The report on the organisation of LGBT History Month 2007 is now available here together with reports on the previous years.
Also available are shorter reports provided to us by local organisations highlighting their own activities in the celebration of our history. The reports are important tools for securing the financial support indispensable to the on going existence of the Month. We hope that the reports can be a source of information and inspiration for organisations wanting to get involved in the celebration of the Month.
This year's report traces the evolution and success of the Month while highlighting some of the events which took place this February and how the mainstream media is warming to the idea of celebrating LGBT lives and achievements. The document also looks foward to the future by outlining planned developments, especially in respect of the online presence of the Month.
We are assured that LGBT History Month is now a fundamental - and increasingly mainstream - event; not just in the sphere of education but throughout the entire public sector. Its central aim - which is to make lesbians, gays, bisexuals and trans people visible in our present and in our past - remains crucial.
Now that we are becoming part of the mainstream, we can also stake our claim to inspire others in the field of LGBT equality. LGBT History Month has had a great impact: on the LGBT community; on LGBT equality; on helping inform Government policy; and on inspiring other stakeholders to take initiatives and realise ideas and dreams.
Thursday, June 28, 2007
The report on the organisation of LGBT History Month 2007 is now available here together with reports on the previous years.
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
We have also just received the badges for LGBT History Month 2008 with a brand new logo designed, like the previous one, by designer Tony Malone.
While History Month will keep its current logo, each edition of the Month will from now on have its own logo. The February 2008 logo cleverly highlights the diversity of the LGBT Community by playing with the fact that this will be the fourth edition of the Month.
The badges are available for sale, together with History Month T-shirts, from this page. They cost £2.50 each including package and postage.
Should you want to place an order please send a cheque made out to LGBT History Month to BM LGBT History Month London, WC1N 3XX. Please specify how many badges you require.
Of the incidents reported women are 7 times less likely to report homophobic violence to the police even though it is apparent through the LGBT community that actual incidents between male and female are at a similar level.
Susan Paterson from the Diversity and Citizen Directorate of the MPS explains that it is vital to gain a better understanding of women’s experience of homophobia or transphobia which is why they have commissioned the market research company Stormbreak Research and Consultancy who use gay fieldworkers and understand the LGBT community to implement a survey within London which investigates womens' experiences of homophobia and transphobia.
The survey is strictly confidential.
To request a questionnaire contact:
Stormbreak: 020 88 55 49 82
Alternatively you can download the form here.
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
From the Press for Change website:
As readers will know, I am a keen promoter of online audio content as an innovative way of making events and people's ideas widely accessible within communities like ours. We recently made the whole of the 2007 SOGIAG Stakeholder Conference available in this way, for instance -- a technique that can easily double or treble the audience for an event like that and make it accessible to people who otherwise couldn't attend.
Quite apart from that straightforward documentary angle, however, I'm also very keen about using the medium to promote the voices of important figures in our communities too. For trans people this is especially important, given that mainstream media allows us only limited roles -- mostly as victims -- and otherwise renders us invisible. That's why I'm progressively taking any opportunity that comes along to interview people in ways that present a more complete picture
Many more newly produced interviews and presentations are online today -- adding four interviews with significant US figures and a full 30 minute presentation of mine on contemporary campaign issues, as delivered at last Saturday's Transgender 2007 conference in Norwich.
* Index of podcasts
* SOGIAG feature
Press for Change
Monday, June 25, 2007
The Observer has published a series of articles to mark the 40th anniversary of the partial decriminalisation of sexual acts between men.
Coming out of the dark ages by Geraldine Bedell brings together the experiences of Antony Grey, Alan Horsfall and Leo Abse in an detailed evocation of the circumstances which led to the Sexual Offences Act 1967 receiving its Royal assent on 28 July 1967.
Current leading gay figures give their own perspective in What liberation did for us... while Philip French remembers his friendship with Jeremy Wolfenden, the gay son of the author of the report in We saw the light, but too late for some.
