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Memories by Karen Barrett

Running away to the gay centre

Karen was born in 1959. She says that when she was 14 she ran away from home to the Gay Community Centre in Digbeth, (though she may have been older as the Gay Centre didnít open until 1976.) ďThere were lots of people there and it was on Allison Str...

You never came out at work

Karen went on a course for fifteen weeks and started a job as care assistant in Sutton Coldfield, she trained further to become a social worker. The places she worked in looked after the older people. She says you did not disclose your sexuality ďIf ...

The greatest place

ďThe greatest place I ever went to was the Viking, up the top by Odeon Queensway, a drag artist called Martin used to drink in there and he had a full sex change, he died afterwards which was a shameĒ...

Larry Grayson at the Grosvenor

Karen remembers that Larry Grayson and Noelle Gordon were always in the Grosvenor House Hotel in the late 1970s, she was under age but her friends used to sneak her in....

Pride too commercial

ďI donít go to Pride, itís too expensive and I canít afford it. Itís free to go but a drink costs £4. I went to the first Birmingham Pride in 1997 and it was great. Itís not a social event anymore itís a business and I donít like that, its too commer...