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The latest news from
 
LGBT History Month UK  
creators of the initiative
every February since 2005 

Who We Are

Schools OUT UK is the founding charity of LGBT History  Month, an initiative which is:

Claiming our past.
Celebrating our present.
Creating our future.

Please continue to give us your support. Don't forget you can buy this year's badge (opposite) from our online
shop.

In This Issue

  • Sexing The Past rounds off a hugely successful LGBT HM18
  • GoFundMe for Voices and Visibility
  • Steve Boyce takes LGBT HM to Spain
  • Playwright Stephen M Horby wins Nordic equality award.

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Sexing The Past

2018
The Sexing The Past Conference at Liverpool John Moores University this weekend was brilliant - a fitting way to bring what has been a hugely successful Festival (and History Month 2018 itself) to a close. A huge thank you to the hundreds of people up and down the country who made the month a success - there were over 1200 events on the calendar! 

Tom Robinson certainly proved why he is a LGBT icon doing the lecture on Friday. Very funny, very intelligent and also very emotional – he nearly burst into tears recalling how he was going to funerals every month during the AIDS epidemic.  And he rounded it off with a communal rendition of ‘Glad To Be Gay’ – a video is on the HMFB page.

Tom has also narrated the audiobook of 'The Story About Peter Wells', which is available now. It recounts how in 1976 Peter, then aged 26 was reported to police by his local vicar, as he was at the time in  a relationship with an 18 year old, which was illegal. He was jailed for two years, during which time he was abused and raped by prisoners and warders alike. Peter later made an anonymous challenge to the European Court Of Human Rights about the UK's unequal age of consent. 

Then on Saturday morning, after Tom cut the virtual pink ribbon with virtual scissors, we had the conference proper. I was at the literary perspectives session first, with two US speakers – OTP's Andrew Herm comparing ‘The Well of Loneliness’ with Compton MacKenzie’s ‘Extraordinary Women’ (guess which one he preferred) and John Lauritsen, talking about Byron’s ‘Don Leon’. The Q&A afterwards was interesting, not least for Lauritsen’s views on Mary Shelley and the fact he doesn’t believe she wrote ‘Frankenstein’. He’s even written a book about it. Sue Sanders bought a copy just to disprove what she called his “sacrilege”!

This was followed by a plenary session led by black LGBT asylum seekers, introduced by Peter Tatchell. I never realised what a booming voice that man has! What came out of this was the resentment of the imposition of evangelical religions (both Christian and Muslim) on the continent, and the rise in LGBT African fiction as people use literature to be able to tell their stories. And there were the stories of the homophobia inflicted by fellow refugees in camps and, shockingly, from within the UN!

In the afternoon I sat in on Cheryl Morgan’s excellent session on Favorinus, an intersex friend of the emperor Hadrian. Favorinus has the distinction of being a Roman citizen who quarrelled with an emperor, and lived. Amusingly despite being clearly queer, Favorinus was accused of adultery. The other presenter in this session was a PhD student whose paper was about the documented cases of trans women in the 19th century – similar to what Stephen Hornby covered in his play ‘Mister Stokes: The Man-Woman of Manchester'. 

Talking of Stephen, he was the recipient of a Wings Award in the afternoon. Swedish activist Bill Schiller (now there’s a character) had travelled over for the express purpose of presenting him with it for "confirming that film and theatre are powerful weapons against homophobia" for his short film ‘Unchechen’.

The second plenary session was on activism in and from citizens from south Asian countries, and was led by local Labour MP Dan Carden. When talking about the colonial-era laws that many of these countries still have and use to oppress their LGBT citizens. Carden was at pains to point out that his first question as a Shadow Minister was on this subject , so I was impressed to see Khakan Qureshi, who founded the group Finding Our Voice throw the issue back at him by asking “So what do you want us to do?”

Sadly I wasn't able to attend the second day, but I'm sure it was as varied and friendly as the first. I honestly couldn’t tell you who was a Doctor or Professor there and who was a student. Very enjoyable. I even made notes! They’re planning for next year’s to be in Belfast. Hopefully I’ll be able to go. I certainly want to.

