Monday, December 31, 2007

Truman Capote reads "A Christmas Memory"

Below is a link to a recording of Truman Capote reading his short story A Christmas Memory. It shows a very different Truman Capote from the one depicted in the film Capote; a sensitive and caring Capote; the one who wrote Other Voices, Other Rooms and The Grass Harp.

A Christmas Memory (36min - Real Player required)

The recording is availalbe on the American Public Media website which can be found here and houses many gems.

The LGBT History Month would like to wish you all a happy, safe and prosperous new year.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Sir Ian McKellen to Become a Companion of Honour

Sir Ian McKellen, CBE, patron of LGBT History Month, affectionately known as Serena (a nickname given to him by Stephen Fry), will soon be able to add another honour to the long list of those he has already received. HM The Queen, in her New Year Honours, has made him a Companion of Honour (CH) for services to Drama and to Equality.

The LGBT History Month team would like to extend their congratulations to Sir Ian and thank him again for his support.

* Further honour for actor McKellen - BBC News
* Second royal honour for Sir Ian - BBC News
* Sir Ian McKellen and Kylie on Queen's New Year honours list - PinkNews
* Ian McKellen - Wikipedia

Monday, December 24, 2007

Coming Out at Christmas


The London Gay Men's Chorus singing a new version of Hark the Herald at the Barbican Theatre, London during Make the Yuletide Gay, their Christmas show in December 2006.

Season's greetings to everyone for the LGBT History Month team!

The song was written by New York-based actor, playwright, activist, Craig Sturgis in 1992, using Felix Mendelssohn's Hark the Herald Angels Sing as a basis. Sturgis has often hung new words upon old notes and amongst his other songs are, Jock Itch, Gays for Days and Gay Getaway. His work is popular with the New York Gay Men's Chorus.

Dean X Johnson, who was Assistant Musical Director for the New York Gay Men's Chorus, and accompanist to many Broadway stars including Elaine Stritch, Chita Rivera and Liza Minnelli, made an arrangment for the New York Gay Men's Chorus, which was also used by the London Gay Men's Chorus for their Christmas show in 2005 and 2006. Dean also worked with Eartha Kitt at London's Piccadilly Theatre and at Carnegie Hall. Dean died in 1998 aged only 44.

Coming Out On Christmas

Saturday, December 22, 2007

The Interview: Graeme Le Saux

Graeme Le Saux is a footballer who had a successful career playing for top club Chelsea and representing England -- but he never felt like he fitted in to the British football culture. He wasn't keen on getting drunk or hanging out with his team-mates and he ended up receiving abuse from fans and players throughout his career who chanted gay slurs at him. For BBC World Service, he talks about the impact homophobia had on his life and what his experience says about "the beautiful game".

Download Episode (right click and save)
Duration: 26mins | File Size: 13MB | Format: mp3

The Interview
Footballer Comes Out on Homophobic Bullying

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Dominique Fernandez, Gay Académicien

On 13 December, the Académie Française received an openly gay member who had been elected in March.

The Académie Française, or the French Academy was officially established in 1635 by Cardinal Richelieu, the chief minister to King Louis XIII. It consists of forty members, known as immortels (immortals). New members are elected by the members of the Académie itself. Académicians hold office for life, but they may be removed for misconduct. The body has the task of acting as an official authority on the language; it is charged with publishing an official dictionary of the language. Its rulings, however, are only advisory; not binding on either the public or the government.

Académiciens ear a ceremonial uniform which includes a sword. Each members has the handle of his sword sculpted into representing something he or she find important. Author, Dominique Fernandez, 78, chose a representation of Ganymede, a beautiful youth who was abducted to serve as cupbearer to the gods and as Zeus' beloved.

It is also customery for newly received académiciens to make a speech. In his speech, Fernandez defended his father's memory. Literary critic, Ramon Fernandez, supported collaboration with the German during WWII. While findind his political views inexcusable, Fernandez pointedly defended his work as a writer, today forgotten.

Dominique Fernandez also made reference to his sexual orientation while speaking about his love for Italy, a country which "rarely severly chased heretics; heretics of the faith, heretic of the sex". "In Italy, one always feels welcome, always loved, however little one follows the dominant opinion."

Fernandez came out in 1974 with the release of his novel Porporino or, The secrets of Naples for which he won the Prix Médicis (1975). He talked ab out his belated coming out in his autobiography The Pink Star (1978). In 1999, he campaigned in support of PaCS (Civil Partnership) while admitting in The Wolf and the Dog that legal advances weaken the subversive nature of gayness. In 2002, he published A Hidden Love: Art and Homosexuality, a survey of homosexuality in art.

Dominique Fernandez is of course not the first LGBT member of the Académie. The names of Jean Cocteau, Henry de Montherlant, Marguerite Yourcenar (the first woman elected), Julien Green and Jean-Jacques-Régis de Cambacérès come to mind.

Dominique Fernandez
Académie Française

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Funding Cut Threatens The Drill Hall

Drill Hall logoThe Drill Hall, the UK’s leading producer and presenter of lesbian, gay and queer performance, is to appeal against the Arts Council’s decision to stop its funding from April 2008. The cut comes as part of a review of its funding activities by the Arts Council. 200 arts organisations will be affected but this.

The Drill Hall is a beacon for performance work and arts activities of the highest quality. In autumn 2007 the theatre on Chenies Street is celebrating its 30th anniversary as the UK’s leading producer and presenter of lesbian, gay and queer performance.

Built in 1882 as a drill hall for the Bloomsbury Rifles, the venue is remembered and visited by older ex-soldiers from all over London. The Drill Hall is now run by Central London Arts, which has established the theatre and programme of work that plays a key role in the capital’s cultural life. The building houses two performance spaces: Drill Hall 1, which has 200 seats, and Drill Hall 2, a 50-seat studio space.

Patrons of The Drill Hall are Matthew Bourne OBE, Julian Clary, Patrick Gale, Jackie Kay MBE and Miriam Margolyes OBE.

Performance work that is made and produced at The Drill Hall has established a national and international reputation for championing the work of new artists, performers and theatre practitioners over three decades.

The Drill Hall has also had a long association with the BBC and other radio and TV production companies. The building has been used to record popular shows for BBC Radio 4, such as The News Quiz and The Now Show.

Julie Parker, Artistic Director and Chief Executive, said: “I am shocked and dismayed by this decision, and we will be appealing against it.”

To know what can be done to help, click here.

Drill Hall
Facebook group
Myspace page

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Acting in Hollywood is Like Living in Afghanistan

Jodie Foster's recent discrete mention of her female partner during an acceptance speech, while putting an end to years of rumours ahs also created a media storm and reignited the debate about the paucity of openly out actors in Hollywood.

In an article for The Times, Rupert Everett, one of the few out actors shares his thoughts about this situation and in his view,
acting in Hollywood is like living in Afghanistan

Jodie Foster comes out... finally, The Times, 12 December.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Mel Cheren Dies

Mel Cheren, nicknamed "The Godfather of Dicso" died on 7 December of an AIDS related illness, aged 74. He was the founder of the legendary New York club Paradise Garage and West End Records in the mid 1970's. He was also a prominent New York AIDS activist.

In 2000, Cheren published a memoir called My Life and the Paradise Garage: Keep on Dancin', which wa used as the basis for a documentary entitled The Goldfather of Disco.

Disco pioneer Mel Cheren dies at 74
RIP Melvin Cheren: Dance Music Legend And AIDS Activist
LIFEbeat mourns founding board member Mel Cheren
Mel Cheren profile - West End Records

Monday, December 10, 2007

Civil Partnership, Another Year On - A Study

This December marks the second anniversary of Civil Partnerships in the UK. For occasion, Citizens Advice investigates the impact and unforeseen consequences of the Civil Partnership Act 2005 in a new report entitled “Another Year On”.

The Citizens Advice service is a network of independent charities that helps people resolve their money, legal and other problems by providing information and advice and by influencing policymakers.

The report reveals that while many same sex couples, who are in or who are planning Civil Partnerships, find there are many benefits to Civil Partnership, and welcome it, there are still potential emotional, financial and social costs that come with this radical social change.