* Quest for Justice: Towards Homosexual Emancipation, Antony Grey, Sinclair-Stevenson, 1992
* Against the Law, Peter Wildeblood, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1955 (republished)
* Live and Let Live: The Moral of the Wolfenden Report, Dr. Eustace
Chesser, Heinemann, 1958
* A Minority. A Report on the Life of the Male Homosexual in Great Britain, Gordon Westwood, with a foreword by Sir John Wolfenden, Longmans, 1960
* www.gaymonitor.co.uk, Alan Horsfall's website.
Friday, June 22, 2007
A statue of Alan Turing, was unveiled on Tuesday 19 at Bletchley Park. Turing was the inspirational mathematician at the heart of Bletchley Park's codebreaking successes during World War II. Historians agree that the work of the codebreakers at Bletchley Park effectively helped to shorten the war by two years.
Alan Turing arrived at Bletchley Park, the site of secret British codebreaking activities during WWII and birthplace of the modern computer, in September 1939 and was soon pursuing his idea of building a machine that would break the Enigma key. He became head of the small Naval Enigma team in Hut 8 and contributed greatly to the breaking of the German Naval Enigma. By August 1940, Turing, together with his friend and colleague, Gordon Welchman, had brought the idea of an Enigma codebreaking machine to fruition with the construction of the Turing-Welchman Bombe, which speeded up the process of breaking into the daily Enigma keys.
In 1952, Turing was convicted of having a sexual relationship with another man, to which he made no defence other than to say he saw nothing wrong in his actions. Turing was sentenced to a treatment that amounted to chemical castration. The conviction robbed him of his security clearance for GCHQ (Government Communications Headquarters, a British intelligence agency), for which he still worked, and made him the target for surveillance at the start of the cold war. He committed suicide by eating an apple laced with cyanide in 1954. The symbol of the half-eaten apple lives on to this day with the logo of the Apple MacIntosh computer.
Although Alan Turing received the OBE for his wartime achievements, he died having received no public recognition of the colossal contribution he made to the outcome of the war and the computer age that was to follow.
Before he died in January 2006, the late Sidney E Frank, an American billionaire, commissioned the internationally renowned sculptor Stephen Kettle to create a statue in memory of Alan Turing. Kettle's pioneering work led to the world's first stacked slate statue, which is permanently housed in the Science Museum in London.
The one and a half ton, life-size statue of Alan Turing is made from approximately half a million individual pieces of five hundred million year old Welsh slate.
Simon Greenish, Director of Bletchley Park Trust, heralded the statue as a fitting and timely tribute to Turing. He continued, "Alan Turing is universally recognised as the founding father of the modern computer and one of the pre-eminent unsung intellectual warriors of the twentieth century. "With the help of the Sidney E Frank Foundation and the brilliance of sculptor, Stephen Kettle, Bletchley Park is now home to an exquisite and magnificent memorial to the genius of Turing."
Milton Keynes MK3 6EB
Thursday, June 21, 2007
On 21 and 28 June at 8pm, BBC Radio 4 will broadcast a two part programme where Eddie Mair investigates the attitude and policy of the armed services towards homosexuality over the last 60 years.
Part One (21 June)
The laissez-faire attitude during the Second World War quickly gave way to an anti-gay crackdown, despite the liberalisation of social attitudes leading up to the Sexual Offences Act of 1967.
Part Two (28 June)
The gulf between civil and military law existed for 33 years between 1967 and 2000. Why did the armed services maintain a ban on homosexuality for so long?
The programme will be available on Listen Again here.
“Out Ranks” tracks changes in military policy and conveys the stories of GLBT veterans and peace activists from WWII to Iraq . Almost 70 years of history is told through hundreds of letters, photographs, medals, uniforms, and video footage.
The “Out Ranks” exhibit follows two related timelines, running from 1941 to the present. One timeline tracks American military conflicts from WWII to Iraq , focusing on the roles of GLBT personnel. The other timeline charts the evolution of the ban on openly gay service personnel. The two timelines meet in the center of the exhibit in the present time as GLBT service personnel fight their rights even as they defend our country in both the military and peace movements.