Massive thanks to Emma Vickers, Jeff Evans, Andrew Herm, Ken Valente and all at Liverpool John Moores University for another successful conference.

Andrew Dobbin - Promotions Officer, Schools OUT Committee
 
The official photographs of the 4th Allam Horsfall Lecture can be found here at Nic Chinardet's Flickr page. Our thanks, as ever, to him.
OUTing the Past 2018:

Birmingham Museum

and Art Gallery


Saturday 24th February

My third OUTing the Past experience was in the striking surroundings of Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery; a venue which, despite having taken my degree in Birmingham during the Thatcher years, I had never visited before. How embarrassing.  Such a magnificent, Joseph Chamberlain-era edifice is well worth a look, and completely appropriate for us.

The bonus for us on this occasion was that OTP coincided with the museum’s own LGBT themed exhibition ‘Coming Out’, which features several significant queer related works and is running until April. Guided by the infectiously enthusiastic Jon, myself and a small group of visitors were able to enjoy pieces by major artists – Grayson Perry’s ‘Claire’s Coming Out Dress’, two Hockneys (‘Peter Getting Out of Nick's Pool' painted in LA in 1966 and 'We 2 Boys Together Clinging' - from a line in a Walt Whitman poem - which is earlier, painted in Britain and very different), and Tracy Emmin. The exhibition also features Andy Warhol’s pop art representation of Marilyn Monroe; a piece Jon assured us, worth ‘zillions’…

After enjoying the exhibition, we all proceeded to the room where the day’s talks were taking place. CEO Tony Fenwick MBE kicked everything off, encouraging everyone as ever to look at our websites and buy a badge (remember, we receive no regular funding)and spread the word about us. Schools OUT UK’s international officer and UCU member Seth Atkin then drew the audience’s attention to our latest exciting project, crowdfunding the interactive online version of our extremely popular ‘Voices and Visibility’ timeline. Donations can be made on the Go Fund Me site (https://www.gofundme.com/voicesandvisibility).

We lost our first speaker to illness, allowing a further perusal of the exhibition before things got under way properly. So first up was author Jane Traies, hot-footing to Birmingham from Shrewsbury to deliver her fascinating history of pioneering lesbian contact magazine Arena 3. Founded around 1964 and funded by its creator from her own savings until she was almost bankrupt, the magazine ran until 1971. During that time it is safe to say the publication changed the lives of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of women.  Later generations may be more familiar with the magazine’s subsequent evolution as Sappho Magazine.

Matt Exley of the Museum of Liverpool attended OUTing the Past Birmingham to bring to life the story of Liverpool's lost queer spaces. Sad to say, venues like The Magic Clock, The York Hotel and Victoria Gardens are all long-gone but for a few minutes were evoked beautifully and amusingly by the ever-witty Matt. Interestingly, there were actually more queer spaces in Liverpool city centre pre-1967 than there are now, perhaps a measure of Liverpool’s legacy as the second city of the empire, thriving as a massive but transient port city.

Carol Steele, who featured last July in the BBC’s ‘Queer Britain’ series, was our third speaker. She spoke with quiet authority on ‘1970s transgender Britain and the dawn of transgender activism’ and her own story of the journey to becoming her true self. The largely younger audience present was held spellbound as they learned of what for most of us is still a scandalously hazy area.

The afternoon concluded with a full showing of Ed Webb-Ingall's ‘We Have Rather Been Invaded’, the half hour documentary charting the resistance to Margaret Thatcher’s reviled Section 28. The film (which should be shown in all schools) takes its title from newsreader Sue Lawley’s famous comment when the BBC’s live 6 o’clock news was disrupted by a group of lesbian activists who chained themselves to desks in the studio on the night before the Clause became law.
 
Though Section 28 turned out really to be a paper tiger (there were no prosecutions in its 15 year history), it was fascinating to hear the likes of Linda Bellos OBE point out it was its insidious nature that caused outrage – the fear teachers had for their careers; the fear of coming out that was compounded amongst our teenagers, and the hate it stoked in middle of the AIDS hysteria. But it did draw the previously disparate gay and lesbian communities together to fight for the advances that have been made in the years since it was abolished in 2003. Thatcher may have won the battle in 1988 but we are winning the war.
 