Some key issues have been identified by the report. Localised evidence suggests people are struggling with the ambiguity of language surrounding Civil Partnerships, and don’t know how to refer to their circumstance in social situations, due to a lack of conversational terms that are equivalent to the terms of the traditional marriage.

The research also found that gay and lesbian couples, who had formed a Civil Partnership were forced into revealing their sexual orientation, in situations which required disclosure of marital or partnership status.

Citizens Advice is calling for all banks and businesses to use the straight forward solution to amend pro forma to have a single category of “married/civil partner” leaving the sexual orientation of any respondents unspecified.

You can read the report here (pdf 68Kb).

This comes a few weeks after an online article revealed that most major banks are also trying to find there way in this area.

www.citizensadvice.org.uk

Friday, December 7, 2007

United Prides Conference

The next United Prides Conference will be held on Saturday January 19th and Sunday January 20th 2008 in Manchester from noon on the first day and finish with lunch on Sunday. A full programme of seminars, speakers and workshops is currently being created but the organisers would appreciate feedback from the public and Pride events organisers as to what areas they would be particularly interested in discussing.

The conference is sponsored by Pride Life a brand new magazine, initially published biannually, from Programme Master Ltd who produced the acclaimed Pride London guides for the last three years.

Pride Life, distributed free to all the UK's main LGTB outlets and all bars near your event, will feature great articles of interest to the community and will include full coverage of all Pride events around the country. The winter edition will feature feedback from 2007 events. A percentage of profits from Pride Life will be donated to LGBT charities including United Prides to, potentially, help support local events. This will be discussed at the conference.

The sponsorship includes double accommodation, including breakfast, on Saturday night at the new Radisson Edwardian hotel in central Manchester. A room per Pride has been allocated. A drinks reception is scheduled on Saturday evening in the hotels Colonnade Room.

Dinner that evening will be sponsored by Marketing Manchester.

Travel support is available in cases of financial hardship. The organisers also hope to organise a separate 'spouse programme' for delegates' partners.

This conference will mark a massive growth for United Prides organisation. To book for the events or other queries use the email address below.

upton@unitedprides.com

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Bulletin No 41

The latest edition of the LGBT History Month bulletin is now available, as usual packed-full of news, information, notices of upcoming events and quotations.

To access the latest bulletin please click on one of the links below:
word document
pdf file

You can view all previous bulletins here or register to our mailing list here.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Our Pride in Preston


On Thursday December 6th between 7 and 9pm, Preston FM will be broadcasting Our Pride in Preston, a programme made by Preston LGBT Centre Group originally intended to be staged during LGBT History Month but instead adapted for radio. The programme is a series of linked monologues featuring people like Jackie Forster, Christine Jorgensen, Quentin Crisp and Walt Whitman.

Preston FM is a community radio based in Lancashire broadcasting programmes created and presented by volunteers from the local communities. It aims at providing skills development and volunteering opportunities for all and media support for local organisations while reflecting the local diversity.

You can hear it locally on 87.9FM, or live on the Internet at www.preston.fm.

Monday, December 3, 2007

LGBT Victims of Franco Receive Recognition

Almost tow months ago, we published a post about Spanish people who had been imprisoned by the Franco regime for their sexual orientation and who had been seeking recognition and compensation for this for the past 30 years.

On 14 November, the Spanish parliament finally granted financial compensation to those people. According to Antonio Ruiz, president of the association of former social prisoner which spear-headed the compaign, this measure will affect about 50 people, the remaining survivers. They will recieve €800 per month for the rest of their life. €2M have been allocated for this by parliament for 2008. To receive compensation, people will have to request from the Spanish Ministry of Justice a copy of their file and of their condemnation.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Maggi Hambling - A Life in Pictures

After a lifetime of hell-raising, hard living and even harder drinking, one of Britain's top female artists reflects on those things that have been closest to her and which are now gone - her parents, cherished friends such as George Melly, her trademark cigarette and, most touchingly, her lover and muse Henrietta Moraes.

You can read Maggi Hambling's interview in today's Observer here.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Full Text of the Attorney General's Speech

It was a complex feeling to hear the Attorney General speak at the pre-launch of LGBT History Month. Of course it was a privilege but it was also difficult not to think about the past and what previous Attorney Generals and the legal system of this country did to many innocent members of our community.

Baroness Scotland herself did not forget the past in her speech, the full text of which is now available here (word document - 40Kb).

World AIDS Day



Be safe.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Forum and Calendar down today

Due to maintenance work on our servers, both the Forum and Calendar will be off line today. We apologies for any inconvenience this may cause.

Pre-launch: Web Review

Below is a quick round up of what the internet has to say so far about our launch on Monday:

Press
* Lesbian, Gay History Month 2008 Launched - UK Gay News
* Ministers praise LGBT History Month at launch event - PinkNews.co.uk
* Attorney General backs homophobic incitement law - PinkNews.co.uk
* Lesbian, Gay History Month 2008 Launched in UK - Gay and Lesbian News Blog


blogs
* Lesbian Gay Bisexual Trans, History Month: The Photos - Slightly Lost in the World
* The Children Want to Know - Aimless Ramblings of Zefrog

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Trevor Phillips supports LGBT History Month

Trevor Phillips, Chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, gives his support for LGBT History Month 2008.

The newly formed commission's remit is to "champion equality and human rights for all, working to eliminate discrimination, reduce inequality, protect human rights and to build good relations, ensuring that everyone has a fair chance to participate in society". It brings together and replaces the Disability Rights Commission, the Equal Opportunities Commission and the Commission for Racial Equality, extending its areas of competence to all six strands of diversity: race, disability, gender, sexual orientation, age and faith and belief.

I'd like to congratulate all those who have worked so hard to make LGBT History Month happen.

When we celebrate and learn about history, it is important to include everybody. No one in Britain should feel excluded from our national story.

A recent Stonewall report showed that two thirds of lesbian and gay secondary school children face bullying. 97% of these young people reported regularly hearing words of homophobic abuse. This must stop; but the sad truth is it does not end at school. Many go on to suffer the stress and torment of such unfair treatment in their adult lives.

The question is, how do we end it? In my view, the law has a part to play, but in equal measure so does education and awareness. Social attitudes, have, for the most part begun to change, but this is not a signal to stop working for full equality. LGBT History month is an excellent way to get people of all ages and backgrounds to start thinking about these issues.

All too often certain groups and communities have been written out of the pages of history. LGBT History month will do so much to redress this imbalance, and I am certain it will be a great success.

Thank you

Trevor Phillips
Equality and Human Rights Commission

First gay Somali website launched

Somali Gay CommunityA website aimed at improving communication between Somalian gay men has now gone live.

The site, the first of its kind for the Muslim East African nation, is aimed at the UK Somalian gay community and it is hoped that it will reach those who feel trapped in the homophobic country and show that there are others like them.

A spokesperson for the site, Somaligaycommunity.org, told Pinknews.co.uk: "It is a shame that we are still confronted with so much hate and discrimination for the fact that we are gay, but I believe the only way to overcome this is by educating ourselves and others and having a website like this will play such an important role."

black men holding handsSomaligaycommunity.org is meant to act as a contact and information point for what he feels is a community "in a state of limbo", due to not being attached to the Somali community in the UK or the mainstream gay community.

He says that the vitriolic responses written by some people on the website have been "really shocking."
"I think these people should be respectful of the countries they are in and not say such things."

Some visitors to the site have called it "disgusting", with others calling homosexuality an "evil disease."

www.somaligaycommunity.org
With thanks to PinkNews.co.uk

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Press Release: Pre-Launch an enormous success

Pre-Launch of LGBT History Month 2008 an enormous success.

The Main Hall of the Royal Courts of Justice in the Strand was packed Monday night as LGBT History Month 2008 enjoyed its highly successful Pre-Launch. This year the Pre-Launch was hosted by the London Criminal Justice Board, the London Crown Prosecution Service and Channel 4 and catered to nearly 400 people, all keen to hear our speakers and to work towards LGBT History Month 2008.

It was a very mixed group with people from the criminal justice system, equality workers, educators, the media in all its forms and our LGBT communities. The setting for the evening was prestigious indeed and the evening lived up to that promise.

