Image above: Aubrey Crawley
June is Pride month
This month is London Pride and thanks to Aubrey Crawley, Chiswick has a whole schedule of events that are part of the festival.
Aubrey set up the West London Queer Project last year to address the dearth of entertainment and opportunities for socialising for the LBGTQ+ communities in west London.
There is now everything from rambling and touch rugby to drag shows and Queer bingo, with a special event for gay parents at George IV at the next Chiswick Flower Market and films every Wednesday at the Chiswick Cinema.
As with so much that has changed in our lives recently, it was the experience of the pandemic that brought the idea of the West London Queer Project into focus.
“It wasn’t intentional. I was approached by a resident and by the Queen’s Head to start putting on cabaret shows. This was in the period when we were allowed to meet outside.
“I started putting on social evenings and someone who came said to me ‘thank you so much. It gave me a reason to get out of the house’. One young guy told me he had been on the brink of suicide and the fact that he was able to come out and meet people made a difference.”
Dating apps “bad for mental health”
A lot of LGBTQ+ people live on their own, says Aubrey. Most of them don’t have children and there is more to life than dating and particularly dating apps.
“I love social media but hate dating apps. They are bad for people’s mental health. We are so horrible to people on social media.”
The instant judgement – swipe / dismiss / discard – is soul destroying.
“The second we were allowed out I started doing drag shows in the garden at the Queen’s Head”.
As winter came on he moved his operation to the George IV, where there is a proper event space in the Boston Room. The West London Queer Project holds social events there every Sunday night. This Friday (10 June) they are starting up a new weekly social at the Drayton Arms in Ealing on Fridays as well.
In December Aubrey gave up his job in the financial sector and now runs the West London Queer Project full time.
“It’s very important that it’s not just about socials and drag shows” says Aubrey.
“There are so many other things I want to do. Not just drinking. There are a lot of people who don’t want to go drinking. The walks are proving popular, we’re now doing those every month. It’s so nice to see elderly gay men and young lesbians getting on and chatting together.
“I like that more women and Trans people are coming.”
Pride 50th anniversary
Getting a spot in the 50th anniversary Pride march is a real accolade, as competition for slots is fierce. As the West London Queer Project is a community interest company Aubrey is now looking for sponsorship to knock up a few banners and branded T shirts for the event which is on Saturday 2 July.
Meanwhile the social calendar in Chiswick is looking like this:
Wednesday 8 June – Tangerine (15) at Chiswick Cinema
Friday 10 June – Social Fridays (free event)
Sunday 12 June – Vinegar Strokes at George IV
Wednesday 15 June – Ammonite (15) at Chiswick Cinema
Thursday 16 June – Meadowbank art exhibition
Saturday 18 June – Pride Picnic @ Gunnersbury park (free event)
Sunday 19 June – Pride Month BBQ & Social (free event)
Wednesday 22 June – The Bird Cage (15) at Chiswick Cinema
Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar
See also: Chiswick’s Jubilee weekend – The Big Jubilee Sing
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