then you can also turn to one of our partner agencies to report it. This information will then get fed back and allows us to gain a true picture of what is happening out in the communities we serve, and be in the best position to tackle it.
The important thing is that we get to find out what is going on. Those who are subject to these type of offences are not alone, and should be assured that West Yorkshire Police are working in conjunction with out partner agencies to eradicate hate in any form within the communities. The actions of those involved will not be tolerated.
Bev Adams - Community & Engagement
I’m Beverley Adams, Principal Community Engagement Officer for West Yorkshire Police. I was born and brought up in Armley in Leeds and I’ve worked for the Police for just over 13 years now in a civilian role and have seen many positive changes in that time.
There are three things I am passionate about; people, inclusion and equality. I work closely with communities and strategic partners to make changes that benefit the public and I am blessed to work with so many inspiring, challenging and caring people from our communities.