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The Middlesbrough groups spreading rainbow joy all year round

This Pride Month we’re shining a light on the groups which bring rainbow joy to Middlesbrough year-round.

June is Pride Month around the world, which is a chance to celebrate Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Asexual + (LGBTQIA+) people, as well as spotlight the continuing inequalities faced by this community.

Although Pride Month is in June, Pride events often take place from as early as May through to September, which is the month of Middlesbrough’s Pride. There are three main LGBTQIA+ groups in Middlesbrough which meet regularly throughout the year.

Hart Gables

Hart Gables is Teesside’s LGBTQIA+ charity. They’ve been running for nearly two decades and offer various services including support sessions every Wednesday 1-3pm at St Mary’s Centre on Corporation Road, for LGBTQIA+ people aged 18+.

Sarah Lewis, Chief Executive Officer of Hart Gables, explained how their services help local people: “Hart Gables support individuals living with poor mental health, those seeking asylum, and those with physical and hidden disabilities. Many of the people we support face the harsh realities of recurring hate crimes, discrimination, poverty, and social isolation.”

To find out more about the groups run by Hart Gables, check out their full listing of events on their website.

Hart Gables organises an annual climb of Roseberry Topping for International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia

Queer Yoga North C.I.C

Queer Yoga North C.I.C. is a newer social enterprise offering weekly sessions for LGBTQIA+ adults at St Mary’s Centre in Middlesbrough, using the tools of yoga to support people with mental and physical wellbeing.

Their Lavender Lounge project offers Queer Yoga every Sunday 10-11.30am and Queer Yoga with Social every Monday 6-9pm, funded by the National Lottery Community Fund and Middlesbrough Council.

Queer Yoga is about connecting with yogic themes such as living authentically, through an LGBTQIA+ lens. The sessions give people a chance to show up as their whole selves, with both chair and mat options offered to make the sessions inclusive and accessible.

Sarah highlighted the importance of intersectionality at Hart Gables as well.

“Intersectionality is a key focus and priority in all our collaborative work and given the complexities that our communities are currently facing,” she said.

“It’s encouraging to see local LGBTQ+ organisations recognising key areas of need and ensuring their services are inclusive and accessible to all.”

Book a free space at their Lavender Lounge yoga sessions for LGBTQIA+ adults online.  You can read more about what to expect in their sessions here.

Curious Arts

Curious Arts is another LGBTQIA+ charity with a regular project in Middlesbrough. They run the monthly LGBTQIA+ Youth Group at Middlesbrough Town Hall, on the second Saturday of the month 10.30am-12.30pm, for 11 to 15 year olds.

Curious Arts is the main organisation behind the incredible range of Pride offerings happening around the area, including running Middlesbrough Pride.

For Sarah, it is heartwarming to see our local groups working together to build a brighter future for LGBTQIA+ people in Middlesbrough:

“It’s inspiring to see a professional network of LGBTQ+ services operating throughout Middlesbrough, working collaboratively to provide essential support to marginalised communities.”

Curious Arts list the dates of their upcoming Pride events and other community groups on its website.

We are words by Mookaite Jasper (they/them), founder and director of Queer Yoga North C.I.C

Main image with permission of Hart Gables