LGBT History Month has always been fully supported by the criminal justice system with the Crown Prosecution Service sponsoring us from the beginning.

Past Pre-Launches have also attracted large and enthusiastic numbers. The first took place at the Tate Modern, hosted by Southwark Council, then the Metropolitan Police and the Metropolitan Police Authority hosted the second at their Empress State Building, with the TUC hosting the third at Congress House. But this year’s surpassed them all!

We were graced with the presence of two government ministers – the Attorney General, Baroness Scotland, and Barbara Follett from the Ministry of Equalities, both of whom praised LGBT History Month and talked of its importance in the development of social cohesion, the creation of a fairer and more just society and giving lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people the recognition they deserve.

Dru Sharpling, the Chief Prosecutor for London, welcomed people to the event on behalf of the London Criminal Justice Board and talked of the amazing strides that have been made by the criminal justice system in supporting LGBT equality. All three made it very clear that there was still a lot of work to do and praised our LGBT communities for all they have done so far.

Other speakers were Richard Kirker from the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement, Prof Stephen Whittle, a trans campaigner of many year’s standing, Rikki Beadle Blair, playwright, director and performer and Elly Barnes, a teacher who has inspired her school to celebrate LGBT History Month fully and is now working to make sure that other schools in her division do the same. She was a real inspiration.

The Diversity Choir entertained people as they arrived to a rage of music suitable for such a venerable place and closed proceedings with two highly appropriate offerings. Firstly “There’s a place for us” by Leonard Bernstein, whose 90th anniversary comes up in 2008 and in recognition of women gaining the vote on the same basis as men in 1928 “The March for Women” by Ethel Smythe, composer, suffragette and lesbian.

“This was a superb event,” commented Paul Patrick, co-chair of LGBT History Month. “To think that all this has been accomplished in only three years of existence. We are very proud of our relationship with the criminal justice system and all they have achieved and we look forward to the day when education, that should be at the heart of all this work, catch up!”

Pictures of the event are available here.

First Gay Rights March in Britain

27th November marked 37 years since the first ever public gay rights protest in Britain took place on Highbury Fields in London. It had been organised by the 150 members of the then newly formed British Gay Liberation Front.

A plaque put up by OutRage commemorates the event and is aptly located on the side of Islington Victim Support building. The plaque faces the junction of Highbury Place and Highbury Crescent where they meet Highbury Corner roundabout, very close to Highbury and Islington tube station.

Plaque reading: The first gay rights demonstration took place here, in Highbury Fields, on 27th November 1970 when 150 members of the Gay Liberation Front held a torchlight rally against police harassment.
The plaque reads "The first gay rights demonstration took place here, in Highbury Fields, on 27th November 1970 when 150 members of the Gay Liberation Front held a torchlight rally against police harassment."

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Appeal to buy unique John Fletcher portrait


The National Portrait Gallery has launched an appeal to save the only known portrait from life of the playwright John Fletcher.

Fletcher lived close to the Globe Theatre in Park Street, Southwark, sharing his life with fellow playwright Francis Beaumont.

The unknown artist shows Fletcher as a prosperous and well-dressed man with paper and pens. If the portrait is acquired it will be hung as part of a special display with Shakespeare and Ben Jonson. The picture is on offer for £218,000 and, although some funding has already been found, the Gallery must raise £50,000 by Sunday 20 January.

The portrait is on show in the Tudor Gallery at the National Portrait Gallery.

Donations can be made online here where further information are also available.

John Fletcher on Wikipedia.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Pre-launch: First Pictures

The first pictures of tonight's highly successful event at the Royal Courts of Justice are now available on our photo pool (see slideshow on the right hand side menu).
If you attended the event and took pictures yourself, you are invited to share them there too.

More pictures by one of our friends can be viewed here.

Ministers lend support to LGBT History Month

Senior politicians, broadcasters, legal professionals, teachers and gay rights advocates will gather in central London later next week to raise awareness of next year's LGBT History Month.

The pre-launch event will be hosted by the London Crown Prosecution Service, the London Criminal Justice Board and Channel 4 at the Royal Courts of Justice.

The fourth Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans (LGBT) History Month just over three months away and the pre-launch is designed to encourage local authorities, public and voluntary organisations, schools, universities, unions and individuals to organise their own events to mark history month next February.

The minister for equality Barbara Follett will speak at the event alongside the Attorney General Baroness Scotland and Professor Stephen Whittle OBE, the founder of trans rights group Press for Change.

LGBT History Month is described as an opportunity for everyone to celebrate the diversity of our communities by acknowledging the achievements and contributions of LGBT people, past and present.

Sue Sanders from LGBT History Month said: "LGBT History Month is a wonderful opportunity to learn about the lives and wealth of experiences of LGBT people up and down the centuries and throughout the world. Whether you are LGBT or straight, such knowledge is vital if we are to understand the diversity of everyone's history."

Dru Sharpling, Chief Crown Prosecutor and member of the London Criminal Justice Board, said: "LGBT History Month is an opportunity for a UK celebration of the contributions LGBT people have made in all walks of life. We in London are fortunate to live in a particularly diverse community, and the CPS is delighted to support this celebration of LGBT achievements. Trust between agencies and members of the community is increasing with the vigorous efforts made by the Criminal Justice services to prosecute hate crimes."

Short films will be shown after the speakers that explore young LGBT people's experiences, including Stamp Out Homophobia, Trans Journeys and Black Booty. In celebration of the 100th anniversary of his birth, we will be showing Quentin Crisp's Alternative Queen’s Message.

With thanks to PinkNews.co.uk

Saturday, November 24, 2007

First London Lesbian Art Festival

The first London Lesbian Art Festival wil open on 30th November at the Pierre Garroudi Gallery.

Whole festival is devoted entirely to the contemporary art by lesbian artists. It includes both English and international well-established and known artists like Caroline Halliday, Irene Waters, Ewa Podles or Lauren Dresher as well as new, very talented and promising artists like Erica Bohr, Kelly-Anne Davitt or Tina Mammoser.

It is the first chance and opportunity to see most talented contemporary lesbian artists put in one place – in the amazing and magic space of Pierre Garroudi Gallery.

Pierre Garroudi Gallery
Arch 6 Crucifix Lane
London SE1 3JW
020 7378 1187

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Maurice Béjart Dies


Maurice Béjart
1927 - 2007



One of the most influencial dancers and choreographers of the 20th century.

Maurice Béjart - Wikipedia
Maurice Béjart - The Times

Let’s Pretend! - Fifth Annual LGBT History and Archives Conference

Back in 1988, Section 28 of the Local Government Act stated that a local authority was not permitted to “promote the teaching ... of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship.” The London Metropolitan Archives’ Fifth Annual LGBT History and Archives Conference, this year, sets out to explore the experience of LGBT families and family life and how these important histories might be recorded for future generations.

The agenda for the event goes as follows:

9.30 am Welcome, Arrival and coffee
10 am Evlynn Sharp with LGBT writers — ‘My Idea Of Family’
Kairos in Soho hosted a creative community event exploring the dynamics of LGBT family relationships across generations. Poems, words, ideas and art emerge. LGBT people’s expressions of family show a commitment to share and learn from our realities. Along with participants who offer readings of their poems, Evlynn represents the highlights of ‘My Idea Of Family’ and interweaves with her own poetic reflections.

10.20 am Vanda Carter — Elephants in the Bedroom — Writing for children of LGBT families
We dimly remembered the dreary photo-realism of “Jenny lives with Eric & Martin” in the Eighties and the media storm which followed its British publication. We found a few picture books from America and Canada , published in the Nineties, sagging with the leaden weight of ISSUES and horrid illustrations reminiscent of local authority clip art. We found hardly any books which showed, let alone celebrated, the existence and lives of same-sex parent families like us. There was almost nothing which we could bear to read to our children or felt that we could recommend to their nurseries and schools. So, we thought, something must be done…

11 am Matt Cook — ‘Exiles from kin’? Gay men and the family
This talk looks at how gay men came to be seen as ‘exiles’ from kin, disconnected from domestic life, but also suggests that their involvement in home and family has a long history, providing precedents for more recent ‘families’ of choice.

