Members of Brighton’s gay community and their straight allies came together for an evening of glitz and glamour at the 21st Golden Handbags.
The event – Brighton’s gay Oscars – was organised by Gscene magazine and its editor James Ledward and hosted by drag queen Lola Lasagne.
The main performers were Gabriella Parish, Myra Dubois, Kara Van Park and the much-loved veteran Maisie Trollette.
More than two dozen awards were given out at the sparkling ceremony at the Hilton Brighton Metropole.
Among those handing out the prizes were Brighton and Hove mayor Mo Marsh, the new Brighton Kemptown MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle and Hove MP Peter Kyle.
A Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Finola Brophy who chairs the Rainbow Chorus.
James Ledward said: “For the first time this year I asked groups and organisations to nominate someone who they felt deserved a special award. The nominations received were wide and varied.
“We are lucky in Brighton and Hove to have not one but six LGBT choirs. It is a huge undertaking to chair any of these organisations and keep everyone happy.
“I take my hat off to every chair who takes this responsibility on.
“Tonight we are honouring someone who not only chairs one of our choirs but is also active in Older and Out and sits on the committee of Working To Connect, the LGBT Small Groups network.
“She has been involved in LGBT community development work for many years and really understands the nuances of handling the problems encountered by LGBT organisations as they develop.
“Here are a few of the citations I received: ‘She is a tireless advocate and fighter for equality and has continued to work hard to raise awareness and recognition of issues of discrimination and to challenge this in positive ways.’
“Another says: ‘She is a rare breed: a woman who puts aside personal needs for the greater good. She has fought on the side of many a good cause from Greenham Common, Women’s rights, LGBT rights to all encompassing human rights. Her fire and enthusiasm manifests itself in everything she does and her manner and presence achieves a slow but wide wake into which others fall willingly.’
“Last year’s mayor Councillor Pete West says: ‘During my mayoral year I came to appreciate the reach of her hard work to strengthen relations across the LGBT+ community and beyond. She is a great ambassador for our city in all its wonderful diversity.’
“Aneesa Chaudhry, the musical director of the Rainbow Chorus added: ‘Since moving to Brighton five years ago I have been touched, moved and inspired by the incredible commitment this woman shows to the LGBTQ community and gives so much to everyone she meets within our community.’
“I want to say that over the 25 years I have been editing Gscene I have learnt to work out who are the wannabees and takers in this community.
“Our lady tonight is 100 per cent pure gold and 100 per cent reliable. I am personally thrilled to award a Gscene Lifetime Achievement Award for her services to equality and LGBT people in the city to the chair of the Rainbow Chorus – the formidable Finola Brophy.”
William Ranieri filmed and produced a report on the event for the Brighton television channel Latest TV.
The other special awards were
- Volunteers Award – Lunch Positive
- Fundraising Award – Aaron Lawrence aka Spice
- Community Development Award – Billie Lewis and the LGBT Community Safety Forum
The main awards were
- Sunday Lunch – Camelford Arms
- Hotel – Legends
- Door Security – Liz Blyth from Bar Revenge
- Business or Sauna – Brighton Sauna
- Out of Town Venue – The Edge in Southampton
- Door Whore/Personality – Lydia L’Scabies from Bar Revenge
- Mixed Venue – Dr Brighton’s
- Entertainer or Singer – Gabriella Parrish
- Voluntary Sector Organisation – MindOut
- HIV Organisation – Sussex Beacon
- Sports Group – Sea Serpents Rugby
- Music Group or Choir – Brighton Gay Men’s Chorus
- Social Networking – Brighton Bear Weekend
- Women’s Venue – Velvet Jacks
- Trans Venue or Event – Trans Pride
- Small Bar – Bar Broadway
- Large Bar – Legends
- Bar Girl – Prudence Snellgrove, Revenge
- Bar Boy – Deamán O’Firghil
- DJ – Claire Fuller, Legends
- Club Night – FOMO @ Revenge
- Gay Club – Basement Club at Legend
- Cabaret Venue – Charles Street
- Manager/Landlord – Adam Brooks Bedford Tavern
The awards ceremony took place on Sunday evening (11 June).
Photographs of those receiving awards by Nick Wade.