York Explore Library and Archive will play host to a fascinating variety of free talks on all aspects of LGBT history. Visitors can drop in throughout the day to discover hidden stories and forgotten heroes, and to find out about the other exciting events taking place throughout the month of February. Hot drinks, snacks and lunch will be available to purchase from the café.
Organised by: York LGBT History Month
Tickets: Free, no need to book
More information: Jake Furby or Lisa Kelly (firstname.lastname@example.org) | yorklgbthistory.org.uk/events
Accessibility: baby-changing; gender-neutral toilets; hearing loop; wheelchair access.
10:00: Emily Roach, ‘Tales of the City: Gay Male Authored Fiction and America’s Queer Geographies’
This paper analyses place and space in a number of contemporary works of gay male authored American fiction. I take a journey from San Francisco’s Castro District to the discotheques of Manhattan’s Greenwich Village and the beaches of Fire Island Pines. During that journey I explore theories on the unstable space of the closet, queer migration, rural queerness and critiques of the tendency to equate rural to urban geographical movement with coming of age and coming out.
11:00: Eleanor Formby, ‘Charting the flip-side of progress: LGBT people’s perceptions of lost spaces and experiences in the UK’
In researching LGBT people’s understandings and experiences of communities in the UK, I found a significant proportion of people talking about the past with nostalgia in relation to places, events and experiences that have been ‘lost’ as a consequence of improved legislation and attitudes towards LGBT equalities. This shows that when there was more to, as one participant said, ‘be angry about’ some people had a greater sense of community, shared within particular venues and/or at certain times.
12:00: Lunch Break
14:00: Steven Dryden, ‘Gay UK: Love, Law, and Liberty’
Steven Dryden, curator at the British Library, will talk about the Gay UK: Love, Law, and Liberty exhibition that took place last summer (2017) and which marked 50 years since the Sexual Offences Act partially decriminalised homosexuality in the UK. How have perceptions of homosexuality changed and what impact have they had in creating distinctive and dynamic gay identities in the UK?
15:00: Ben Vincent, ‘Non-Binary Genders: Western, Non-Western, and Contemporary British Histories’
This talk gives a broad overview of gender beyond the binary of male and female, divided roughly into three sections. The first addresses gender diversity in Western contexts, exploring the connection between gender and sexuality by looking at the English Mollies. The Italian Femminielli, and Albanian sworn virgins are also discussed. A cross-cultural consideration of eunuchs then expands the scope to non-western contexts, covering a range of historical and contemporary third (fourth, and fifth!) gender categories – particularly across Asia and the Americas. The journey finishes by returning to the UK, to take a closer look at how ‘non-binary’ has manifested as a category over the last few years.
16:30: Brian Ogallon and Gerald Hayo, ‘Defending LGBTQI Rights in Kenya’
Rural Africa is believed to be the bedrock of homophobia and very tough cultural practices against persons perceived to be part of the LGBTQI community. There is a common concern that the LGBTQI agenda is foreign in origin and is ‘imposed on vulnerable Africans’ from the outside. The two speakers will explore these themes
Brian and Gerald are Kenyan LGBTQI activists working in both urban and pastoral regions of Kenya. They are currently undertaking a Protective Fellowship at the University of York.