We’re Off!

action house of commons 17

Next year’s OUTing the Past: The Festival of LGBT History 2018 is now under way.

I’m delighted to announce that we are again appealing for people with hidden histories, LGBT lives and untold experiences to come forward and be showcased at this our 4th annual History Festival during February’s LGBT History Month.

Our Festival goal is to educate our communities and enrich our collective understanding of our past by showcasing that emerging history.

What were you taught in school about LGBT people and issues? My guess next to nothing!

Our history has been buried and denied by historians and educators for so long many people don’t even notice we are invisible. Worse still is the argument: “Why should we declare the poets, writers, explorers, scientists etc. that we are studying LGBT? What does it matter?”

I am so angry that my heritage was denied; that I was lied to my omission; that, when I was struggling with my identity I had no role models. Ironically I was studying some of them!

I founded LGBT History Month 14 years ago with Paul Patrick. Jeff Evans built on that and started the National History festival 3 years ago. In that time we have seen a massive cultural shift, with many libraries, museums and galleries setting up LGBT events, both with our help and independently. This year, because of the anniversary of 1967 Sexual Offences Bill, we have a wealth of exhibitions and events up and down the country and we are thrilled. What we need to ensure is that we build on that and do not leave 2017 as a flash in the pan!

We had a fabulous February this year, with new and old venues packed full of fervent historians and LGBT enthusiasts wanting to hear the untold stories of our past. They were not disappointed; from prestigious museums and archives in London to Exeter down south; York to Preston up North with many venues in between, we sated that desire for knowledge with exciting, accessible, and expert presentations of diverse LGBT people and places.

We are now sending out the invites for presentations for February 2018. They should be 20 minutes long and presenters should be ready for 10 minutes worth of questions.

This year we shall be in: The British Museum, Greenwich Maritime Museum, The National Archive, Bishopsgate Institute and the London Schools of Economics’ archive in London;  The People’s Museum in Manchester, The Museum of Liverpool; and we will be in Belfast, Birmingham, Cardiff. More hubs may join us soon.

If you have stories to tell, photos to share, or a reason to do that bit of research about a hunch you have about that enigmatic figure that has been tweaking your LGBT radar, then tell us about it here!

We are keen to hear from all and sundry activists, conference participants, audience members, students, academics and owners of LGBT paraphernalia etc. We want to hear about the rich, diverse nature of our Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans culture. We can also arrange for presentations to be read by someone else if the material is too close to you, or if it is of a personal nature like retelling stories of state abuse.

Next year LGBT History Month’s theme is Geography: Mapping the World and it is the thirtieth anniversary of section 28!  We are sure that there is much to explore, divulge and share!

We look forward to hearing from you. The success of the festival rests with people like you sharing your knowledge and memories!

Any questions feel free to ask me 07960493544