Queer All Year is awarded LUSH funding for community activism

Portsmouth Pride's activism arm has been awarded £850 from LUSH cosmetics to continue its campaigning work in the community.

The funds will be split between three projects: a sticker campaign, with free packs available during LGBT+ History Month; funding for taster activities to lead to new events in the city; and increased capacity in workshops, materials for counter-protests and support for the Main Day parade.

Queer All Year was set up by CP, Portsmouth Pride's Vice Chair and Partnerships Manager, to support the activism aims of Portsmouth Pride, particularly in making Pride #MoreThanJustOneDay. It has now become a space to share anything and everything queer going on in Portsmouth.

CP talked me through some of the history of Queer All Year and its social campaigning.

'Primarily QAY was set up to support the activism aims of Portsmouth Pride on the campaign to make pride #MoreThanjustOneDay but was inspired by meetings with community members who had recently moved to Portsmouth (Sept 2021). While they knew that there was a great community and support network here, they couldn't figure out how to get into it. We wanted to create a space to share anything and everything queer going on in the city, generally away from alcohol spaces but not exclusively, and importantly away from the more formal platform that Portsmouth Pride needed to hold on its own socials.

'We realised that there was also a need for a handful of other events to fill gaps for people to connect, so organised a Trans Day of Remembrance campfire on the beach in 2021. I thought I knew most of the queer people in Portsmouth and about 60 people showed up, of whom I knew about 5!'

'From there, the stickering campaigns were born and we started ordering stickers to either cover up hateful graffiti or TERFy stickers or just make the world a nicer place with some queer love. Since then we've made 10 different designs, collaborated with local queer artists, and distributed over 1,500 to the community after our research showed that 81% of the community had seen hateful graffiti/stickers in Portsmouth which we knew we had to do something about.

'We've continued with the activism at the heart of the campaign and organised groups to attend local and national protest events like the Filia Protest in Portsmouth, UN Anti Racism Day, Reclaim Pride, Brighton Trans Pride, London Trans Pride, the People's Assembly etc to make sure that the 'Unity in the Community' is felt across groups in Portsmouth and wherever we travel to. You can usually find us at events with a 6m flagpole and some enormous trans pride flags flying. We also organised the counter-protest to the Drag Queen Story Hour event in Portsmouth which was being targeted by fascists and held an amazingly colourful, disney-ful and bubble-ful event to drown own the negativity. And then recently, as you know, organised the Brianna Ghey vigil alongside Portsmouth Pride and Portsmouth Cathedral.'

LUSH raises grants for small grassroots organisations through sales of its Charity Pot body lotion. It is sold in 37 countries and all money raised (minus government taxes) goes towards good causes.

By Abi (She/Her)

Volunteer Copywriter,
Portsmouth Pride