11.45 am Coffee
Noon Bernard and Terry Reed — ‘The Work of GIRES’
Gender variance in children, adolescents or adults usually causes acute stress for other members of their families. The reactions of other family members often intensifies the stress that gender variant people already feel. Communication within the family is difficult. The Gender Identity Research and Education Society has supported over 200 such family members by providing information and running workshops. Bernard and Terry Reed are the parents of a trans woman. As trustees of GIRES, they play leading roles in its education programmes and are the authors of much of its literature. They work with many government agencies in the development of policies to support transgender people. Gender Identity Research and Education Society http://www.gires.org.uk

12.45 pm David Fullman Equality & Diversity Officer, Age Concern Norwich ‘Fulfilment and Fear’ — The Ups and Downs of Growing Older

This presentation explores concepts of the family for aging LGBT people. As we get older we may all need extra support and help. But what happens when these structures fail? There will be time for questions at the end.

1.30 pm Lunch
2.30 pm Break Out Sessions
Break out sessions provide an opportunity to discuss the day’s themes and related issues in more depth. This year sessions include:

A creative workshop with poet Evlynn Sharp. Following on from her presentation earlier in the day, this session explores ideas and shares expressions of family.

Strategies for recording and conserving LGBT history and particularly family / kinship histories. There will also be a chance to discuss issues around the defining and keeping of personal histories with speaker Matt Cook.

A workshop / discussion with Ajamu of Rukus Federation around the idea of moving between ‘real’ and ‘imagined’ families. In most families stories and experiences are passed down from generation to generation. If gay people feel disconnected from these stories what do they pass on? If gay people create alternative families how do people relate to each other and what stories do they tell? And how do stories and experiences impact on how we view our own history, heritage and lived experience? If you are interested in this workshop bring along three small but personally important objects to share with the group.

3.30 pm Tea and music
Enjoy an interlude with the London Gay Symphony Orchestra string quartet.
4 pm Panel
The panel session will provide an opportunity for groups to feed back, raise new questions and to draw some conclusions from the day's discussions.

There are also free children's workshops.

Let’s Pretend!
Saturday 1 December 2007
9.30 am – 4.30 pm
Venue: St Bride Foundation, Bride Lane Fleet Street , London EC4Y 8EQ

Tickets: £10; Concessions £7.50; Children Free (pre-booking essential)
How to book:
T. 020 7332 3820
E. ask.lma@cityoflondon.gov.uk

London Metropolitan Archives

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Tutu chides Church for gay stance

A few days ago, our post about a rabbi speaking out against a homophobic interpretation of the Bible attracted a righteous comment from a reader, showing that a number of religious people are still finding it difficult to accept homosexuality, strangely, illogically and conveniently hand-picking which of the rules outlined by the Bible should be kept and which should not.

Now, it is Desmond Tutu's turn to join the debate. In an interview for forthcoming BBC Radio 4 programme, the South African Archbishop has criticised the Anglican Church and its leadership for its negative attitude towards homosexuality.

You can read a report on the interview here.

From Calvary To Lambeth will be aired on BBC Radio 4 on Tuesday, 27 November at 8pm.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Second Shropshire Rainbow Film Festival


Building on last year’s success, the Rainbow Film Festival will take place from November 30th to December 6th in Shrewsbury at The Old Market Hall Cinema.

This year’s festival, which is open to everyone, has an exciting line up of award winning films – four of which were premiered at the prestigious BFI London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival earlier this year – and a few old favourites.

‘The Festival offers a diversity of images and experiences, a reflection of our lives, hopes, fears and dreams; the comedy and the tragedy, the laughter and tears – and allows audiences to draw from the experiences of others’, says Sue Gorbing, one of the organisers.

There are more films this year, including a late showing on Saturday December 1st of The Hunger, a ‘fantastic, melancholic and artistic vampire movie’ starring Susan Sarandon, Catherine Deneuve and David Bowie.

Website: www.rainbowfilmfestival.org.uk
Box Office:01743 281281
Email: info@rainbowfilmfestival.org.uk

Monday, November 19, 2007

Camden Community Radio Reports on the Month

logos of the Camden Community Radio and the Camden LGBT ForumIn February 2007, the Camden LGBT Forum organised an event for almost every day of the month. Ben Cooper of the Camden Community Radio went along to the official launch of History Month in Camden, "Out in Camden 3", on 12 February. There he met up with the organisers and some of the guest speakers.

Keith Moffitt, the first openly gay leader of Camden Council, who opened the event talked to Ben about his experience as an openly gay man in politics.

Sue Sanders, co-chair of LGBT History Month and originator of the Month, explained how she got the idea of the Month and what she hopes to achieve through it.

Lou Hart, director of the Camden LGBT Forum, reminded Ben of the importance of celebrating our history which is too often hidden or lost.

Trainee Detective Constable and Community Safety Unit Officer for the Met Police, Emma Whitehead told of her personal experience both inside and outside the Force and encouraged people to report any hate crime they might be victims of.

Neil Mckenna, author of The Secret life of Oscar Wilde, recalled an encounter with prejudice when working as a journalist while Lindsay River, project coordinator for Polari, talks of society's reluctance to recognise that older people (straight or gay) can have sexual desires and of the lack of awareness with carer that there is such thing as older LGBT people.

Lou Hart concluded the programme by highlighting some of the 32 events forming the Froum's contribution to LGBT History Month 07 and the biggest programme of events in the country.

You can listen to the programme here (Real Player file, 7.73mb, 08:46min)

Camden Community Radio
Camden LGBT Forum website

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Jenny, Eric, Martin . . . and me

Today marks the 4th year since the repeal of the infamous Section 28. The amendment to the Local Government Act which stated that a local authority "shall not intentionally promote homosexuality or publish material with the intention of promoting homosexuality" or "promote the teaching in any maintained school of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship".

Her book about a girl living with her father and his gay lover fuelled the outcry that led to section 28, in this article for th Guardian on 31 January 2000, Susanne Bosche wonders what the fuss is all about.

Read the full article here.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

LGBT History Month Scotland

Invitation to submit events

Last February saw around 200 events across Scotland including exhibitions, story-telling events, film screenings, LGBT nights in pubs and clubs, workplace meetings and training, as well as displaying posters.

It is also an opportunity for LGBT people and their families to tell their stories on what life was like for LGBT people in Scotland before LGBT equality was in the public consciousness and their continued personal and political struggles.

The LGBT History Month team is here to support you in telling Scotland that there is no place for discrimination against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender people.

We can do this in the following ways:
* Promote your event on our new website - soon to be launched.
* Provide you with the LGBT History Month logo for display on your materials.
* Provide you with LGBT History Month resources.
* Provide ideas and advice on how to organise your event.
* Provide you with any feedback from participants about your event.

We will be producing a newspaper for distribution across Scotland. It will
include listings of all LGBT History Month events

This coming February is going to be even bigger and better than last year,
but we need your help to make it a success.

To register your event, please donwload a form from here.

If you would like to organise an event in your workplace, city or local community please get in touch and we will provide the support you need to make your idea a reality.

* Get it organised - February is just round the corner. We are here to support you in whatever way we can - if you are unsure as to what you could do for LGBT History Month - get in touch and have a chat. If you already are involved with or have organised an event why not remember LGBT History Month and put the logo on your publicity. This will send out a
strong message that your event welcomes and celebrates a diverse audience.

* Get it listed - LGBT History Month will publicise all events online and to our extensive email lists. We aim to produce a newspaper to publicise History Month and the events taking place across Scotland that are open to the public. The LGBT History Month website will list all events across Scotland, both private internal events and public events. Our new
website will go live soon so remember to check back on www.lgbthistory.org.uk later in November.

* Be part of it - Our hope is to make LGBT History Month 2008 the best yet. Have a read though the toolkit (request by emailing keith.boyd@lgbtyouth.org.uk) and see how you can be part of the celebration. You do not have to be LGBT to be involved. Unity is our strength and together we can demonstrate our commitment to an inclusive Scottish society.

Show Scotland that you support equality for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender people.

LGBT History Month Scotland Evaluation - 2006/07

We want to hear back from everyone who participated in anyway in LGBT History Month in previous years. Whether you organised posters to go up in your office, took part in LGBT Awareness training or organised a big public event please do let us know how it went.

