2008 saw the fifth time Homotopia, an annual queer arts festival, was held in Liverpool. It was held throughout November 2008, Liverpool’s year as European Capital of Culture. The idea of setting up an LGBT arts festival in Liverpool had been a result of the successful bid for Liverpool to become European Capital of Culture in 2003.
The festival comprised of over 50 events including a retrospective of the artwork of Tom of Finland, a Finnish artist whose homoerotic images of hyper-masculinity went on to influence popular gay culture and perception of gay culture in the second half of the 20th century. The festival calendar also included an audience with Liverpool-born trans* activist April Ashley at St. George’s Hall and the first ever North West Grand Vogue Ball.
Homotopia also produced three productions at the Unity Theatre, Miracle by Gerry Potter, Drama Queen by Shaun Duggan and Gary Clarke’s Horsemeat.
The festival attracted over 12,000 visitors and city leaders praised the celebration as a highlight of Liverpool’s cultural calendar.
*Definition: trans/transgender – an umbrella term for people whose gender identity and/or gender expression differs from the sex they were assigned at birth.