Sunday, July 12, 2009

LGBTHM Co-Chair Honoured With Community Award

Sue Sanders, co-chair of Schools Out and LGBT History Month, received an award in recognition of her lifetime's campaigning for LGBT rights, on Friday night

Veteran campaigner Ray Gosling presented Sue with the Derek Oyston Award at a celebration of the 30th anniversary of the the Gay and Lesbian Humanist Association (GALHA) and the 40th anniversary of the Campaign for Homosexual Equality (CHE).

The event was taking place at the Bishopsgate Institute in the City of London, which is now host to the GALHA archive. Derek Lennard, a member of GALHA and UK coordinator for International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO), opened the evening and talked about the crucial role of combating religious fundamentalism in the crusade for human rights.

Michael Cashman, MEP, president of the European Parliament’s LGBT Intergroup and vice president of GALHA, and Peter Tatchell also spoke.

Tatchell gave a history of the Gay Liberation Front - describing its direct action approach, its grass roots, anti-imperialist ideology and its anarchic sexual libertarianism, while Cashman announced the arrival of LGBT History Month Europe in 2010. Although he talked about the past, he also warned of the future, given that the European Parliament has moved to the right.

Sue holding her award in front of a small exhibition of material from the GALHA archive (photo by Nicolas Chinardet)

Commenting on her award, Sue said: "It's a real honour to receive this award from GALHA. We're two of the oldest groups in the community.

"I want to pay tribute to everyone who's been involved in Schools Out over the years. Without their work, we wouldn't be the successful organisation we are today. In particular, this award should equally have gone to Paul Patrick, our other co-founder, who sadly died last year.

"When I helped set up the London Gay Teachers' Group, in 1974, I never dreamt it would be so successful, or that I'd still be chairing.

"It's been a rollercoaster of a ride, through the dark ages of Section 28 to the phenomenal success of our current project, LGBT History Month.

"This year's Downing Street reception for LGBT History Month was an obvious highlight, but it means the world to receive an award from an organisation I've got so much respect for.

"GALHA has always been a vocal opponent of anyone abusing religious privilege, to promote homophobia and transphobia in schools. I wish them a fantastic anniversary celebration and look forward to the next 30 years, campaigning alongside them."

Read more about the event on UK Gay News here.

View Sue's acceptance speech below:

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