Did you put up posters? Were there any comments about this?

We have produced a quick online survey that will help us serve your needs as LGBT History Month event organisers even better next year.

WHY FILL OUT AN EVALUATION FORM?

* It will help us to provide better support
* It will help us obtain continued funding for LGBT History Month
* It will influence the future vision of LGBT History Month events
* It will help us and you to better engage with a wider range of Scottish society

ORGANISERS please click the following link or cut and paste to your browser to tell us what you did and how it went:
www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=mcuAW92yQfdUzoBe_2bFQ8Xw_3d_3d

PARTICIPANTS please click the following link or cut and paste to your browser to tell us what you thought of the event you attended:
www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=pPSZ_2fzq_2fudAbjw5LOlme4A_3d_3d

Thank you for your time and anticipated involvement in LGBT History Month Scotland. Please do get in touch with me at keith.boyd@lgbtyouth.org.uk or on 0141 548 8121 should you have any queries or questions.

Please forward to your networks and email lists around Scotland.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Gay Poets' Home to Celebrate Their Legacy

A few months ago, its future was uncertain. Now the Camden Town home of French 19th century poets Arthur Rimbaud and Paul Verlaine where the two poets spend a few months of their tumultuous relationship, is to become a centre for poetry.

The house, located at No8, Royal College Street was previously owned by the Royal Veterinary College. It was sold last year to property developer Michael Ogun who has now abandoned his project to redevelop the building and sold it to retired civil servant Michael Corby. Corby's plans include performance spaces for poetry events in the building and collaborations with various arts organisations to run the new centre.

Poets’ legacy will live on at their old home - The Camden News Journal
London home to be saved in honour of poetic lovers - The Independent

Thursday, November 15, 2007

bulletin No 40

The latest edition of the LGBT History Month bulletin is now available, as usual packed-full of news, information, notices of upcoming events and quotations.

Our apologies for the delay in sending this issue out to you.

To access the latest bulletin please click on one of the links below:
word document
pdf file

You can view all previous bulletins here or register to our mailing list here.

LGBT History Month offer at the National Theatre

The Royal National Theatre presents a double bill of short, sharp and provocative plays where the drama of teenagers’ lives takes centre stage.

CHATROOM by Enda Walsh – A chilling and powerful tale of manipulation and the ultimate act of teenager rebellion.

CITIZENSHIP by Mark Ravenhill – A bittersweet comedy about growing up, following a boy’s frank and messy search to discover his sexual identity.

picture of the castNew Views: Student-curated Platforms
Discussions following the plays and curated by students aged 16 – 18.
Monday 26 November and Friday 7 December 9.15pm
FREE to audience members or £3.50/£2.50.

LGBT HISTORY MONTH OFFER
Tickets are £10 when you book and quote ‘LGBT Offer’.
Offer valid for all performances from 20 November to 27 November.

Visit the plays' micrositeThe plays' microsite offers interviews with the cast and playwrights, production pictures and e-trailers.

Tickets for all performances are £10 for students and under 18 year olds.

Chatroom/Citizenship
20th November to 2nd January
Royal National Theatre
Upper Ground, London SE1 9PX
Box office: 020 7452 3000

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

New Research on the Deportation of French Gay Men During WWII

Mémorial de la Déportation Homosexuelle  logoOn 7 November, the French association Le Mémorial de la Déportation Homosexuelle (MDH) published the results of historical researches by the Fondation pour la Mémoire de la Déportation (FMD) on deportations for homosexuality in WWII France. Although deportation for such reason was quite rare and not as systematic as for other groups (less than 1% of all deportations), it is nowadays recognised as a historical fact.

The team from the Mémorial de Caen (French equivalent of the Imperial War Museum), which conducted the research, focused its attention on a number of deported homosexual men, managing to piece their story together. This piece of research is based on a 2001 report which had brought to light a list of 210 victims of deportation for homosexuality. The new report highlights the plight of 63 men only in order to present stories that are both complete and unquestionable.

The study tells us that of these 63 men, 22 were arrested in Alsace-Moselle (which had been annexed by the Reich at the time), 35 within the Riech istself and 6 in occupied France itself (including Paris). Most of them were sent to camps while the others went to German prisons. 9 of the 11 men who died during their deportation, did so in a concentration camp.

Among the stories brought to light by this new research are those of a actor who was arrest in 1944 in Paris because of his affair with a German. Another man was arrested in a clandestine tea dance by the Paris Vice Squad before being handed over to the German forces. 15 French gay men were sent to Germany as part of the Compulsory Labour Service. Only 4 of them survived this experience although the fate of 3 of them remains unknown.

In 1964, a man from Strasburgh tried to apply for compensation from the government as other deported people were entitled to do. His claim was denied twice at regional and national level. He then went to his local Administrative Tribunal but died on 9 February 1965 (aged 68). Because he had no family or heir, the case disappeared with him.

The Mémorial de la Déportation Homosexuelle sees the results of this new research as a belated validation of the convictions it voiced since its creation in 1989. The decades following the end of the second World War saw deportation for homosexuality being considered as taboo if not altogether denied.

Dozens of cases remains to be examined which is why the MDH has asked the French Ministry of Defense to include the research of deportation for homosexuality to its forthcoming agreement with the Fondation pour la Mémoire de la Déportation.

You can read the press release by Mémorial de la Déportation Homosexuelle here (in French)

See also
* Mémorial de Caen (in English)
* Fondation pour la Mémoire de la Déportation (in French)
* Towards Further Recognition of the Deportation of Homosexuals in France
* History of homosexual people in Nazi Germany and the Holocaust
* Pierre Seel
* Déportation des homosexuels: le gouvernement souhaite une plaque commémorative
* One Day They Were Simply Gone, The Nazi Persecution of Homosexuals, Rictor Norton
* Memorial For Gay Victims of the Holocaust in Berlin
* Nazi Persecution of Gays 1933-1945 - United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
* The Nazi Persecution of Gays - Annotated Bibliography of Nonfiction Sources

Books
* Liebe Macht Frei: the biography of Janni Kowalski by Jeremy Harder, Old Forge Publishing
* The Pink Triangle: The Nazi War Against Homosexuals, Richard Plant, Mainstream Publishing
* The Men with the Pink Triangle: The True Life-and-Death Story of Homosexuals in the Nazi Death Camps, Heinz Heger. Gay Men’s Press
* I, Pierre Seel, Deported Homosexual, Pierre Seel, Basic Books.
* An Underground Life: Memoirs of a Gay Jew in Nazi Berlin, Gad Beck, University of Wisconsin Press
* The Other Victims: First-Person Stories of Non-Jews Persecuted by the Nazis, Ina R. Friedman, Houghton Mifflin Juvenile Books
* The Hidden Holocaust, Gunter Grau, Cassell

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

International Transgender Day of Remembrance

Sunday 18th November marks the International Transgender Day of Remembrance. This will be the ninth year that a day has been set aside to honour the memory of all those transpeople killed by violence every year and to affirm our resolve to report transphobic crime. Over 400 people are named as having been killed, with many more remaining unknown.

A vigil will take place in Manchester in Sackville Park (off Canal Street, Manchester) at 3.45pm. The One Minute’s Silence and reading of the names of the deceased will take place at 4pm by the Beacon of Hope. This will take place by candlelight so please bring a candle and holder if you are able to. The event will be followed by refreshments. All are welcome. People should feel free to bring a reading, flowers or another appropriate memento. Contact tgdor@morf.org.uk or 07790 352471 for more information.

A service will take place in London from 2.30pm at Oxford House, Derbyshire Street, Bethnal Green, London. As in previous years, this event will be held in the secular Chapel Space and will consist of readings, music and an opportunity to honour and remember our trans brothers and sisters. If you would like to read or speak at the event, please contact info@transfabulous.co.uk. There is time to spend together after the service. Tea will be provided but any cakes are most welcome. www.transfabulous.co.uk

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Additions to the LGBT History Month Website

We are always working to improve the website and make it more interesting and user-friendly and to bring you the information you want. We have just gone live with two new facilities to make the site more interactive.

