New Site Under Construction

Dear lovely visitors! You may have noticed, among other things (like the new web address you’ve had to type in or click through to to get here), that we’re giving our website a bit of a re-jig. This is as part of our recent renaming.

We’re currently working on setting up your new and shiny site, but at the moment… well, we’ve got to be honest… there are some rough edges. But we thought it more important to keep the content available to you while we make the changes, so please do stay with us and keep checking back. We’ll have things smoothed off in no time.

Or, to put it another way: excuse us while we change.

Yours,

The Derbyshire LGBT+ team.

LGBT History Month 2016 – Day 10 – Frida Kahlo

Frida Kahlo (1907 – 1954) is our inspiration for Day 10. A passionate Mexican self-portrait artist, she suffered from polio as a child, and was disabled through an accident when she was 18, undergoing multiple painful operations throughout her life. Isolated and often in pain, whether physical or psychological, she turned to painting, using herself as her primary subject. Her two tempestuous marriages to Diego, another artist, did not stop either of them having additional relationships, with Frida conducting several affairs with men and women.

Her work has been celebrated by feminists for her uncompromising depiction of the female form.

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You can read more about her life and works here: http://www.frida-kahlo-foundation.org/

There’s also a film about her life, Frida (2002), (which contains one of the most passionate same sex dance scenes IMHO ~ ed.).  You can see a clip of it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=moe3i3AycwE

LGBT History Month 2016 – Day 9 – Kenneth Williams

For our Day 9, and without further ado, it’s Kenneth Williams (1926 – 1988):

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Kenneth Williams was an English comic actor and comedian, most famous for his work in 26 of the 31 Carry On films (1958-1978), and appeared in many British television shows and radio comedies, including series with Tony Hancock and Kenneth Horne.  Often caustic, critical and pithy, Williams lived in a time when homosexuality was illegal, and so referred in his copious diaries to unconsummated or barely consummated same-sex dalliances, which he describes as “traditional matters” or “tradiola”.

You can read more about Kenneth Williams, here http://www.theguardian.com/film/2010/oct/10/kenneth-williams-biography-christopher-stevens and watch an interview with him here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T7_IWWAlMJg

LGBT History Month 2016 – Day 8 – Gertrude Stein

Day 8, and it’s into the life of Gertrude Stein (1873 – 1946):

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Gertrude Stein was an American writer of novels, poetry and plays, and a collector of art. Born in 1873, she initially studied medicine at Johns Hopkins, she moved to Paris in 1903, and began collecting art.  In 1907, she met her life partner Alice Toklas, and in the 1980s some 300 love letters between the two were discovered at Yale University.  Stein wrote one of the earliest coming-out stories, QED, in 1903, though it was not published until 1950. She also wrote ‘Miss Fur and Miss Skeene’ containing the first use of the word ‘gay’ to refer to same-sex relationships.

For more about her life and work, you can go here: http://www.biography.com/people/gertrude-stein-9493261

LGBT History Month 2016 – Day 7 – James Barry

For our Day 7, we honour the life of Dr James Barry:

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James Barry ((1789-1799) – 1865) was a military surgeon in the British Army. After graduation from the University of Edinburgh Medical School, Barry served in India and Cape Town, South Africa. By the end of his career, he had risen to the rank of Inspector General in charge of military hospitals. In his travels he not only improved conditions for wounded soldiers, but also the conditions of the native inhabitants. He performed the first successful Caesarian section, with mother and child both surviving the operation, in 1826. Although Barry lived his adult life as a man, he was assigned female at birth, and chose to live as a man so that he might be accepted as a university student and able to pursue a career as a surgeon, with his biological sex only being discovered by the public and his colleagues after his death.

We cannot, of course, be clear on the question of how Dr Barry self-identified. His story is confusing and the subject of much rumour and myth, but his own exact feelings on the matter were never recorded. If alive today, with the relative freedom of modern gender expression, would he declare himself a trans-man? Or would she consider herself a woman who simply adopted a male persona in order to pursue her desired career? We will never know, and must respect this uncertainty. But he is interred at the Kensal Green Cemetery under the name of James Barry, and whatever the answer to this question may have been, it is certain that his life and career helped weaken society’s established gender restrictions.

You can read more about him here: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/science/science-news/3334909/Revealed-Army-surgeon-actually-a-woman.html

LGBT History Month 2016 – Day 6 – Sappho

Day 6’s inspirational person is someone who wrote poetry way before Hadrian was alive.  The work of the poetess Sappho (620 – 570BC) , also known as Sappho of Lesbos, after the Greek island on which she was born. She was a lyric poet – meaning her poetry would have been read out accompanied by a lyre – whose work was so popular in ancient Greece, and beyond, that she was honoured in statuary and praised by figures such as Solon and Plato.  Her poetry focussed on the romantic love between women. One verse reads:

“Never to let this lose me grace,
But rather bring you back to me:
Amongst all mortal women, the one
I most wish to see.”