"When I was in the military they gave me a medal for killing two men and a discharge for loving one."
Epitaph chosen by US Air Force Vietnam veteran Leonard Matlovich to mark his own grave.
Exhibit highlights pulled from the GLBT Historical Society’s world-renowned archives include Leonard Matlovich’s footlocker from his tour in Vietnam, Matlovich was a Vietnam vet who fought the US military in 1975 for the right to serve as an openly gay man; the Air Medal citation, letter from President Truman, and photo of Robert Ricks, a WWII B-24 bomber navigator whose plane was shot down in August 1943 and who spent the rest of the war behind German lines, including three months in Dachau; the Bronze Star Citation and photo of Robert Fleisher who helped liberate Dachau; and a photo of military police guarding the entrance of the Black Cat, a popular gay bar in San Francisco during WWII, in an attempt to keep military personnel out.
An estimated 650,000 gays served in the Armed Forces during WWII, despite the official ban on gay military service. “We were not about to be deprived the privilege of serving our country in a time of great national emergency by virtue of some stupid regulation about being gay,” said Charles Rowland, one of the gay draftees featured in the exhibit.
World War II offered an unprecedented opportunity for women to serve non-combat roles in the military, where thousands of lesbians found sisterhood. Pat Bond, who found herself coming out in the 1940’s joined the Women’s Army Corps (WAC) on her first day recalled her first day, “I came with my suitcase, staggering down the mess hall and I heard a voice from one of the barracks say, ‘Good God, Elizabeth, look! Here comes another one!’” Another WAC servicemember, Helen Harder, dreamed of flying and signed up with her girlfriend.
* Exhibition website
* Exhibit examines gay veteran history, gay.com
* Gay military service out for all to see, SFGate.com
* GLBT Historical Society Museum
Monday, June 18, 2007
In 1957 the Wolfenden Report recommended that homosexual behaviour between consenting adults in private should no longer be a criminal offence and in 1967 the revised Sexual Offences Act received the Royal Assent and became law in England and Wales, heralding the partial decriminalisation of male homosexuality.
1967 and All That is a touring exhibition based on the archival assets held by both the Lesbian and Gay Newsmedia Archive and the Hall-Carpenter Archives at the London School of Economics.
An online version of the exhibition will become available when the exhibition is launched.
Places and dates to see the exhibition:
* 24 June: Drill Hall, London
* 27-29 June: 'Wolfenden 50' conference, Kings College, London
* 30 June: Pride Rally in Trafalgar Square, London
* July: Barons Court Library, London
* August/September: various libraries in the London Borough of Wandsworth
* October: Birkbeck College, London
* November: Camden Local Studies and Archives Centre, Holborn Library, London
* 1 December: London Metropolitan Archive
* 21-27 January 2008: Southwark LGBT Network, London (venue tbc)
* February 2008: Swiss Cottage Library, London
For further information, please visit www.1967andallthat.org.uk.
Friday, June 15, 2007
Allan Horsfall is a veteran campaigner and a part of our collective history. In 1964 he co-founded the North-West Homosexual Law Reform Committee with Colin Harvey which later became the Campaign for Homosexual Equality (CHE).
Allan spoke at the pre-launch of LGBT History Month 2007 at the TUC headquarters in London on 20 November 2006. You can view his full intervention in two parts by clicking the arrow on the images below (click on the YouTube logo at the bottom right corner of the images to view the clips full size).
Speaking for about 15 min, Allan told the audience how, at the publication of the Wolfenden Report in 1957 (fifty years ago this year), he decided to start challenging the Labour Party's prejudices against doing anything about gay rights because Labour MPs at the time thought the working class (their supporters) were homophobic at heart. This was not his experience.