A few weeks ago, a new button appeared on the front page of our website, giving you access to our new forum. Visitors are invited to leave comments and talk to each other, to seek advice on the organising of events, find guests ideas and contacts, raise topics for discussion, respond to a monthly poll and discuss anything and everything relating to LGBT History Month, its events and the people and issues it raises.

Our new calendar for History Month 2008 is now also online. This should enable individuals and organisations to advertise their events for the month and for members of the public to find out what will be happening near them. The calendar is fully searchable by date and location.

Last year we had over 800 events on the calendar, we expect many more this year.

www.lgbthistorymonth.org.uk

Stonewall Hero of the Year: Antony Grey

The Second Stonewall Awards ceremony, hosted by TV presenter Anthony Crank, took place at London’s V&A Museum on 1st November before an audience of 400 people. The event celebrated the positive contributions made by individuals and organisations – both gay and straight – to the lives of gay people in Britain in 2007.

Antony Grey, former Secretary of the Homosexual Law Reform Society, who spearheaded the campaign which resulted in the first partial decriminalisation of homosexuality in 1967 received an award as Hero of the Year. The winners were selected by a panel of judges including Clare Balding, Matt Lucas, Nicky Campbell and Paul Gambaccini. Three awards – for Hero, Bully and Community Group of the Year - were voted for by 6,000 Stonewall supporters from across Britain.

In his acceptance speech, Antony Grey – who received two standing ovations – said that the significant thing about the award was not winning it, but being honoured by the nomination, and he thanked all concerned on behalf of himself and his co-nominees.

One of these, Lisa Power, the policy director of the AIDS charity Terrence Higgins Trust, had said that “history is for interfering in”, and he preferred to think of himself as a modest interferer in history rather than as a hero.

He recalled that during one of the law reform debates of the 1960s, Viscount Montgomery, the Victor of Alamein, had tabled an amendment proposing that the age of consent should be 80, on the ground that by that age, it didn’t really matter what you did. “Well”, Antony said amid laughter, “ I am delighted to say that I recently had my 80th birthday, so that I would now be ‘legal’ even under Lord Montgomery’s proposed law, and it still matters very much indeed to me what I do!”

“The road to homosexual emancipation which I and a few others embarked upon following the Wolfenden Report has been a long and arduous one. But now here we are, and we can be thankful for what has been achieved. At least, we are able to celebrate our identities in this magnificent building, instead of being thrown off the top of it for being who we are – as some of our enemies would like to happen. But the price of liberty is eternal vigilance, and ours is a never-ending struggle not just for our own rights, but for human rights. Stonewall is at the cutting edge of this ongoing fight, and I urge you all to give it your unstinted support.”

Stonewall awards.

Although in bad health, Anthony Grey still finds the time and energy to have his own blogs:
anticant's arena
anticant's burrow

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Some People Are Gay...


Education for All aims to tackle anti-gay bullying in Britain's schools. Click on the image to find out more.
www.stonewall.org.uk/getoverit

See also the clumsily titled: Torchwood star backs homophobic bullying campaign

Friday, November 9, 2007

Premier league club tackles homophobia in football

Reading FC has become one of the first football clubs to actively implement the new Football Association and Gay Footballers Supporters' Network initiative to combat homophobia in football.

The GFSN said it is delighted with the response that Reading has made to the initiative, and urged all other Premier League and Football League clubs to follow Reading's excellent example in their work to tackle homophobia.

GFSN Liaison Officer Richard Howgill said, "These are important steps to tackle homophobia in football.

"There are thousands of gay football fans who regularly attend matches and our objective is to promote a non-discriminatory atmosphere which encourages gay people to participate actively in our national sport.

"Reading prides itself in welcoming people of all walks of life to Madejski Stadium in a relaxed and non-threatening environment and we are grateful for their backing."

The new football season started earlier this year and homophobic abuse is against the rules in every Premier League and Football League club for the first time.

As part of the Football Association's commitment to tackling homophobic abuse at all levels of the game, the decision to amend the ground regulations was approved after consultation with the Premier League and Football League in the early part of last season.

The scheme, in which volunteer liaison officers work with football clubs across England, has received support from all the agencies involved in the game, including the police and the Professional Footballer's Association.

The FA/GFSN initiative is appointing volunteers from the various gay football teams to act as liaison officers with each of the 92 English League Clubs.

The role of each officer will be to work alongside and advise the relevant staff at their assigned club of how best to discourage the homophobic abuse and behaviour that is prevalent at every level in the game.

It is hoped that this scheme will facilitate similar social and attitude change to that of the successful anti-racism campaigns in the last few decades.

The initiative will to bring together the various UK gay football organisations to work together to promote gay football while tackling the on going problems at every level of the game.

More than fifty volunteers from gay teams such as Birmingham Blaze FC, GFC Bournemouth, Leftfooters FC, Leicester Wildecats FC, London Falcons FC, London Titans FC, Merseyside Marauders FC, Nottingham Ball Bois FC, Village Manchester FC, Stonewall FC and Yorkshire Terriers FC last month went to The Valley, home of Charlton Athletic, for a day of workshops and discussions that will form the initial basis of the project.

With thanks to here.

See also the homophobia page on the Football Association's website here.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Gay rabbi hits out at Bible-inspired homophobia

An Orthodox American rabbi spoke out against using the Bible to justify prejudice in a sermon yesterday.

Steven Greenberg, America's first openly gay rabbi, shared his belief that the Bible is open to interpretation and should not be used to condemn homosexuality.

According to The Columbus Dispatch, Mr Greenberg said: "No one can say, 'It says in the Scripture,' to ground any policy. "All we can say is, 'My community says this.'"

Mr Greenberg is the author of a book, Wrestling with God and Men: Homosexuality in the Jewish Tradition, which challenges religious principles that forbid same-sex relationships.

He admits that most difficult to overcome is Leviticus 18:22 which states: "Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; it is detestable."

But according to Mr Greenberg, this passage refers to violent acts of humiliation rather than our present day understanding of what it means to lie with a man.

The talk was given as part of a lecture series at St Stephen's Episcopal Church on the campus of Ohio State University. Reverend George Glazier, pastor of St Stephen's, praised Greenberg's sermon.

Denise Williams, a member of the church said that she was surprised to hear Mr Greenberg say that the Bible is not "truth with a capital T". "But," she continued, "after he went on and described what he meant, I understood. It was given to us to decipher."

Mr Greenberg who was raised in Columbus, Ohio, was the first person to declare his homosexuality while claiming adherence to Orthodox Judaism.

Given Judaism's views on homosexuality, which sees same-sex relationships as an abomination, this has made Mr Greenberg a symbol for the growing Jewish gay movement.

with thanks to PinkNews.co.uk

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

GayWise Festival

gayWise logoGFest - gayWise LGBT Arts Festival will take place between 14th and 20th November in London. The festival showcases Queer/LGBT Arts created by Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender (LGBT) artists and practitioners from diverse backgrounds. Events include screenings of short films, performances, exhibitions and workshops.

For more information, visit www.gaywisefestival.org.uk

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

The Global Politics of LGBT Human Rights - International Conference

The Global Politics of LGBT Human Rights conference
The international conference 'The Global Politics of LGBT Human Rights' will be held on Friday 16 November 2007 at the University of Glasgow. This is being co-organised Kelly Kollman, Lecturer in Politics (Department of Politics), and Matthew Waites, Lecturer in Sociology (Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Applied Social Sciences), both at University of Glasgow.

This conference will bring together academics, non-governmental organisations and activists to explore recent global, European, UK and Scottish developments related to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) human rights governance, activism and discourse. The conference presenters will address the global politics of ‘LGBT Human Rights’ from a social theory perspective, as an empirical problem to be explained and interpreted, and/or from the perspective of political campaigning. Some papers will problematise what is meant by ‘LGBT Human Rights’, and the heteronormative aspects of human rights conventions and discourses. Sessions will consider how ‘LGBT Human Rights’ is situated in contemporary global politics and examine how norms, legal principles and networks of activists form across borders and within international institutions. A panel on Scotland and the UK will discuss the relationship of global developments to domestic political processes, dialogue and social understandings of gender and sexuality.

Full details are in the programme which can be downloaded here (Word document).

