Saturday, February 2, 2008

Spotlight: Documentary at the Imperial War Museum

Each year, there is a growing number of events being organised for LGBT History Month around the UK. During the month we will run a series of spotlight posts on this blog highlighting some of those events and perhaps bringing them to your attention. You can view a list of events (or register and promote your own) by visiting our calendar. Feel free to also join the debate and make new friends on our forum.

One of the very first events of the Month this year sees one of the foremost cultural institutions in the country taking its first steps towards celebrating the Month.

As a result of almost two years of gentle lobbying and support from a local LGBT group, the Imperial War Museum in London has scheduled two screenings of Sex and War, a documentary directed by Annie Paul in 1998 for the BBC's Timewatch series.

The film uses the stories of British servicemen who fought bravely for their country during the Second World War and the example of the Dutch Army which started to welcome gay people in its ranks from 1994 to explore the arguments in the debate around the legalisation of homosexuality which was taking place in the UK at the time of the making of the film.

The film includes testimonies from gay (and straight) men from the three services as well as a particularly prejudiced interview with Air Chief Marshall Sir Michael Armitage, the former head of military intelligence (his view are reproduced in the contemporaneous links below).

This will be screened in the main cinema of the Museum between 2.00pm - 3.00pm on Saturday 2nd and Sunday 3rd of February.
Imperial War Museum

The ban on gays in the UK armed services was official lifted in 2000.

* Gays in the armed services: head-to-head - BBC News - 1999
* Opposing views in gay debate - BBC News - 1999
* Military gay ban illegal BBC News - 1999
* How gay panic gripped 1960s Royal Navy - BBC News - 2002

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