He also explained how he found that the (limited) decriminalisation of homosexuality in 1967 (forty years ago this year) sometimes actually made things worse for gay men with the police showing their displeasure at the new law by making more arrests than before it happen. Regardless, Allan Horsfall took the (for us) bold step to use his personal address to run the campaign. Surprisingly (again, from our perspective), there was no backlash from his local community, although his address was "outed" in the papers.
In his view, the current homophobia rampant in working class minds at the moment is all the doing of the press and particularly the tabloids.
Allan Horsfall has his own website: The Gay Monitor.
Dame Ethel Smyth (1858-1944) was born to a strict military family in which she was introduced to music and composition as ladylike activities suited to her position in society. As a teenager, however, she became determined to pursue music as a career and went on a prolonged hunger-strike to persuade her formidable father to allow her to study in Leipzig . Her operas included Fantasio and The Wreckers, and she also found success with orchestral and choral works such as her enduringly popular Mass in D (1891) – as well as providing the anthem for the suffragette movement, The March of the Women. A prominent suffragette, Smyth met and fell in love with Emmeline Pankhurst (buried next to the Finborough Theatre in Brompton Cemetery ) in 1910 and dedicated two years to the suffragette movement as political activist and its unofficial composer. She spent several weeks imprisoned in Holloway for the cause. Later in life, Smyth fought for political causes such as a subsidized national opera for England and the rights of female orchestral musicians. In 1922, she became a D.B.E.
Written in 1914 and unseen in London for more than 50 years, The Boatswain’s Mate is Smyth’s fourth and most obviously feminist opera. A witty and inventive battle of the sexes, it features a feisty heroine – supposedly based on Emmeline Pankhurst – who outwits her suitors in a series of entertaining and resourceful deceptions. Mrs Waters is a wealthy widow whose first husband has left her with a country pub and a determination never to remarry. When the retired boatswain George Benn devises a scheme to win her hand by ‘saving’ her from a burglar whom he has in fact paid to break in, he reckons without her bravery and quick-wittedness.
The first production in Primavera’s three-month residency at the Finborough Theatre, The Boatswain’s Mate will be a fully costumed production-without-décor, opening on 17 June for five Sunday and Monday performances as part of the multi-award-winning Finborough Theatre’s [ rediscoveries season 2007 ] and their acclaimed sell-out thefinboroughgaieties – Celebrating British Music Theatre series.
The Boatswain’s Mate
Sunday, 17 June and Monday 18 June; Sunday, 24 June 2007; Sunday, 1 July and Monday, 2 July 2007 , 8.00pm
Finborough Theatre, The Finborough, London
Thursday, June 14, 2007
Three of the world’s top reggae/dancehall singers have renounced homophobia and condemned violence against lesbians and gay men.
Beenie Man, Sizzla and Capleton had previously released anti-gay hate songs, including incitements to murder lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. They have now signed up to the Reggae Compassionate Act (Word file), in a deal brokered with top reggae promoters and Stop Murder Music activists.
The agreement follows the three-year-long Stop Murder Music campaign, which resulted in the cancellation of hundreds of the singers’ concerts and sponsorship deals, causing them income losses estimated in excess of five million dollars.
Peter Tatchell, who is the coordinator of the worldwide Stop Murder Music campaign and helped negotiate the deal with the three singers, said of the agreement:
“The Reggae Compassionate Act is a big breakthrough. The singer’s rejection of homophobia and sexism is an important milestone. We rejoice at their new commitment to music without prejudice,”This view is mirrored by fellow Stop Murder Music campaigner, Dennis L Carney, Vice-Chair of the Black Gay Mens Advisory Group (BGMAG) in London. Mr Carney is of Jamaican descent, and played a leading role in negotiating the Reggae Compassionate Act. He added:
“This deal will have a huge, positive impact in Jamaica and the Caribbean. The media coverage will generate public awareness and debate; breaking down ignorance and undermining homophobia.
“Having these major reggae stars renounce homophobia will influence their fans and the wider public to rethink bigoted attitudes. The beneficial effect on young black straight men will be immense."