The themes of Sappho’s work and her association with the island of Lesbos gave rise, in the late nineteenth century, to the use of the word ‘lesbian’ in its modern sense, as well as the term ‘sapphic’ to describe female-focused eroticism.

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You can find out more here; http://www.ancient.eu/Sappho_of_Lesbos/

LGBT History Month 2016 – Day 5 – Sir Ian McKellen

For Day 5, we head into the fabulous world of stage and film and celebrate Sir Ian McKellen CH, CBE (1939 –   ).  As well as being an accomplished out-and-proud actor on stage and screen, he co-founded Stonewall in 1988 and continues to act as a prominent advocate for LGBT rights.

Sir Ian publicly declared himself to be gay during the national debate over the enactment of S28 Local Government Act 1988, commonly referred to simply as ‘Section 28’. This was a piece of legislation banning the ‘promotion of homosexuality’, particularly in schools. The discussion programme – called ‘Third Ear’ – is still held available in archive at the BBC here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/archive/gay_rights/12012.shtml.  It requires Flash to play.

“Since coming out… I’ve been asked, almost expected, to speak and write about gay issues. And I’ve been very happy to do so in London, Washington DC, Cape Town and on any number of Gay Pride Days everywhere.”

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You can find Sir Ian’s website here: http://www.mckellen.com/ and more information about him here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ian_McKellen

LGBT History Month 2016 – Day 4 – Frank Ocean

We take a look at Frank Ocean (1987 –  ) for Day 4, who opened up about his same-sex romantic feelings online http://www.nme.com/news/frank-ocean/64693 in 2012. He was one of the first major black music artists to announce that he was LGBT.  He has released albums in 2011 and 2012.

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You can read Frank’s Tumblr blog here: http://frankocean.tumblr.com/ and more about him here: http://popcrush.com/frank-ocean-comes-out-open-letter-tumblr/

Introspective Event, 14th Feb

On Feb 14th Derbyshire LGBT will be hosting a very special event looking back and sharing memories of the work of Derbyshire Friend.

Over the last 34 years, our focus has evolved; we have helped thousands of Derbyshire folk, by helping people come out, providing information and support on LGBT+ sexual health, raising LGBT awareness, advocating on behalf of, and celebrating the many and varied ways that LGBT+ people self-identify.

On Sunday 14th February 2016, we will be hosting a trip down memory lane and looking back at the events, activism, Prides and awareness raising that we did as Derbyshire Friend.

Come and join us for a very special drop-in afternoon, and bring your photographs and memories of Derbyshire Friend to share between 12-5pm.

We hope to see you there for a cuppa and a chat, and a trip down memory lane.

On: Sunday 14th Feb 2016
At: 12-5pm drop in
Where: Derbyshire LGBT+, 7 Bramble Street, Derby DE1 1HU

You can find the poster for the event, here: Introspective

LGBT History Month 2016 – Day 3 – Rabbi Debra Kolodny

Day 3’s inspirational person is the bisexual Rabbi Debra Kolodny.  Rabbi Debra Kolodny (Rabbah D’vorah) is a veteran of several social justice movements, bringing a spiritual perspective and her activist passion to worker’s rights as well as women’s, environmental, peace and LGBTQ causes since 1981.  Most recently (from 2013-2015) she served as Executive Director of Nehirim, a national Jewish LGBTQ retreat and advocacy organization committed to a more just and inclusive world. Prior to her tenure at Nehirim she served as the rabbi at Pnai Or in Portland, Oregon for three years.  Kolodny speaks about how one of the Hebrew words for soul, neshama, is a feminine-gendered word while the word for body, guf, is a masculine-gendered word. “I’m perpetually tickled by the fact that all of us are both male and female in the grammar of the totality of our being,”

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You can read more about her here: http://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-life-and-religion/194782/the-spiritual-activist

LGBT History Month 2016 – Day 2 – Hadrian

Day 2 and we go way back into history.  Hadrian (76-138AD) was Roman emperor from 117 to 138. Hadrian is known for building Hadrian’s Wall, which marked the northern limit of Britannia. He also rebuilt the Pantheon and constructed the Temple of Venus and Roma. The Emperor Hadrian was married, but also had a male lover.  This arrangement was not uncommon in the Empire, but what was uncommon was the way in which he elevated his lover Antinous and, after the death of Antinous by drowning in the Nile in AD130, deified him and named an Egyptian city in his honour.

LGBT History Month 2016 - 02 - Emperor Hadrian

You can read more here: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/this-britain/hadrian-the-gay-emperor-769442.html, and at the British Museum site here: http://www.britishmuseum.org/explore/themes/leaders_and_rulers/hadrian/life_and_legacy.aspx