Taking a leaf from GMFA’s book, Friday night saw Birmingham’s first Positive Pub Crawl in Birmingham. But how did it go?
For the past few months GMFA have been running a successful series of pub crawls in London for gay and bisexual men living with HIV. We attended the first one back in January 2014 and were so inspired that we decided to set one up for the Midlands – although in reality it ended up being far more than just a local event.
Friday night arrived and we had people arriving from London, Liverpool, Chester, Manchester and Reading – as well as the local Midlanders. We started the night in Eden Bar for a chilled sit down drink and chat before we headed on to The Village Inn, and then to Sidewalk to get our drink on.
At our peak we counted 16 positive pub crawlers, but came along just for the odd drink – in total we estimate somewhere around 25 positive people joined us for a drink and to meet some new friends. A great achievement for our first Positive Pub Crawl – with next to no publicity.
We rounded off the night back in The Village Inn with champagne (not all of us can remember this!) and dancing, before journeys back to our hotels/homes via the fish & chip shop.
Andrew, 28, from Birmingham said: “It was a great night. I really enjoyed meeting people in the same boat as me. It was good being publicly visible, helping tackle stigma in our community.”
Jack, 30, from London remarked: “I thought it was fun evening with a diverse group of friendly people, also a great reason to visit and explore Birmingham.”
Rik, 41, from Reading thought “What a fantastic event the beyondpositive Pub Crawl turned out to be. For someone recently diagnosed like myself it was the first opportunity to meet other people sharing similar experiences. Not only did it give me chance to put my diagnosis to one side for a few hours, but I left the event with some fantastic new friends. Can’t wait until the next one!”
We polled attendees on Friday and decided to run the event every three months, on the first Friday of the month. So taking that into account – our next Birmingham Positive Pub Crawl will be on the 4th July 2014.
Keep your eyes on at beyondpositive.org/events for more information closer to the time.
We would like to thank the local HIV awareness charity, Saving Lives, for providing us with red wristbands for the evening.