Good folks, if you fancy a bit of spoken word goodness this Saturday evening, come to LGB-QWERTY for the third in our series of events marking #50years.  As we’ve already had events focussed around what LGBT+ life was like 50 years ago, and what it’s like now, this event will focus on what LGBT+ life might be like in 50 years time.

We’ve come a long way in 50 years, but there’s still a way to go, so what do you think it might be like?  Poets and spoken word performers have been given an invitation to write new pieces on that theme, and their inaugural performances of their new work will feature as part of this event.  There’ll be a donation bucket on the door, and open mic slots will be available, you can email Dan@furthestfromthesea.co.uk if you’d like to perform one of your own pieces on the night.

Featured performers will include:

Sam Beckett (Purple Theatre)
Emerciana Desouiza
Holly Dafffurn
Jenny Sissons
Nona Wyld
Lucy Skerratt, Patricia Simeon and Elizabeth Asasira.

On: Saturday 23rd September, doors open 7pm, performance starts at 7.30pm at the 67, Bridge Street Café, Derby.  This event also forms part of the University of Derby Freshers Week events.

You can find out more about it HERE

‘Looking Back, Looking Forward’, is presented by LGB-QWERTY in association with Derbyshire LGBT+, supported by Furthest from the Sea Music, Comedy & Arts CIC, Twisted Tongues and University of Derby

LGBT+ History: The Armed Forces

In 2000 The UK Government lifted the ban on LGBT+ people serving in the armed forces.

Prior to this, the Armed Forces Policy and Guidelines on Homosexuality stated that the homosexual lifestyle was “incompatible” with military life “because of the close physical conditions in which personnel often have to live and work, and also because homosexual behaviour can cause offense, polarise relationships, induce ill-discipline and damage morale and unit effectiveness”.

In September of 1999, the European Court of Human Rights found that the British Armed Forces had discriminated against LGB service personnel, by releasing them from service if it was found out that they were LGB.  The British Government stated that it would abide by the court ruling, and immediately lifted the ban, with changes coming into force on 12th January 2000.  This was years before the American Armed Services repealed their ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy in 2011.

Currently Hannah Winterbourne serves as the British Army’s highest ranking Trans* officer. You can read more about her here: https://www.ft.com/content/5af4d0e0-a747-11e6-8b69-02899e8bd9d1

In February 2005, the Royal Navy joined Stonewall’s Diversity Champions programme, followed in November 2006 by the Royal Air Force and by the British Army the largest of the three services in June 2008, to promote good working conditions for all existing and potential employees and to ensure equal treatment for those who are lesbian, gay and bisexual.  At London Pride in 2008, all three armed services marched in the parade in uniform for the first time.

LGBT+ History: TDOR

Trans* Day of Remembrance is founded in the USA in 1999, and then later commemorated in the UK and worldwide, to remember those who have been murdered as a result of transphobia and to bring attention to the continued violence endured by the Trans* community.
The International Transgender Day of Remembrance is a day which is set aside to remember those who were killed due to anti-transgender hate or prejudice.  It is held annually on the 20th November and was founded by another Transgender woman Gwendolyn Ann Smith. See gwensmith.com on the https://web.archive.org to follow the articles she had written for some of the regional LGBT newspapers.
The event was first held to honour Rita Hester who was murdered on November 28th 1998 sparking the “remembering our dead” web project and a candlelight vigil in San Francisco in 1999.  The vigil started at the Model Café in Allston and ended at her apartment, where she had been stabbed 20 times.  Like many cases of this kind the case remains unsolved.
The “Remembering our dead” project links to a now defunct website but the last version can be found on the web archive.  See https://web.archive.org/web/20120303030252/http://rememberingourdead.org/#
Other projects also sprang into life from this, including http://Transrespect.org  who have other useful information regarding different aspects of how Transgender people are treated around the globe.
Additional info:  Rita’s grave details can be found here https://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=20320835