And so concluded another entertaining, educational and informative OUTing The Past session. Here’s to 2019.

Andrew Dobbin - Promotions Officer Schools OUT UK.
Reflections on 

History Month

2018

As this year’s LGBT History Month has concluded, it gives us a much needed opportunity to reflect on what we did well and what we can improve on.

The talks given this year drew on everything from queer mermaids to elder lesbians, Section 28 to Lord Alfred Douglas. Our goal has always been to showcase the diversity and wealth of our community and ensure our shared history isn’t forgotten.

We are particularly proud of our highlighting the role of women in our history. Jane Traies presented her research in Arena 3 - the first lesbian newsletter - at LSE. The crowd was full of older lesbians and it was refreshing to see this often ignored group to be uplifted and celebrated. Hilary McCollum’s presentation on Sapphic Suffragettes at Manchester’s People’s History Museum couldn’t have come at a more perfect time, given this year’s centenary of some women being allowed the vote. And trans women were celebrated through the work of Christine Burns, Caroline Paige and our very own Kate Hutchinson.

We were also incredibly proud to have our first ever event in Belfast. At these turbulent political times it sends a powerful message for us to celebrate our history.

This isn’t to say we can’t improve. The voices of people of colour and disabled people often remains unheard and we need to do more to ensure this changes. We would also love to do events in smaller and less well-connected towns. After the horrible abuse faced by LGBT campaigners in Stratford-upon-Avon, we cannot orchestrate our work solely in the relative safety of big cities.

The team has worked hard this month to bring as many events as possible to the public. But that doesn’t mean the work stops: our academic conference takes place 16th-18th March at Liverpool John Moores University and afterwards it will be back to planning our events to commemorate thirty years since the introduction of the vile Section 28.

We hope you have found this year’s LGBT History Month to be as challenging, as educational and as uplifting as we have.

Maisie Barker - Schools OUT Committee

Review OTP 2018 on the

Festival Blog


And there are more pictures from Nic Chinardet

here

Please send us your pictures and reviews of your own February events for next month's bulletin
The Real Face of

History Month

2018
I am Thomas Ward (@dreamsofaweirdo on twitter), a 19 year old student in the Sixth-from of the Wellington Academy in Wiltshire, who is currently doing his A-Levels. I also happen to be Bisexual.

My mother has always inspired me to be open about who I am because she wasn’t when she was younger. My mother is a lesbian who is currently in a committed relationship with another woman but who earlier in her life married my father and had two children, my brother and myself, only living as her true self after they divorced. At my previous school I was the only openly non-heterosexual person in my year and one of two openly non-heterosexual people in the entire school. There was no Queer representation whatsoever and I had to figure out my sexuality and the LGBT community all by myself. Why is this relevant to the LGBT History Month?

Due to all of this I chose to speak to the students at my school in assemblies throughout the week (19th – 23rd February) about the LGBT community and some parts of LGBT History; in part to spread awareness about LGBT History Month and in part to create a school environment that is inclusive, open-minded and accepting. When I came to the Wellington Academy in September of 2016 the first classroom I had a lesson in had a poster by Stonewall stating “Some People Are Gay, Get Over It” hung up on the wall. This made me believe that my new school is inclusive and open towards LGBT students, something I did not have at my previous school. The weeks following that my initial positive surprise turned into a quite sad realisation that the students at the school were actually not as inclusive and open as the poster suggested; the term “faggot” was liberally thrown around and the word “Gay” was used to describe unpleasant, annoying and just generally bad things, something I was more used to from my old school. I knew that this was due to lack of awareness, hence why I chose to create more awareness with my assemblies. I started the assemblies by speaking about my mother, myself, my identity, my experience and why the topic was so important to me because I wanted to be open and honest about myself right from the get go to show the students that it is okay to be true to who you are. During the assemblies I showed the student the acronym LGBTQQIAAP (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer, Questioning, Intersex, Ally, Asexual, Pansexual) and explained gender identity, gender expression, biological sex and sexuality. I then went on to talking about LGBT History Month and three parts of LGBT History; the Holocaust with reference to Chechnya, the Stonewall Riots and Marriage Equality, linking it to this year’s theme of Geography, the Holocaust happening in Germany and Poland, the incident in Chechnya obviously being in Chechnya, the Stonewall Riots in America, and Marriage Equality very much being a global thing.

