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Welcome to OutBURST!

The latest news from LGBT History Month
Every February since 2005

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Here's what you can find in this months issue...

Schools OUT Updates:

Check out our team member updates from the official LGBT History Month hubs:
Who Are We?

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 (below) for only £3 from our online shop.

We are already over halfway through February! Can you believe it? We've all been very busy darting around the country, carrying badges and folders and banners and all manner of other things.

Still, the work only ramps up from here onwards as we gear up for our first ever LGBT History Month hubs in New York, Sweden, Norway and both Northern and Republic of Ireland. I myself with be jetting off to Derry and am excited to learn about the fight for LGBT equality across the Irish Sea. 

Our newsletter is going through a makeover with the aim of making it better for our readers, so please bear with us whilst we spruce up! 

Until then, enjoy the rest of our wonderful events through LGBT History Month. 

Thanks as always, 

Maisie Barker

Content Co-ordinator
Schools OUT UK


Friday 1st February - London School of Economics

There were two talks in the afternoon; both based on the 1950s. Alex Bakker, author of a book on transgender surgery in the Netherlands in that decade - and a trans-man himself - spoke of the pioneers from around the world who made gender reassignment surgery available for MTF trans people. From 1953 to 1955 surgery was available in the Netherlands. Bizarrely, however, a vaginaplasty was only available in the US where castration (an essential precursor) was illegal; this meant that to have a successful medical transition people had to change continents and undergo two phases of treatment privately.

Martin Malcolm and Ben Priestley explored the untold story of a now-forgotten activist, Dr RD Reid, and a tragic court case in Taunton that prompted him to make what may have been the first public call for a campaign to decriminalise homosexuality in the UK.

Visitors were treated in the late afternoon to an exhibition of the Hall-Carpenter Archives, which contain a large collection of primary source material relating to the LGBT+ movement from the late 1950s through to the ‘90s. 

In the evening, Stuart Feather, of the Gay Liberation Front, spoke about the legacy of Mary McIntosh, known as “Britain’s leading feminist”, who was instrumental in the Homosexual Law Reform Society campaign to abolish the 1865 Offences Against The Persons Act. He recalled that McIntosh was initially dismayed by the lack of female representation in the early days of what was then known as the Gay & Lesbian Movement, saying “as soon as the lesbians came out, we were told we were a bourgeois deviation and we would disappear under socialism.”

Dr Clifford Williams (pictured above with Matt Cain), of the London Gay Teenage Group in the 1970s and ‘80s, gave a fascinating account of what eventually became the Gay Youth Movement of the 1980s, which in turn sprung several groups across the UK. He described the activist pioneers’ dismay at the lack of existing social infrastructure and their surprise and delight when they discovered ‘GAY Groups’ which were run by the Church – until they discovered that “GAY” stood for “Guild of Abstaining Youths”.

Lisa Power, the final speaker of the evening, co-founded Stonewall in 1989. Now 30 years old, the Stonewall movement evolved from an organisation consisting almost exclusively of white gay men into one that is racially diverse and proudly progressive. Introducing herself as “a dyke who’s been around for donkey’s years”, Power told the audience how Stonewall was initially stonewalled by other left-wing institutions such as the Labour party and even the gay press. She proudly recounted how they pressed on undeterred, proclaiming that “history is made to be interfered with”.

by Tony Fenwick

Thursday 7th February - Leeds City Museum

Leeds has a surprisingly busy history of LGBT presence: playwright Alan Bennett and Olympic boxer Nicola Adams both hail from this corner of West Yorkshire, and the Gay Liberation Front has a long-running and active history in the city.

Therefore it was inevitable that Leeds would join the OUTing The Past family; set in the beautiful rooms of Leeds City Museum they played host to a series of fascinating talks and presentations. 

The day began with a re-enactment of 70s/80s demonstrations with replica banners and placards and a variety of displays from West Yorkshire Queer Stories, Feminist Archive North, amongst others. Then it was the turn of the delightful Owain Wyn Evans to welcome the guests.

The first presentation was on the history of ACT UP Leeds (Aids Coalition To Unleash Power) by Mick Ward. Mick looked at the methods used by the organisation to increase awareness of institutional prejudice, such as the infamous Virginia Bottomley/“I’m am evil Tory bigot” stunt.

The day’s second talk was a look into a little-known Yorkshirewoman by the name of Anne Lister. Lister was a prolific diarist whose notes detailed both her privileged wealthy upbringing and her sheltered inner love for other women. Angela Clare’s interest brought Anne’s story to life and showcased the beautiful inner lives of historical lesbian women. 

