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Darren Karshe

63 - Darren Karshe


Darren talks in detail about his recent civil partnership, both the organisational planning and the emotional significance. Finally he talks about the commercial gay scene and his aspirations to run a bar.


Civil partnership - the practicalities 15 20 30 40
Civil partnership - the emotional meaning 10 25 35 40
Labour party under Tony Blair 50
More financial support needed for the LGB community 60
Changing gay scene 70
Commercialism on the gay scene 75
The ideal bar 110
Bad impressions on the gay scene 120

10 Civil Partnership.

Darren and his partner had their civil partnership at Birmingham Registry Office on the 30th September 2006. "We had been together, at that time, for nearly eight years. We both knew we really wanted to do it to cement our relationship. It's the best decision we've ever made."

15 He and his partner had questions about how they could apply for a civil partnership, how would they organise everything, what sort of ceremony they wanted and details of their reception, the flowers, buttonholes, their suits, rings, the theme of the day and so on. Darren did some research on the internet to establish exactly what needed to be organised. The planning, although very time-consuming, was a case of ensuring they got exactly what they wanted from the day. "The build up to it was quite good, to be honest, it was very good. It took about twelve months, from start to finish, to get it all organised for the day." The total cost for the wedding was around £10,000

20 "The legal proceedings and procedures were exactly the same as a straight marriage." Anyone who had any objections had to submit their objections within that fifteen day period. The one detail they were allowed to personalise was the vows they exchanged during the ceremony. They then exchanged rings and each had to have a witness. They were given a certificate of their partnership after the ceremony. Both partners have very supportive families, who were all in attendance on the big day.

25 The couple were adamant they wanted people to know it was a civil partnership between two homosexual people but didn't want that to influence their decisions on suits, décor and the like. "We wanted people to see it for what it was...but we didn't want to make a farce of it, didn't want it to be outrageously camp."

30 They held the reception at a social club and his mother helped out with the catering. This was a colourful affair with acts on throughout the day to entertain the guests. They had singers, dancers, drag acts from a local bar (Glamourous) and a well known local gay DJ - DJ Rocky.

35 "It made us both realise how much we care about each other, it cemented our feelings for each other. No one will ever destroy what we've got." (16:00)

40 They got married within the first twelve months of civil partnerships being legalised. Darren believes that this legalisation took far too long to come about. "If two people care about each other, they should be able to show that."

50 Tony Blair regime has improved gay lives

Darren notes that most milestones for the gay communities of the UK have come about in the reign of Tony Blair.

60 More financial support needed for gay community

"The gay community in Birmingham is funded entirely by private donations, local businesses or charity events." Darren believes that the Council should definitely have more input in this area as their constituents make up some of the community. He also thinks that there should be a fund to help (gay) people with problems within the community, somewhere they can apply to for assistance.

70 Changing gay scene

In the time since Darren came out, he thinks that Birmingham's gay scene has changed a lot. When he first started visiting the gay scene, " wasn't underground in the 80s, it was known that Birmingham had a gay scene but it was all downstairs, or underground, behind closed doors that you had to knock on or ring a bell. There was no open-door policy."

75 "Birmingham's scene has got very commercialised, it's all about making money and it's not about the community anymore. They (the bars and clubs in the community) should remember their roots, and acknowledge the fact that it is the community that made them."

110 Aspirations to run a gay bar

Darren talks of his aspirations to run a gay bar in the future. His experience and familiarity of the scene in Birmingham are possible reasons for him to believe he could input some positive things back into that scene. He says that there is a formula that consists of "good customer service, reasonable pricing on the bar and tariff, that the bar should offer a certain amount of food and that the entertainment should also be provided, with a cabaret or something similar once a week". To prevent bitching between his employees or towards other bars he would try to make his staff respect the workplace and not get involved in such 'backstabbing' or 'slagging off'.

120 Darren believes that negative behaviours or vibes in certain establishments in the Village give patrons the wrong idea, especially those who are not familiar with the scene, and that they may not get the feeling of security or community that should be prevalent. He believes that "They are giving the wrong impression of what the scene is all about. There is support within the gay scene (in Birmingham) and it is not all about worry, it's not all about stress, you don't have to worry who to tell and who not to tell. We should be creating an image of support, in (the scene), not one of bitching, not one of backstabbing, not one of two-facedness, and not one of prejudice."