EXHIBITION Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery 28th April - 30th June 2012
The Pride in Our Past project was born from the realisation that Plymouth’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender community has people within it who have seen the world change; from a place where homosexuality could be regarded as criminal or a mental disorder to the more tolerant society of today. In March 2011 Plymouth Pride Forum received confirmation from the Heritage Lottery Fund that our bid for funding had been successful, providing us with a £35,000 grant to support our work. This vision has been supported by Plymouth City Council through Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery, who have committed to hosting the ‘Pride in Our Past’ exhibition, and the Plymouth and West Devon Records Office who are offering training and support and will hold the physical archive. Our partnership with Plymouth University also continues to grow and has been instrumental in the success of the project. We welcome you to our exhibition which outlines the changes and developments in our LGBT past, considers where Plymouth is today and looks at what’s next for our community.
Before the Labels
Homosexuality is not a new phenomenon. Same sex relationships are as old as humanity and have impacted on the way people have lived their lives throughout history. In civilisations such as Ancient Rome, homosexuality was not named or regarded as a lifestyle. The social standing of someone’s partner was more important than his or her gender. Sex between men was more concerned with notions of power than with intimacy. Latin did not include words that directly translated into “heterosexual” or “homosexual”. As a result, people could not be labelled into categories, groups or subcultures related to their sexual choices.
The Warren Cup
Before the Labels The Warren Cup on loan from the British Museum in London for the Pride in Our Past exhibition Plymouth.
Photograph: Anna Whittall 2012
The Warren Cup A silver stemmed drinking-cup originally with two vertical handles (now lost) comprising decorated outer casing (now split in one place) enclosing, in order to facilitate both drinking and cleaning, the drinking vessel. The handles and foot were cast separately. The decorative scenes on the outer casing were raised by hammering and elaborated with chased and engraved details, some enhanced by gilding (now lost). The decoration consists of two scenes of male homosexual love-making, set in interiors elaborated with textile hangings. On the obverse the older, active lover (erastes) is bearded and wears a wreath, while the younger, passive partner (eromenos) is a beardless youth. On the reverse the erastes is a beardless youth, crowned with a wreath, and the eromenos is a boy. The boy at the door with short hair, who is observing the scene, is a probably a slave. Text and image from British Museum Website
Although the church already banned all male sexual relationships, the first known criminal law against sexual relations between men occurred with the introduction of the Buggery Act 1553. Punishable by death, took place in Great Britain in 1836. During the 30 years before this, 404 men were sentenced to death with 56 of them being executed. The 1861 Offences Against the Person Act abolished the death penalty for buggery. It did however introduce the offence of ‘indecent assault’ which had been common law since the 18th century. Under the 1885 Criminal law Amendment act, any act of “gross indecency” between two men became a criminal offence, whether it occurred in public or private. This Act was used to famously prosecute Oscar Wilde for his relationship with Lord Alfred Douglas. Wilde received a two year prison sentence. Plymouth Borough Prison, 2003, courtesy PWDRO, Acc: 3450/2
Those who were prosecuted at this time in Plymouth, Stonehouse or Devonport often spent time in one of the local prisons. Devonport Prison, (pictured left) located in Pennycomequick, opened in 1849. It closed in 1878 following the implementation of the 1877 Prison Act which required all gaols to become state controlled. All remaining prisoners were transferred to Plymouth Prison in Greenbank. (pictured above)
In addition to these direct laws, offences such as ‘importuning’ and ‘soliciting’ were used to target gay men. Liquor licensing legislation also targeted taverns, cafes and clubs frequented by gay men and lesbians, for ‘keeping a disorderly house’. Those sent to Plymouth Prison were often sentenced to ‘hard labour’ which included using ‘The Crank’. This was a large handle attached to a set of cogs, which pushed a paddle through sand. Wardens could tighten up the crank, making it harder to turn: hence their nickname "screws". Each turn of the handle was recorded. Most prisoners had to complete 10,000 turns a day. Meals came to depend on the required number of turns performed. Plymouth Prison eventually closed in 1930 and was converted into the local police, fire and ambulance station. The building remained in use until the turn of the century.