The conference is free but places are likely to be limited. To register for a place, email Lesley Scott at the follwoing address: lesley.scott@lbss.gla.ac.uk . Please include details of your relevant interests and organisational affiliations in case numbers have to be limited.

Centre for Gender and Women's Studies at the University of Glasgow

Monday, November 5, 2007

HIV strain 'came from Haiti'

The strain of the HIV virus which predominates in the United States and Europe has been traced back to Haiti by an international team of scientists.

Find out more here.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Sammy Duddy Dies

Sammy Duddy
1945 - 2007


Paramilitary and drag artist.

Sammy Duddy was initially known in Belfast for his drag queen act, performing in the city's clubs as 'Samantha'. However his initial role in loyalism had been during the late 1970's and early 1980's when he served as the public relations officer for the then legal Ulster Defence Association (UDA). Duddy went on to serve as the editor of UDA magazine Ulster for a time and published a book of poetry entitled Concrete Whirlpools of the Mind which received praise for its sensitive treatment of the problems for young working class men drawn into violence.

He died of a heart attack on 17 October and is survived by his second wife, Joyce, and three children.

Links to newspaper obituaries are available from the link above.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Reflections on Gay History

The launch of the LGBT History Month 2006 took place in November 2005 at the Empress State Building in West London under the aegis of the Metropolitan Police Service. Among the speakers who took part in the launch, Rictor Norton, writer and historian of gay culture, spoke about the need for a history month. the following essay is based on his contribution.

As I reflect on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender History Month, two questions constantly recur to me: What is gay history, and Who is it for?

The history of gay history shows up some of the difficulties of striking a balance between two different uses of gay history: one which celebrates the lives of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender people, and is aimed at building pride among LGBT people; and one which exposes the prejudices against LGBT people, and is aimed at raising awareness among straight society at large.

Studies of the history of homosexuality began in Germany in the nineteenth century, and were motivated partly by gay men’s anger at being outlawed. The pioneering history of homosexuality was published in 1836 by Heinrich Hoessli. He was an amateur scholar and a professional milliner and interior decorator. He was prompted to engage in his historical research following the execution in 1817 of a man for killing his male lover in a fit of jealousy. Hoessli believed, perhaps naively, that a knowledge of the noble love of the ancient Greeks might have prevented this sort of incident.

Karl Heinrich Ulrichs, another major writer on gay history in the 1860s, began his research following the prosecution of an acquaintance for homosexual indecency. The other major writings on the history of homosexuality appeared in the Yearbook of the Scientific-Humanitarian Committee under the leadership of Magnus Hirschfeld. Hirschfeld was motivated to begin his studies and his campaign to reform the laws against homosexuality following the suicide of one of his patients, a soldier who was being compelled by his family to get married.

From 1899 to 1923, Hirschfeld’s journal published major articles on gay history, using extensive historical research and anthropoligal investigations, as well as articles on contemporary gay life. Hirschfeld himself wrote a fascinating article on the lesbian subculture of Berlin. Hirschfeld took an all-inclusive attitude towards homosexual history, including not only lesbians and bisexuals as well as gay men, but also transgender individuals. He was a qualified physician, and extensively studied the biological development of what he called “intersex” individuals. He himself was affectionately called “Auntie Magnus”.

Similarly thorough-going studies of LGBT history were undertaken in the Netherlands, in Italy, in France, and even in England and Japan, all of which drew heavily on this German research. But the rise of Nazism put a stop to most serious homosexual research. There is a famous picture of Nazi youths burning books in Opera House Square in Berlin in 1933, but it is seldom realised that most of the books on that bonfire were works that had been looted from Hirschfeld’s Institute for Sexual Science.

Then the writing of LGBT history pretty well disappeared, and wasn’t taken up again until the 1950s, transplanted to America, in the Journal of Homophile Studies published by One Institute in Los Angeles, and in the writings of Harry Hay, the founder of the Mattachine Society, one of the first gay rights organisations. A typical article by Harry Hay was grandly titled “The Homophile in Search of an Historical Context and Cultural Contiguity”. This emphasis on LGBT culture, history and tradition continued practically unchanged in the pages of the San Francisco journal Gay Sunshine in the late 1960s/early 1970s, which published a large number of articles under the rubric “gay roots”, and to which I made regular contributions.

Most gay writers who did research into gay history were concerned to uncover evidence of a continuous tradition of LGBT culture across historical periods. We believed, and many of us still believe, that this historical continuity does exist, and that knowledge of it is a tool for building a collective identity or community in the present and the future. It is certainly true that LGBT history has been regularly censored, suppressed and studiously ignored by mainstream historians, so at the very least it seems right and proper for us to set the record straight, as it were.

It has to be acknowledged, however, that in terms of personal identity, LGBT history is perhaps not as essential today as it would have been thirty or forty years ago. In the 1950s and 1960s people spent many hours, often frustrating, sometimes exciting, looking through books in the library, trying to find descriptions of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people so that we could sort out our own queer identity. But today we no longer have to search very far for representations of people like us, whom we can readily recognise on television, in newspapers and magazines, and on the internet, and in innumerable gay gatherings.

Today we have access to a wide range of models to choose from as we endeavour to shape our personal sociosexual identity. But I think that LGBT history nevertheless continues to play an important role in the development of community identity and social solidarity. The knowledge that we have survived centuries of suppression is in itself inspiring, and is in itself one of the coping strategies in our determination to achieve social change in the future.

However, the use of LGBT history as a tool in support of social change in the wider society sometimes has unfortunate consequences. I am particularly uneasy when I look closely at some writings on gay history and realise that their subject is not the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, but the oppression of gay people, or society’s prejudice against gay people. In the angriest days of gay liberation some gay historians wrote articles with titles such as “Gay Genocide from Leviticus to Hitler”. But this kind of gay history is not so much the history of homosexuality, as the history of homophobia. We should regularly remind ourselves that these are two distinctly different things, and indeed many of us look forward to a day when homosexuality can exist entirely without homophobia.

A study of the perception and repression of homosexuals is really a history of heterosexuals and their peculiar prejudices. To focus upon social prejudice, rather than the institutions and values of the everyday lives of lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender persons, is to construct the homosexual as little more than the victim of persecution. It shifts the focus from queers to queerbashers. In the process, gay people can be all too easily lost sight of. LGBT history is too often reduced to the history of persecution and punishment, just as black history is sometimes reduced to the history of slavery, and Jewish history is sometimes reduced to the history of the Holocaust. There is a great risk in the field of all so-called minority histories, of promoting resentment against society more than celebration of oneself and one’s own community.

My own view is that the history of how lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people have built their own identities and relationships and communities is more empowering than the history of how society has oppressed us. The history of homophobia is only a small part of the larger history of homosexuality, and needs to be kept in perspective to avoid a reductive victimology approach to LGBT history. Further, LGBT history will be a greater resource not only for LGBT people but for the whole of society to the degree that it emphasises the intrinsic values and interest of attaining historical knowledge of LGBT people, and is not simply exploited as a tool for social workers.

My own specialised area of research is homosexualitiy in eighteenth-century England. A major source for my information are the trial records at the Old Bailey. Because my resources are mostly criminal records, it would be very easy for me to assemble statistics on the number of men hanged or exhibited in the pillory during this period, and the number of victims of blackmail. However, my aim is to extract gay history from the homophobic context in which it is embedded.

I am not writing a history of the law, but a history of gay people. I am interested not so much in the punishment of gay men, as in how gay men lived their lives during those periods when the law was not interfering in their lives. I am interested, for example, in discovering facts about the life of a man who was called Princess Seraphina by everyone in his neighbourhood, who served as a bridesmaid at a wedding between two men, who regularly borrowed fancy gowns from his neighbourhood dressmaker and went to masquerades at the Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens, and who lived his life almost entirely within the gay subculture during the 1720s–1730s.

Focusing on just this single individual can reveal a well-organized gay subculture in which gay men regularly went to gay clubs, where they sang and danced together and had a jolly good time, and experienced a sense of camaraderie that even today’s gay community might sometimes envy. It seems to me that once you’ve established that society has been prejudiced against homosexuals throughout most of history, you have barely begun doing gay history.

