Friday 21 October 18:00 - 21:00

Cinema Museum
2 Renfrew Road
SE11 4TH

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Bearded and Flushed at The Cinema Musem

Charity & Causes

Catch the Bearded & Flushed Sisters at our LIVE spoken word event and the premier screening of the brand new Bearded & Flushed short film!

Bearded & Flushed is a partnership between NAZ, Sophia Forum, 4M and Positively UK initially funded by the Public Health England Innovation Fund.

Join us on the 21st October at 6pm for drinks and canapes and for a fabulous evening of inspiring performance and conversation. Women living with HIV challenge menopause stigma and HIV stigma; and will inspire you to live and speak your truth. We will be joined by Consultants in Sexual Health and HIV Medicine Nneka Nwokolo and Shema Tariq for Q&A

In a series of workshops in 2021/22 Bearded & Flushed provided space for 16 women ageing with HIV, to discover their creative voice through a series of writing workshops focussing on living well with HIV and living through the menopause. More and more women with HIV are getting older and experiencing menopause, but they face a double taboo of stigma and invisibility. These writing workshops gave creative expression to one of the most under-spoken and under-researched areas of women's lives.

The result is a life-affirming collection of stories, poems, haikus and love letters by women modelling extraordinary talent, courage and wisdom to countless other women going through the menopause and living with HIV.

Following these workshops, we filmed individual vignettes and a short film featuring the work and stories of some of the women from the courses, directed by Tom Line.

In 2018 approximately 11,100 women of potentially menopausal age (45-56) attended for HIV care in the UK, a 5-fold increase over 10 years. Women living with HIV are more likely to be at risk of early menopause than women without HIV. There are currently an estimated 30,400 women living with HIV in the UK, of those 1,800 are undiagnosed and 19,100 are Black African Women. This project took a fresh approach to growing older with HIV.

Using peer support, sex-positive language and positive psychology to build safe places, the women explored living with HIV and the menopause. Over the course of the workshops, the groups grew in confidence with their writing, through games and exercises, and in the support, they gave each other. Their shared experience of living with HIV and journeying through the menopause highlighted similarities and differences culturally and emotionally, which provided a rich platform to write from.

Bearded & Flushed produced two live online performances of their writing, one for World Aids Day 2021 and one for Valentine's Day 2022 called Love Letters To Lady Parts. Both events were an enormous success and highlighted the immense health and wellbeing benefits of creative writing and peer support.

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