“I am thrilled that Beenie Man, Sizzla and Capleton have signed up to this historic agreement with the Stop Murder Music campaign. We welcome their commitment to not produce music or make public statements that incite hatred and violence against gay people”.In this declaration the artists promise to not sing lyrics or make public statements, in Jamaica or anywhere else in the world, that incite prejudice, hatred or violence against lesbian and gay people.
“This is a giant leap towards restoring peace, love and harmony to reggae music. These performers are sending a clear message that lesbians and gay men have a right to live free from fear and persecution - both here in the UK and in Jamaica”.
Peter Tatchell also said:
“The Reggae Compassionate Act applies worldwide. If any of the three singers break this agreement anywhere in the world, we will resume the campaign against them.The Reggae Compassionate Act was negotiated by Eddie Brown of Pride Music UK, with the support of the promoters Michel Jovanovic (Mediacom France), Klaus Maack (Contour Germany), Peter Senders (Panic Productions Holland), Fabrizio Pompeo (Tour de Force Italy), Julian Garcia (Roots and Vibes Spain) and Tim Badejo (Dubble Bubble Scandinavia).
“As a result of them signing this statement, for a trial period we are suspending the campaign against these three performers. If they abide by the agreement we will make this suspension permanent.
“The other five murder music artists - Elephant Man, TOK, Bounty Killa, Vybz Kartel and Buju Banton - have not signed the Reggae Compassionate Act. The campaign against them continues. These singers have incited the murder of lesbians and gays. They should not be rewarded with concerts or sponsorship deals.
There is however some concerns about the viability of the agreement. A similar one was reached with other artists two years ago but within a few three acts - Beenie Man, Buju Banton and Bounty Killer - were said to have broken their pledge and the truce was cancelled.
* Reggae acts renounce homophobia, NME
* Gay bashing reggae performers promise to stop the hate, PinkNews
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Marlene Dietrich’s bisexual exploits, her fondness for butch drag and her medal-winning heroism in the Second World War have added to the legend that has already enthralled several generations of gay men, stretching right back to Weimar Germany, where Marlene’s career began.
It was in the Berlin of the 1920s that the aspiring actress would be seen at the drag balls that were popular at the time. She found international fame with The Blue Angel and went on to make more than 50 other Hollywood pictures.
As Hitler came to power, Marlene was quick to realise that this was the twentieth century’s biggest monster, and she renounced her German nationality and became an American citizen. “If that is what being German involves,” she said, referring to the Nazi regime, “then I am no longer German”.
After the War she embarked on her third career as a cabaret artist. Her one-woman show, which she perfected with the help of Burt Bacharach, became a phenomenon, and she toured around the world with it for twenty years.
“Good Evening, Miss Dietrich”, hosted by the Gay and Lesbian Humanist Association (GALHA) and presented by Terry Sanderson, takes up the theme of this year’s Pride in London (“Icons”) and examines the varied and extraordinary life of this great entertainer who has a strong and lasting fascination among both gay men and women.
This tribute evening shows Marlene in her many guises. From her first screen test for von Sternberg, to a full performance of her famous show (recorded in 1963 by Swedish Television) the audience is taken on a trip through the 20th century to explore Marlene’s fantastic film career, her war work and her music.
Good Evening, Miss Dietrich
Thursday 28 June 2007, Conway Hall, London
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
A new flyer promoting History Month and highlighting ways to get involved is now available in pdf format for download and e-mail distribution. The flyer is not date specific and will therefore be usable over the coming years.
You can view the file here (pdf file - 154kb) or by clicking on the picture.
Should you or your organisation wish to have copies professionally printed, you can request the relevant file by email us at email@example.com
Thursday, June 7, 2007
Wolfenden50: Sex/Life/Politics in the British World 1945-1969
2007 marks the fiftieth anniversary of the Wolfenden Report, a British government inquiry into homosexuality and prostitution which profoundly shaped public debate on the regulation of these sexualities (and others), in Britain and beyond.Keynote Speakers:
Most famously, the Report recommended that homosexual acts between consenting adults in private ought not to be an offence and 2007 also marks the fortieth anniversary of the passage of this recommendation into law in the Sexual Offences Act of 1967.