We moved back towards community activism as two mothers spoke of the difficulties of raising children as lesbians in the 1980s. With hilarious comments about artificial insemination and horrific stories of prejudice and lesbophobia the talk was enriching and personal.

The ever-amazing Kate Hutchinson spoke on her personal interests of gender presentation in rock music: from Jayne County to David Bowie, from Lou Reed’s now-outdated descriptions of trans women to the glam rock androgyny of the New York Dolls.

After lunch we were queered for landing as Caroline Paige discussed her life as the first openly transgender officer in the Royal Air Force. She linked her journey in the context of Roberta, a WWII Spitfire pilot who trailblazed ‘changing sex’ in the UK; and Catherine who is currently the trans LGBT+ Freedom Network representative in the RAF. As always, her talk was brilliant and a real gem.

We were truly blessed to have Olivette Cole-Wilson to present her testimony as a black lesbian co-founder of Stonewall. The white public faces of the organisation are very well known so it is crucial we recognise those who worked behind the scenes to make such an impact. Olivette was particularly popular and we are, as always, grateful to her for her activism. 

The day was rounded off by readings from Trudy Howson, the LGBT Poet Laureate. Her work is bold, her use of language is playful - and all delivered in a delightfully plummy, yet knowing, tone of voice. Her experience as a political activist and performer leads to her owning a room and it was a thoroughly enjoyable way to finish the day. 

Schools OUT UK would like to thank Leeds City Museum and John Donegan for their excellent work in hosting their first OUTing The Past event. The feedback was fantastic and I hope it encourages them to continue in the years to come. 

by Maisie Barker

Sunday 10th February - People's History Museum, Manchester

Manchester always has special place in my heart, having been the residence of  LGBTHM co-founder Paul Patrick. I never enter the station without looking for his face, even though he died 11 years ago. Now I come for the second OUTing The Past event I am attending at the People’s History Museum, who have been big supporters of LGBT History Month, and have staged OTP for us regularly. Staying with Amelia Lee, the director of Proud Trust means we can have a catch up and do some plotting. So watch this space; ideas were born!

On Sunday the 10th People’s History Museum staged a very popular LGBT tour devised by Dr Jeff Evans, the facilitator of OTP. The museum has lots of hidden LGBT history, with a small permanent exhibition focusing on Manchester’s Gay Village. 

The presentations started with Sacha Coward, who was previously at Greenwich Maritime Museum and who has now become a self-confessed mermaid hunter - finding them all over the world, across the ages, in so many different cultures and so often linked to same-sex love and attraction. I learnt so much and was entranced by his pictorial collection of mermaids and mermen; one of whom sits in the fountain in Trafalgar Square and was modelled on a gay man. 

Abigail Ward runs a fascinating music archive in Manchester ( and in her presentation she introduced us to the pioneering work of trans musician Jayne County. Music relies heavily on its queer musicians and I am not sure we could have a contemporary music scene without them! It was a fascinating tour of inspirational music venues in Britain and America and we learnt that she was a regular user of the Stonewall Inn and that she influenced legendary musicians such as David Bowie. She also worked in fringe theatre with Patti Smith. She is clearly a fascinating character and I was grateful to Abigail in introducing her to me. 

It was then my turn to present some history of Section 28 and Schools OUT UK.   

The audience was comprised of people too young to know much about this era and those who, like me, lived through it. Audience members contributed their own experiences and overall a lively and informative debate meant we found a way to share memories and thoughts. 

The final event of the day was a rehearsed reading of the first draft of a play about Peter Tatchell’s experiences during the early ‘80s while he was running as a Labour a candidate in Bermondsey. Its author Stephen Hornby is the OTP resident writer and was also resident writer for the PHM. Through interviews with Peter himself and archive material, Stephan deftly wove the story through a series of scenes mapping out the betrayals of the local labour politicians Bob Melish and John O’Grady. We saw the police’s total ineffectualness in dealing with the hate crimes against Peter, including receiving a bullet through the post. Harvey Milk’s assassination just a few years earlier emphasised the kind of violence that was directed at Peter. 