The week started with the Year 11 students, and me wearing a homemade “I’m (discretely) Queer” t-shirt with a large pink triangle on it. I wore a different t-shirt, which I made myself, every day of that week, in a way to show my pride and commitment but also because those t-shirts had little nudges to LGBT history or the LGBT community on them, which is what I wanted to spread more knowledge about. The first assembly went extremely well, the students paid attention the entire time and seemed to take in what I was saying. The Head Teacher of my school also asked me where I got the bravery to speak so openly about myself from. My initial reaction was me thinking that I wasn’t brave, I was just passionate but I quickly realised that two years ago, when I was a Year 11 student, I would never have done an assembly like this because I would have been too scared. So I answered that I was taking my bravery from the fact that I needed somebody to look up to who goes into assemblies or speaks openly within the school about LGBT related topics when I was younger but I didn’t have anybody like that so I wanted to be that for others.

The Year 10 students, who I spoke to the following day, dressed in a homemade Gilbert Baker 1978 Pride flag t-shirt with the meanings of the colours written onto it, generally showed a disruptiveness when teachers were speaking but on the whole seemed to pay attention to what I was speaking about even if not as much as the Year 11s. One student however did ask a question on my views on the Gender Binary, which, although he disagreed with me, I thought was great as I want these assemblies to spark an open discussion and communication where anybody can and should ask questions.

Year 9 seemed the most interested up until that point and after the assembly a girl in the year even told the head of the year that she thought that my assembly was “amazing” and that I was being “extremely brave”, which made my heart jump with joy because it showed me that I was affected at least that one student. That day I also received multiple compliments about my t-shirt, which had the acronym LGBTQQIAAP and the corresponding terms on it. One female student even walked past me and exclaimed “LGBT! Yeees!”, which admittedly made me chuckle a little. One thing that I didn’t find so positive that day was that after the assembly a teacher came up to me and stated that my top and the power point I showed should have included a H in the acronym. I thought he meant H for “Human” but he then specified that he meant “Heterosexual” because “they (the students) need to know that being heterosexual is also okay”. He wasn’t stating this in a mean way; he was more matter of fact than anything. It did dishearten me though as the A for “Ally” was included and when I said that heterosexual people aren’t necessarily part of the LGBT community he became quite defensive saying “Oh so we’re being excluded?” This in a way annoyed me because I felt as though he was completely ignoring what I had previously said during the assembly. Heterosexuals not being part of the LGBT community has nothing to do with exclusion, they are even included as Allies, but straight people have never been bullied, penalized, arrested or murdered for being straight, unlike the LGBT community was and still is today, which is why it doesn’t need to be said that “being heterosexual is okay too”.

The Year 8 assembly was the one that personally impressed me the most. During the assembly I had the Year 8 students guess what the letters of the acronym LGBTQQIAAP represent. Not only did many students raise their hands but this year group also knew all of the letters except for one, the A for Ally. This made me proud and showed me how much more open the younger years are than they were when I was their age; I didn’t know the acronym back then and I wouldn’t have raised my hand in assembly to state that I do for example. That isn’t where the Year 8s stopped impressing me though. After the assembly a few of them told me how much they enjoyed my assembly. One student even came up to me and said that they thought that what I was doing was really important and then told me that they identify as pansexual and genderfluid. Another student also came up to me and thanked me, stating how valuable my message to the students was because “most people don’t understand what it’s like” to be LGBT. I could clearly see that those two students were being very brave and that me doing these assemblies made them feel valued and accepted.