This seems like a suitable moment to look at the ways in which minority/deviant/ marginalised/vilified/ sexualities have been lived, understood, regulated and constructed in the post-War period, and to that end a conference is being held at King's College in London for three days.
* Judith A. Allen, Alfred Kinsey as Lord Wolfenden’s Expert Witness: Contributions & Consequences
* Helen Self, Wolfenden and Prostitution: An Historical Overview
* Jeffrey Weeks, Fateful Moments: Wolfenden, Identity, Citizenship
and 22 others speakers.
King's College, London
28 to 30 June 2007
Registration and further details via the website.
We have created a photo pool for you to share pictures of the events you have organise or any other pictures you thing may interest other friends of History Month (Note that you will need to create a free Yahoo!/flickr account to be able to upload pictures).
You can view the photo pool here.
In 1916 the Military Cross was awarded to a captain in the Royal Welch Fusiliers for "conspicuous gallantry during a raid on the enemy's trenches". The citation noted that he had braved "rifle and bomb fire" and that "owing to his courage and determination, all the killed and wounded were brought in". The hero in question was the poet, Siegfried Sassoon. And yet a year later, and at great personal risk, Sassoon publicly denounced the conduct of the war in which he had fought so well.The programme is available for download as an MP3 file here.
A man of contradictions, Sassoon had a long and eventful life after surviving the trenches. It included a string of homosexual affairs, a failed marriage, a religious conversion and several tumultuous arguments with literary friends. And he continued to write poetry until his death, from cancer, in 1967.
But how significant a poet is Siegfried Sassoon, what version of Englishness did this half-Jewish, homosexual cricket lover invent for himself and how do you explain the mind of a man who bitterly opposed the First World War, yet fought in it with an almost insane ferocity?
Jean Moorcroft Wilson, Lecturer in English at Birkbeck, University of London and a biographer of Sassoon
Fran Brearton, Reader in English and Assistant Director of the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry at the University of Belfast
Max Egremont, a biographer of Siegfried Sassoon
A bibliography and links about Sassoon can be found here.
Siegfried Sassoon - The Poet Who Survived
Greek and Roman love poetry - the source of many of the images and metaphors of love that have survived in literature through the centuries. We begin with the words of Sappho, known as the Tenth Muse and one of the great love poets of Ancient Greece:The programme is available for download as an MP3 file here.
“Love, bittersweet and inescapable,
creeps up on me and grabs me once again”
Such heartfelt imploring by Sappho and other (mainly male) writers led poetry away from the great epics of Homer and towards a very personal expression of emotion. These outpourings would have been sung at intimate gatherings, accompanied by the lyre and plenty of wine. The style fell out of fashion only to be revived first in Alexandria in the third Century BC and again by the Roman poets starting in the 50s BC. Catullus and his peers developed the form, employing powerful metaphors of war and slavery to express their devotion to their Beloved – as well as the ill treatment they invariably received at her hands!
So why did Greek poetry move away from heroic narratives and turn to love in the 6th Century BC? How did the Romans transform the genre? And what effect did the sexual politics of the day have on the form?
Nick Lowe, Senior Lecturer in Classics at Royal Holloway, University of London
Edith Hall, Professor of Classics and Drama at Royal Holloway, University of London
Maria Wyke, Professor of Latin at University College London
A bibliography can be found here.
Greek and Roman Love Poetry - The pursuit of the Beloved from Sappho to Catullus
Wednesday, June 6, 2007
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This is a space for friends of History Month to find news, information, notice of events, tips, press releases, articles and possibly discussions about the LGBT community in the UK.
The LGBT History Month Steering Group hope that you will find the blog useful and of interest.