Joe Lycett, a King’s Heath resident and comedian, hosted his third Pride event within his local Birmingham community in June 2023.
Although this was intended as a joke, Lycett was shocked by what a success the cleverly-coined “Queen’s Heath” became, which has now been running since 2021.
Lycett is known for well-intentioned pranks upon unsuspecting scammers, and the threat to shred ten thousand pounds in protest against David Beckham’s ambassadorship of the World Cup. In 2022, this was held in Qatar, a country with a poor human rights record and where same-sex relationships are criminalised.
Lycett showed what appeared to be the shredding of this money, but later announced that the money wasn’t real: “In many ways, it was like your deal with Qatar, David. Total bulls*** from the start. I’m not even queer! Only joking.”
Previously, Lycett told Channel 4: "I didn't choose to be bisexual. But as I've grown I've realised I did have a choice, a choice to be open and brave and say, 'This is who I am'. I think Pride is many things to many people, but to me it's pride in taking that leap."
Key aspects of this year’s event included free live musical performances, face painting.
Speaking to the crowd at the event, Lycett stated he had "no idea how important [Queen’s Heath] would become and how beautiful it would be".
Taking to Twitter, one fan said: “Pride is always a protest but lovely to see such a celebration on the streets too.”
Further, many local businesses are involved in the project, including in hosting the entertainment and providing food and drinks. The Heath Bookshop also held author events. Other entertainment ranged from DJs to cabaret.
Kings Heath Business Improvement District manager, Matt Powell, told Birmingham Live that “what Joe Lycett has done to promote Kings Heath, things like Queen’s Heath particularly, just wouldn’t have worked” without his fame as a comedian.
In addition, the city of Birmingham holds its own yearly Pride within the same month, June.
In the past, Lycett has attended both Queen’s Heath and Birmingham Pride and in 2022, he produced a show, Joe Lycett’s Big Pride Parade, in celebration of 50 years of Pride. This was hosted from Birmingham and boasted a range of guests from Danny Dyer to Boy George.
Published Online: 02/10/2023