On my last day of doing assemblies I had both the Sixth-form assembly and the Year 7 assembly, meaning the oldest and the youngest students of the school. During the Sixth-form assembly I also asked the students to identify which letter in the acronym meant what. Although I did get some responses in the end and all of the letters were identified correctly I thought the contrast between this assembly and the Year 8 assembly was shocking. I went into the Sixth-form assembly expecting them to be the most knowledgeable about the LGBT community yet the majority of them didn’t show any interest in taking part in guessing the letters whatsoever, I had to actively prompt them multiple times while the Year 8s instantly engaged and it took more than twice as long as it did with the Year 8s. I’m not sure if this was because they felt too old to guess and take part in the activity or if there generally was no interest about the topic, either way it was a bit disheartening. After the assembly my mood was uplifted though when a student spoke to me about his experience and that he thought the assembly was important. A number of other students also told me that the assembly was great. But although I did receive positive feedback afterwards from Sixth-form students overall this was the year group that seemed the least engaged with what I was saying.

The Year 7s were another strong contrast to the Sixth-formers. They managed to guess all of the letters and a lot more students raised their hands to take part in the activity, which I thought was amazing especially due to their age. When I asked if there were any questions half way through my assembly many of them asked questions, being the first year group to ask things, except for that one Year 10 student. They seemed curious and excited to find out more or have things explained again or in more detail, which made me happy because asking questions and gaining more and new knowledge is the first step to becoming more open minded, accepting and inclusive, which ultimately was my aim for the week.

It seemed as though the engagement became stronger and stronger the lower the Year group was, which clearly shows how our society is becoming more open and ready to be diverse. The attitudes of the year groups showed that although they weren’t that far apart in age there was already a lot of development in terms of equality and positivity towards LGBT topics, which arguably is also why the students that I hear using “Gay” as an insult are in the higher year groups. Overall I felt very humbled by the experience of this week because I started this due to it being something I am passionate about and I got so much amazing feedback and almost exclusively was faced with positivity by both students and teachers. There is still a lot more awareness that needs to be spread, especially in schools to start creating acceptance from a young age, but it was astonishing to see how much knowledge there already is, especially with the younger years.

Thomas Ward - activist in the making.
Help Us Turn

'Voices and

Visibility'

Digital with

GoFundMe


 

We have raised £1480 - nearly a quarter of the money we need to make our history visible in every classroom, lecture room, workshop and laptop in the land.

How visible were lesbians, gays, bisexuals and trans + people when you were at school?

Could you name an LGBT+ person who had live a great life or achieved wonderful things?

Did anybody teach you about Alan Turing, Jackie Kay, Frida Kahlo or Jan Morris?

Young people know about Ru Paul and Caitlin Jenner but that is because of the media; not because of school.

We have a wonderful wallchart but it was made in 2015. We want to make it digital and interactive, so it can be accessible to everyone, can provide details through hyperlinks and can be updated so it’s relevant to young people in the present day, whether the present day is now or in the future.
The end product will also be audio-described.

To do this we need funds so please help us out:


GoFundMe

Steve Goes To

Sitges
On Saturday evening 24th February about 30 members of Gay Sitges Link met to hear a presentation by Steve Boyce in their office and social space.
 
Steve gave a talk on the work that Schools Out, LGBT History Month, Outing the Past, The Classroom and Voices and Visibility wall chart has been undertaking in the UK. Our colleagues at GSL were impressed at our work and very supportive- they are in a unique situation having been an LGBT resort for many years. They have been doing similar work to us, they have made a historical documentary video on the down from the LGBT perspective and they have introduced a historical pink walk through the town.
 
Sadly they also reported that someone came and did some oral archive work but talked to some less than accurate sources!!
 
I met with the current co-chair who is also a local reporter and so the evening was well publicised in the local press before hand- I just wish he had talked to me before he wrote his article! However we are going to do a follow up and a feature interview when I am back in town in September.
 
We may even get some submissions for the Festival from the historians in the group- who knows even a mini hub!!
 
Badges were sold and they were left wanting more contact.

Steve Boyce - Patrons Representative, Schools OUT Committee
 
Stephen 

Wins His Wings

Stephen M Hornby, our associate playwright, was presented with Sweden's Wings Award on 17th March for his harrowing 2017 film 'Unchechen', which documented Russia 's purge of gay men in that region and his work with LGBT History Month "confirming that film and theatre are powerful weapons against homophobia".

