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Brummie Joe Lycett proud to bring Pride celebration to home city

Joe Lycett is proud to come from the West Midlands and still loves going down to his local for a pint.

But he admits he has always been a little confused about the need to celebrate his sexuality.

The Brummie is preparing to host a celebration event in his home city to mark Pride.

The Pride movement has become a big deal annually for the LGBTQ+ movement and events in big cities like Birmingham have become popular with all, gay or not.

As Pride marks its 50th year, the comedian says he is now learning to embrace it.

Joe Lycett is preparing to host a celebration event in his home city to mark Pride

Lycett, 33, says: "I could never understand how I could be proud of something I didn't have a choice in.

"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."

Observed each June to honour the 1969 Stonewall riots, Pride commemorates the coming together of people in love and friendship, in turn offering up an entire month of events dedicated to the uplifting of LGBTQ+ voices and culture and the support of rights across the globe.

Lycett, for one, is getting in on the action by hosting a dazzling party live from Birmingham.

Titled Joe Lycett's Big Pride Party, the two-hour inclusive spectacular will see the stand-up comic and consumer warrior celebrating all things LGBTQ+ alongside a whole host of famous faces.

"Hopefully, it'll be thought provoking, nostalgic, a little moving and ideally funny," he says.

"All are welcome, and we have an insanely good line up."

Joining Lycett for the night will be fellow comedians Mawaan Rizwan and Rosie Jones, whilst confirmed to perform are Boy George and Culture Club, Steps and Self Esteem.

Also on the guest list is comedian Mae Martin, Olympic athlete Dame Kelly Holmes, national treasure Danny Dyer, the cast of this year's hit drama Heartstopper, Hollywood legend Dame Joan Collins, comedian Tom Allen, Gina Yashere, drag legends Tia Kofi, Laurence Chaney and Adam All.

"Our line-up is sensational, and I feel spoilt as it is," Lycett admits when pushed on his dream guest.

"My queer icon growing up was Quentin Crisp, but alas he's been dead for some time. I would've loved to meet him and interview him. Thankfully there's some amazing stuff on YouTube, so I can get my fix."

As for throwing the celebration in his home town, "It seems like such a waste. Why do it in Birmingham?" teases the Brummie.

"London would've been better. London is a great city. The capital. All the best things happen there. The Tube! A Soho House on every corner! Pret! What's Birmingham got?"

The Joe Lycett's Got Your Back star is joking, as the former King Edward VI school student still lives in the West Midlands city, despite a busy TV schedule predominantly based in London.

While he's made a name for himself on popular shows such as Live at the Apollo, 8 Out of 10 Cats and Never Mind the Buzzcocks, Lycett has often remained tight-lipped on his relationship status, yet has described himself as pansexual, which means he's attracted to people of all genders and sexes.

"I say bisexual because it's easy for people to understand but I actually don't quite think it's that. Pansexual seems to be the closest thing at this point in the sense that what I'm attracted to changes depending on intangible things," he said back in 2016, with his preferences often forming part of his stand-up routines.

Will he be attending many of the Pride celebrations this year?

"I've already been to a small Pride in Birmingham and I will try to get to the main Pride there later this summer," he answers. "I'm a big advocate for the smaller Pride parties. The big ones are fantastic in lots of ways, but I love it when Pride can come to local communities."

He adds: "I met a lesbian couple at Pride once who had just got married. Their biological families had rejected them and so they decided to go to Pride for their wedding party because, in their words, they wanted to be 'with our family'. That's what it's all about to me."

Joe Lycett's Big Pride Party will air on Channel 4 on Sunday, July 3.

"It's great Channel 4 are championing this. They've been at the forefront of this stuff for a long time, and it was always the channel I loved growing up, commissioning bold shows that no one else would," Lycett reasons.

"So much queer talent is launched by Channel 4, myself included. We should fight for it to remain independent and publicly owned. It does more for us than we know."

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