LGBT+ History: Baron Waheed Alli

In 1998 Waheed Alli becomes the first openly gay member of the House of Lords and one of a few openly gay Muslims. Alli has used his political position to argue for gay rights. He spearheaded the campaign to repeal Section 28 (pdf). He advocated lowering the age of consent for homosexuals from 18 to 16, equal to heterosexuals; this eventually became law as the Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act 2000 (link). It was during a heated exchange with conservative opponents, led by Baroness Young, that he informed his fellow peers that he was gay. In April 1999, he said in a speech, “I have never been confused about my sexuality. I have been confused about the way I am treated as a result of it. The only confusion lies in the prejudice shown, some of it tonight [i.e. in the House], and much of it enshrined in the law.”

In 2009, he spearheaded an effort to repeal clauses in the Civil Partnership Act 2004 which prohibited religious institutions from conducting the ceremonies on their premises. This campaign culminated in a bipartisan amendment, which became part of the Equality Act 2010

LGBT+ History: events of 1992

The UK dependency, the Isle of Man, fully decriminalises homosexuality in 1992.  Before this time any men caught having sex faced life in prison.  While this may seem like good news the bill came with a sting in its tail.  In order for it to be legal the men both had to be over the age of consent, and in private.  It is the ‘in private’ clause which causes issues as that is taken to mean anywhere the public cannot go freely or by payment, and there must be no more than two people present.  It is also still illegal if performed onboard a Manx registered merchant vessel.(1)

In the same year, TV Personality Sandi Toksvig, comes out publicly as a lesbian through the pages of the Sunday Times and Daily Mirror.  Within the last couple of years, she has revealed that she received homophobic death threats shortly after she came out, and was told that her career in television would likely be over.  Sandi Toksvig took over hosting QI from Stephen Fry last year, and continues her highly successful entertainment career.

She gave an interview about her experiences from death threats to the rise and fall of her relationships in the Guardian here.

(1) Note: The author has not checked to see if this is still the current situation in the Isle of Man and was correct as of 2012.

LGBT+ History: Age of Consent

1994: The UK House of Commons, led by MP Edwina Currie, moves to reduce the age of consent for same-sex relations between men to 16. The vote is defeated and the age of consent is instead lowered to 18. An age of consent for same-sex relations between women is not set.

The age of consent had a bit of a chequered history over the years.  The Home Office recommended an age of consent of 21 but it was Harold Wilsons government in 1967 when it finally happened.  Later in 1979 the Home office again recommended that it should drop to age 18 because that was the point when “society deems a young man to be an adult and responsible”.  Nothing ever happened at that time.

It was when Edwina Currie brought forward her amendment to the bill to lower the consent to 16, with the support of the opposition that the compromise age of 18 was finally settled on.

The age of consent did not settle at 18 for long after the European Courts got involved in 1996 starting a further round of rows.

For a more in depth article about the changes over the years the BBC have done a good write up here.

QWERTY and Victim are tomorrow!

This year marks #50years since the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality in the UK.  You probably already know that, but what you might not know is that we’ve teamed up with some very special folks to bring you a night of LGBT+ celebration.  The Sexual Offences Act came into force today in 1967, and so tomorrow evening, we’re proud to present a very special night of LGBT+ goodness as part of our year-long celebrations.


First up, starting at 7pm sharp is LGB-QWERTY, hosted at the QUAD, and partnership with Twisted Tounges and Furthest from the Sea, it promises to be a veritable vocal banquet of six poets and spoken word artists who have been commissioned to write new works on what LGBT+ life is like now.  Come join the fabulous compere, volunteers and staff from Derbyshire LGBT+ in reflecting on the aspects and experiences of LGBT+ modern life.

Following our spoken word feast, QUAD are showing Victim (1961) a film seminal in changing the UK law.  QUAD are offering a discount on your tickets, just quote ‘LGBTPLUS’ when booking in person or over the phone.  The film starts at 8.30pm, and will be introduced beforehand by Ian Robson, CEO of Derbyshire LGBT+.  To book tickets, just call 01332 290606