Stephen was speaking at the Sexing The Past Conference, which rounded off 2018's OUTing The Past festival, at Liverpool John Moores University on 18th March. He was presented with his award by Bill Schiller of the Nordic Pride organisation, and who had traveled from Sweden specially. 

Stephen has produced plays as part of LGBT HM since 2015, including 'The Burnley Buggers' Ball', 'Burnley's Lesbian Liberator' and 'A Very Victorian Scandal'. Stephen's work has been a crucial part of what we're all about - uncovering, celebrating and sharing our shared LGBT inheritance.

Well deserved.

Trans Day Of

Visibility -

Saturday

March 31st
International Transgender Day of Visibility is meant to be a day of celebration.

Unlike November’s Transgender Day of Remembrance, which stands as a day to memorialize the lives that have been taken by anti-trans violence, March 31 is meant to recognize the achievements and everyday experiences of the trans people who are still living and trying to thrive.
 
More information here.
To find these and other events

near you in February 2018 

and beyond
 
- or to advertise your own -

take a look at our


Event Calendar!
 You can support LGBT History Month by
 
organising events, quizzes, exhibitions, recording histories, contributing to events; asking to be put in our OUTing the Past gazette, promoting our events; keeping an eye on our website, resources and calendar; attending events; buying our badges and books and other materials in our shop and anything else you can think of!
 
for more information contact
info@schools-out.org.uk

Faces of
2019 - 2023 

nominate your heroes and your icons!

We have now finalised the theme for 2019 and the next four Februarys:
 
2019: History II
peace, reconciliation & activism

2020: English
poetry, prose and plays

2021: PSHE II  
mind, body, spirit

2022: Art & Politics  
the arc is long

2023: Art II  
behind the lens

For each year we would like you, our supporters, to nominate the L,G,B and T Faces who will represent queer contributions to the various chosen art forms and topics. Our only specification is that your nominee is now dead. We are particularly keen to expand the list of BAME LGBT contributors to the UK. If possible, please also let us know the source of your evidence - hearsay and rumour are not enough.

So if you have a name who you believe has been forgotten, straightened or even deliberately misrepresented by history in one or more of the above subjects, let us know:

Contact Andrew Dobbin, Promotions Officer for Schools OUT UK here

or send a message to info@schools-out.org.uk

 

Donations

Schools OUT UK is an ambitious organisastion. 
We need your help. 

For years, decades in fact, Schools OUT UK, and before that The Gay Teachers' Group has survived - and thrived - as a purely voluntary organisation, with a small income based mainly around the sale of our annual History Month badge. None of the committee receives any income for the work they do.

We have done so much and we want to do so much more. A one-off donation of £20 (less than £2 a month) would help us. A regular donation would be amazing.

Imagine more lessons posted on The Classroom, LGBT HM in every school in the UK, a Festival Hub in every county or major town in Britain, a National Museum of LGBT Heritage. 

With your continued support, those dreams can become reality.

You can either copy and fill in the above donation form and post it to us, together with a cheque to BM Schools OUT London WC1N 3XX or go here to set up a  regular donation online.
Our pioneering Classroom resource site gets bigger and better! With primary and secondary lesson plans, the site is bursting with new practical ideas and resources.
You can find the Classroom here 
or go to our website
www.lgbthistorymonth.org.uk 
and scroll down the left-hand side till you reach Classroom Resources.
 

LGBT HM and SOUK on FB

LGBT History Month is the most famous project by Schools OUT UK.
Both have their own dedicated Facebook page, updated daily by Promotions Officer Andrew Dobbin and former committee member Nic Chinardet. 

Follow us for all news LGBT related.

LGBT HM on Facebook:
95,070 likes as of 6th January 2018
Schools OUT United Kingdom is registered in England as a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (no. 1156352)

Patrons:
John Amaechi  Christine Burns  Dr Harry Cocks  Angela Eagle MP  
Professor Viv Gardner  Professor Martin Hall  Sir Ian McKellen Cyril Nri  
Professor Ian Rivers  Professor Sheila Rowbotham 
 Labi Siffre  Professor Melanie Tebbutt  Gareth Thomas
 Jeffrey Weeks  Professor Stephen Whittle OBE
Copyright © 2018 Schools OUT UK, All rights reserved.


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