Reproduced by kind permission. Copyright Rictor Norton. All rights reserved. This essay may not be republished without the permission of the author.

CITATION: If you cite this Web page, please use the following citation:
Rictor Norton, "Reflections on Gay History", Queer Culture. 4 June 2007 http://www.infopt.demon.co.uk/history.htm.


Rictor Norton Ph.D. is a social and literary historian and writer. His doctoral dissertation on homosexual themes in English Renaissance literature was published as The Homosexual Literary Tradition in 1972. He emigrated from Florida to London the following year. After several position in publishing he became a freelance writer and editor in 1995. A new edition of his book Mother Clap's Molly House: The Gay Subculture in England, 1700—1830 was recently published by The Chalford Press.

Rictor Norton's website offers a wide selection of his writings and articles on gay history. The website can be found here.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Little Ashes: Were Dali and Garcia Lorca lovers?

Federico Garcia Lorca and Salvador DaliA gay love affair between two of Spain's most celebrated creative luminaries, painter Salvador Dali and playwright Federico Garcia Lorca, will be depicted in the new film, Little Ashes.

Named after a Dali painting, the film chronicles the 18-year-old Dali's arrival in Madrid in the 1920s and his subsequent friendship with the dramatist Lorca.

As the relationship between the two intensifies, the sexually repressed artist is unable to consummate the affair and instead watches as Lorca sleeps with a female friend.

This interpretation of events, by British screenwriter Philippa Goslett, has already sparked controversy among historians and biographers, many of whom deny that the pair's relationship was anything but platonic.

Although their intimacy has been alleged, Dali repeatedly told interviewers that he rejected Lorca's attempts to seduce him.

"He was homosexual, as everyone knows, and madly in love with me," said Dali in an interview with French surrealist poet Alain Bosquet in 1969. "He tried to screw me twice. I was extremely annoyed, because I wasn't homosexual, and I wasn't interested in giving in. Besides, it hurts. So nothing came of it.

"But I felt awfully flattered vis-à-vis the prestige. Deep down I felt that he was a great poet and that I owe him a tiny bit of the Divine Dali's asshole." Goslett is nevertheless positive that their relationship did take a sexual turn. "Having done a huge amount of research, it's clear something happened, no question," she said.

Ian Gibson, a biographer of both Dali and Lorca is, however, sceptical. "It depends how you define as affair," he said. "He [Dali] was terrified of being touched by anyone, so I don't think Lorca got far."

The moustachioed eccentric will be portrayed by Robert Pattison, the 21-year-old actor who played Cedric Diggory in the Harry Potter films, while Lorca will be played by Spanish actor Javier Beltran.

With thanks to PinkNews.co.uk

See also:
Were Spain's two artistic legends secret gay lovers? - The Guardian

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Rock Hudson bedded James Dean to win bet with Liz Taylor

Liz Taylor, James Dean and Rock Hudson
A former Hollywood starlet, Noreen Nash, has revealed that actress Elizabeth Taylor made a bet with closeted gay actor Rock Hudson about which one of them could seduce James Dean. Rock Hudson, James Dean and Liz Taylor met on the set of Dean's last film, Giant, in 1955. Taylor apparently lost her bet only a few days into filming.

Rock Hudson bedded Dean to win bet with Liz Taylor

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Menier Revives La Cage aux Folles for Christmas

The Menier Chocolate Factory will continue its Christmas tradition of major revivals of classic Broadway musicals this year with Jerry Herman’s La Cage Aux Folles. West End veteran Terry Johnson will direct the new production of the 1983 musical comedy, which opens 3 December 2007 (previews from 23 November) and continues in Southwark until 8 March 2008.

Based on the 1973 French play by Jean Poiret and subsequent 1978 French-Italian screen version, the musical focuses on a gay couple - George, the manager of a St Tropez nightclub featuring drag entertainment, and Albin, his star attraction - and the adventures that ensue when George's son brings home his fiancée's ultra-conservative parents to meet them.

La Cage Aux Folles has a book by Harvey Fierstein (Torch Song Trilogy) and music and lyrics by Jerry Herman, whose other classics include Hello Dolly!, Mame and Mack and Mabel. The score features songs including “I Am What I Am”, “The Best of Times”, “Song on the Sand”, “Maculinity” and the title number.

Cast includes: Douglas Hodge as Albin and Philip Quast as Georges.

La Cage Aux Folles
Menier Chocolate Factory
51/53 Southwark Street
London SE1 1RU
boxoffice: 020 79077060 or online

Menier Chocolate Factory
Review

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Homotopia

homotopia
Homotopia, Liverpool’s festival by and for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, will open on 1st November and offer visitors a variety of events including theatre, film, art, performance, photography, heritage and storytelling until the 19th. The festival was founded in 2004 and is now in its third edition.

You can download a copy of the festival programme here (pdf file, 11Mb).

Homotopia

Monday, October 29, 2007

Arte e omosessualità

Art and homosexuality posterThe exhibition Art and Homosexuality, from Van Gloeden to Pierre et Gilles opened last Saturday in Florence, Italy. Until 6 January 2008, 220 works by 150 artists will be on display in the Royal Palace.

The exhibition, originally organized for another city, Milan, and another venue, Palazzo della Ragione, reopens now in Florence after the censorship that closed it immediately after its opening in July this year.

Promoted by Vittorio Sgarbi, curated by Eugenio Viola and organized by Artematica, this exhibition, the most extensive of its kind ever staged in Italy, presents an investigation of the connections between art and homosexuality in the period stretching from the birth of photography through to the present day.

The visual representation of subjects closely associated with homoeroticism is present throughout the history of humanity, although the cultural values it expresses and the underlying meanings are naturally the reflection of the specific historical and socio-cultural contexts. Scenes with homoerotic contents appear on the vases of ancient Greece and in the Persian bas-reliefs, at the dawn of eastern art, in the Italian Renaissance and in the Baroque period. A subtle fil rouge that by way of short circuits and fundamental passages reaches the present day, developing independently and long before the advent of the modern concept of gender’s diversity.

However, what should we identify with the term “homoerotic art”? Works created by artists of whose homosexuality we are certain and in which frequently, but not necessarily, we find something that references an homoerotic taste? Or should we consider the work of artists who are not officially homosexual but whose creations reveal an extraordinary eroticism that encourages such an interpretation? Departing from the homosexuality of an artist for the interpretation of his/her work triggers a series of particularly thorny questions. Knowledge of the (homo)sexual orientation of the artist generally alerts us to the possible presence of a metaphorical representation of homosexuality. What kind of relationship is established between the biography of the artist and the interpretation of his/her work?

The criteria for the selection of the works exhibited does not consider this relationship, but is instead based on the specific characteristics of the individual works, identifying, beyond the conventional identities of gender, a thematic strand within a common mode of feeling, of expressing states of being, attitudes and emotions, without any claim to define the canons of a “homosexual specific” within the art. On the basis of this approach, a number of works exhibit openly homoerotic contents, while in others this is expressed obliquely through specific codes, symbols, allusions, allegories and metaphors. An itinerary that from the Arcadian photographs of Baron von Gloeden explores the territories of homoerotic photography, from Herb Ritts and Bruce Weber to Mapplethorpe, from Jack Pierson to Bruce Labruce, with a glance at the camp aesthetic of James Bidgood revived in more recent years by David Lachapelle. Artists who are working in a historical period in which it is possible to freely treat gay, lesbian or transgender themes, presenting anxieties and questions that are preponderant and frequently crucial for much of the art of the end of the last century and the opening of the new millennium.

An exemplary itinerary of images through the evolution of perception and the consequent representation of existential diversity, from Carol Rama to David Hockney and Andy Warhol, by way of the roaming identities of Ugo Rondine, Yasumasa Moritura and Eva & Adele, highlighting the work of the latest generation of artists who use homoerotic love as an expedient for questioning superstructures of race, desire, gender and sexual identity and braking down the conventional distinctions between art, eroticism and pornography.

See Also:
Art and Homosexuality - cplonline (includes pictures)

Art and Homosexuality.
From Von Gloeden to Pierre et Gilles

Palazzina Reale of Santa Maria Novella
Piazza Adua 50
Florence, Italy
27 October 2007 – 6 January 2008