The actors only got the script the day before and yet they made the rehearsed reading a vibrant exciting event.  The actors Mike Heath, Emily Heyworth, Judy Holt Nathan Morris and Daren Scott, directed by Matt Hassall, are to be massively congratulated. Nathan Morris, who played ‘Tatch’, should be particularly noted as he truly captured Peter’s essence. It must surely have been daunting with Tatchell himself in the audience! In the Q&A session it was clear that Peter, though embarrassed, was impressed with the piece and felt that Stephen had done a grand job in dramatizing a difficult part of his life. Many thanks to all concerned at the PHM for supporting us once again and being such an important part of OUTing the Past.

12th February took me to Leicester to meet Hannah and Manish who run the LGBT staff group of the university. We had a very productive day networking and plotting and visited the Leicester LGBT centre, a stunning building run by two lesbians - Jackie and Judy. They were very excited by OUTing the Past and offered immediately to be a hub in 2020. They have excellent resources and links with oral histories, so they are a perfect fit! 

The session I was invited to speak at was a very diverse evening of gay men, trans people and women - telling our stories and discussing the importance of LGBT history. I met Ian, a solid union man, came out in later life after his wife died. David, a professor of nursing had been out since he was 14; Katie, a trans woman finally transitioned six months ago in her late fifties, and Nate, a trans man who is a student in the university. It was thrilling to see the diversity and vibrance of our community. The discussion covered many topics and we were all clear we needed to be on our guard against the forces of the right that can, if we are not vigilant, take our rights away.

Wednesday 13th February - Bishopsgate Institute

Stuart Milk (pictured above) started us off in his own inimitable way, reminiscing about his uncle Harvey and the importance of his beliefs about being visible. The Milk Foundation, with Stuart as their ambassador, does much work around the world encouraging governments to support LGBT rights. He has been in India and Thailand recently playing a part in the move they made to accept same-sex marriage. We are very grateful to Stuart for the support he gives us and his consistent assertion that we run the best LGBT History Month in the world.

Natasha Walker, a member of Gay Switchboard, gave a consummate presentation using the handwritten logs from the first 30 years of the volunteers, who answer the phones 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. It was a very moving account, taking us through our recent history through the lens of a few of their thousands of callers. Inevitably the tragedies of AIDS, Section 28, the Admiral Duncan bombing and bullying at school were there, along with shocking stories of police harassment and abuse. Seeing the handwritten, anonymised accounts of what the volunteers dealt with was so moving and we were given a very special insight into some of the crucial landmarks of our recent history. The logs are a very special treasure and will, I am sure, prove to be inspiration for several plays and or films. We were all spellbound and I can’t wait to hear more from their archive which, like Schools OUT UK, rests in Bishopsgate Institute.

Lisa Power gave us a very clear account of the early days of Stonewall, the UK organisation deliberately set up as pragmatic organisation to change the legislation after the passing of Section 28. Its roots were clearly more radical than people would think, as Lisa remembers them working with ‘Outrage!’ at the time. They understood the importance of a variety of tactics to achieve their goals. One of their first missions was to venture to Brussels and start the early work of getting the European Union to be inclusive of LGBT issues; vital, as so many of the laws that have enshrined our rights have come from there.

The last speaker, Stuart Feather, enlightened us on Mary Macintosh. Macintosh, a lesbian, feminist and sociologist who used her position in the Home Office to discover early male gay culture in 18th century molly houses which Norton then used in his book. She was there at early GLF meetings and women’s liberation meetings helping to forge alliances, holding many positions in universities and played a crucial part in getting the age of consent reduced to 18 from 21. We owe her much.

The joy of having the event in Bishopsgate is that there is now so much of our heritage stored there - Stonewall has housed their archives there as well, and the staff are charming and helpful. Please do reconsider you own memorabilia; Stef Dickers will be thrilled to give you advice and help to make sure we have a comprehensive picture of our diverse LGBT life.

by Sue Sanders


The daily Points of Light award recognises outstanding individual volunteers - people who are making a change in their community.

This award was given to Sue on the 1st February, the start of LGBT History Month 2019 

Sue Sanders, from London, has been one of the UK’s most prominent LGBT rights campaigners for over forty years, and is the Chair of ‘Schools OUT UK’, which founded ‘LGBT History Month’, the annual celebration of diversity, equality and the LGBT community. As a teacher, Sue first began working with the forerunner of ‘Schools OUT UK’  a group working for the equality of LGBT people in the education system. With fellow campaigner, the late Paul Patrick, Sue proposed creating a month dedicated to improving the education of LGBT history in the UK. The UK’s first ‘LGBT History Month’ was launched in 2004 with government support, taking place every year since. From 2014, the initiative has also hosted ‘OUTing the Past’, the official LGBT history festival, which this year is taking place in 18 hubs across five countries, hosting over 100 presentations from leading academics and activists. This award coincides with the start of this year’s LGBT History Month. Sue also founded the website The Classroom that has over free 80 lesson plans that usualise LGBT history issues across the curriculum and for all ages. 

