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Byline: CATHERINE JONES Social Affairs Reporter

LIVERPOOL is set to host its first ever gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans-gender festival. The 10-day Homotopia festival will take place from November 1 at sites around the city.

Frankie Goes to Hollywood front man Holly Johnson, now a leading artist, is showing his latest work at the Hello Sailor exhibition.

He said: ``I'm glad Liverpool is having this renaissance. I'd hate to think others were still suffering the same homo phobic abuse that I received at the Liverpool Collegiate during the 1970s.

``I feel that I've changed Liverpool and the world a little by being open about my sexuality in my public and private life. ''

Homotopia will also premiere the Liverpool Lesbian and Gay Film Festival, which will present 12 screenings at a variety of venues including FACT, the Unity theatre, Liverpool university and the Stanley theatre.

Homegrown talent will be on display in short films, workshops and master classes featuring leading lesbian and gay film-makers.

Another highlight of the event is Tales From Yesterqueer which runs from November 9. The audio archive reveals the hidden histories of older members of the lesbian, gay and bisexual communities.

The stories have been collected for Homotopia with the help of the Unity theatre, Armistead -- a support service promoting safe sex, and Liverpool Record Office.

Festival co-ordinator Gary Everett said: ``Homotopia aims to engage the local lesbian and gay community in the hope its untapped potential is nurtured, promoted and supported.

``Liverpool is experiencing one of the most exciting chapters in its history and I hope that this event will unleash the creative energies that I know exist here.

``The city has finally embraced its diverse and dynamic queer community and it's a fantastic celebration of Queer Liverpool. ''

Other events include It's a Drag at the Mathew Street gallery -- a specially-commissioned project documenting the lives of club performers and drag artists in Liverpool's gay scene.

There will also be two nights of comedy, music and poetry at the Lavender club which promotes new and established artists.

How to get in touch

For more information about Homotopia, call 0151-233 1840 or 233 6394, or em ail press@homotopia. org
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2004 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Oct 23, 2004
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