The official government notice can be found here.

BBC News LGBT correspondent Ben Hunte travelled to Brighton - often referred to as the gay capital of the UK - to test how much the public really knows about LGBT history. Our very own Sue Sanders features in the video, shared widely of social media. 

The lack of awareness even by those in our own community shows just how much work there is to be done.
Schools OUT UK have been asked to talk at HSBC's LGBT History Month event on Thursday. The panel discussion will look at the past 50 years of activism and also includes BMX star Shanaze Reade.

It is a very exciting opportunity to work with such a huge company and we hope it will be an illuminating event.


'Adhesion of Love', a new play by Stephen M. Hornby, directed by Helen Parry

In 1885, John W Wallace, a working-class man from Bolton, sets up the Eagle Street ‘College’, a book group that celebrates his love for Walt Whitman’s poetry. Attracting a small group of like-minded men, Wallace embarks on a journey of spiritual and sexual self-discovery through Whitman’s words.

When Wallace arrives in America six years later and meets his literary hero face-to-face, he is forced to confront the true nature of the intimacy the college members are seeking. On his return to Bolton, Wallace is unsure how to express his new sexual and spiritual awakening within in the conservative confines of Victorian England.

Written by multi-award winning playwright Stephen M Hornby, The Adhesion of Love tells the extraordinary true story of how an architect’s assistant from Bolton crossed the Atlantic in 1891 to meet the visionary queer poet Walt Whitman.

Tickets are available below:

University of Manchester: 20th February

Adelphi Theatre, Salford: 28th February

YouTuber Calum McSwiggan explores everything sex, LGBT+, the outrageous and downright inappropriate! The world’s top drag queens, the UK’s most passionate activists and the funniest names around join Calum each week to discuss everything from trending topics and the porn industry to fetishes and queer representation in the media. Regular features include reacting to listeners sex confessions and some naughty games for good measure.

They're doing a whole month of specialised content throughout LGBT History Month and each week are looking to a section of the LGBT+ community. They will be discussing mental health, sex and inclusion as well as this year’s theme of ‘Peace, Activism and Reconciliation’.

On Wednesday 20th February they will be joined by none other than our very own Sue Sanders. 

People can listen in via or

After each show has aired, it will be available as a podcast on Calum’s show page.

Resources & Opportunities

UCU LGBT+ Research Conference

'I want to be me: contextualising self-identities' Friday 17 May 2019, 10.00am - 4.00pm, University of Manchester

The aim of this conference is to explore how LGBT+ people have experienced and/or are experiencing actions and discourse around their self-identities.

This may include gender and sexual identity, intersectionality, desire, relationships, experience across the lifespan, politics, and solidarity. This conference is open to all (you don't have to be a UCU member) and is free to attend.

The call for papers deadline is 25th February.

Entry is open at this link. 
Affiliate Links

Voices & Visibility

Voices & Visibility is a project to develop LGBT+ history resources. In 2015 the project produced a wallchart (available here) celebrating LGBT+ lives and the contribution they have made to life, learning, equal rights and society in the UK. This campaign is raising funds to develop a digital interactive version of the wallchart. 

The response to the wallchart has been overwhelmingly positive. It is available for free and is still in demand with over 3000 downloads in 2017 alone. 

Your donation will enable the digital interactive resource to be developed. All the information will be developed by a team of dedicated volunteers. All the information will be accessible for those with a sensory impairment. For those developing their reading skills there will be short summaries, written in plain English. The resource will be hosted on the LGBT History Month website alongside the current wallchart. It will be free and open to all.

Click here to link to our fundraising page. 
Proud Trust

The Proud Trust is a life saving and life enhancing organisation that helps young people empower themselves to make a positive change for themselves and their communities. We do this through youth groupspeer support, managing the LGBT Centre for Manchester, delivering of training and events, campaigns, undertaking research and creating resources.

Links to support them are available here. 

Support Us

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

For decades, 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.

With your continued support, we can realise our dreams of more lessons posted on The Classroom, LGBT HM in every school in the UK, a festival hub in every major town in the UK, and a National Museum of LGBT Heritage.

Or to donate via cheque, BACS or direct debit click here

Or click the button below to donate via Paypal

Copyright © 2019 Schools OUT UK, All rights reserved.


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