The Long Arm of the Law
Prisoner using The Crank at Wormwood Scrubs, Image courtesy of The National Archives
Devonport Prison, late 19th Century, image courtesy PWDRO, © Plymouth Library Services, Plymouth City Council. Acc: 3488/PCC/76/5/3222/1
Robert Gould-Shaw III In the summer of 1931 Bobbie Shaw, the son of Lady Nancy Astor, ex Guardsman, champion steeplechaser and heavy drinker was arrested for ‘a homosexual act’. The arrest came just a week before Lady Nancy and Lord Waldorf Astor were due to take a diplomatic trip to Russia with George Bernard Shaw. It is reputed that the police told the Astors about the offence before they issued the warrant. This would give Bobbie a chance to leave the country for a while during which time the warrant would be ‘forgotten’. However, Bobbie refused to leave and had his day in court, being sentenced to four months in prison. Lady Astor gave the drawing pictured left to Mr. Robert Shaw's partner, Alfred Edward Goodey.
Charcoal drawing by John Singer Sargent - Robert Gould Shaw III in uniform (thought to be The Blues and Royals), dated 1923.
The Astor family used their considerable influence to keep the incident out of the press. Waldorf was the owner and chairman of The Observer newspaper at the time. His brother John Jacob Astor was the owner and chairman of The Times. They appealed for goodwill and with the support of Lord Beaverbrook, the owner of the Daily Express newspaper group, managed to keep the story out of the press. The price of this editorial silence was that the Astors’ trip to Russia had to go ahead with Lady Astor leaving the country just as her son was sent to prison. It is thought that this incident led to Lord Astor putting his considerable power and weight behind the campaign to decriminalise homosexuality, led by The Observer newspaper in the 1950s. Did You Know: Lady Nancy Astor had a strong friendship with T. E Lawrence (otherwise known as ‘Lawrence of Arabia’). They met regularly and often wrote to each other, particularly during his time stationed at RAF Mount Batten. To this day, T. E Lawrence’s sexuality is the subject of many a debate.
Lady Nancy Astor, Plymouth Hoe ,1941 Courtesy PWDRO, © Western Morning News. 1418/1212
The Lockyer Tavern
Derry’s Clock, Harvey’s Hotel and The Royal Hotel, late 19th Century, courtesy PWDRO, from Plymouth Library Services Collection, original copyright Pictorial Stationary Company Ltd. Acc: 3488/PCC/76/5/7799
The Lockyer Tavern began its life as the home of Plymouth surgeon, Sir George Magrath. It was known as George House on the junction of Lockyer Street and George Place. Sir George was at one time Surgeon of the Victory, flagship of Lord Nelson. He was also a medical officer at Dartmoor Prison and later, Inspector of Hospitals. In his later years he practised as a physician in Plymouth. Illness then struck and he spent the last four years of his life confined to his residence. Sir George was somewhat of a local celebrity, a confirmed bachelor known for his wearing of a wig and padded calves. He died at his home in June 1857. The house remained empty for several years until it was reopened on Saturday 19th April, 1862 as Harvey’s Family Hotel. The hotel was described in the local press as being ‘replete with every comfort, convenience and accommodation for families visiting the locality - including hot and cold baths’. By 1882 the hotel was looking to expand with a grand conservatory as illustrated in these original plans:
Sometime between 1888 and 1890 Harvey’s Hotel “The Lockyer became so famous that it became a came under new ownership and expanded with the coded term for discovering a person’s sexuality building of what we now know as ‘The Bank’ public - by asking ‘do you know the house. The expansion created new office suites, Lockyer’s?” (later to become Lloyds bank), whilst the hotel changed its name to the Lockyer Hotel. WWII brought damage to the building although it managed to survive as a public house until the 1970s when it was finally demolished. During the 1950s, 60s and 70s The Lockyer Hotel or Tavern became famous for being a safe place for gay men to drink and socialise, particularly in its‘ Back Bar’.
In His True Element In May 1936, the Western Morning news reported the story of Mark Weston, a thirty year old Oreston resident who, having always been raised as a woman, was now â€œin his true elementâ€? after two operations to correct his gender to male.
Photo: Mark Weston, 1936 Western Morning News
The Story of Mark Weston who transitioned from female to male in 1936 In the words of Mr. L. R. Broster, the Harley Street surgeon who treated him: “Mark Weston, who has always been brought up as a female, is male and should continue to live as such.” As a female, Mary Weston had been a British athletic champion and Mr. Weston offered to forfeit those achievements. Then, in August 1936, the paper reported again on Mr. Weston – this time with Miss Alberta Bray. The report told of how the two had been childhood friends as girls and how they had now become man and wife.
As a woman athlete - Mark Weston, winning the javelin throwing at a British Women’s Athletic Association meeting at Stamford Bridge in 1929. Western Morning News
Plymouth's Old Palace Theatre - home in the late 1960s to the Pussycat Club which was managed by one the city's longest standing gay couples Paul Pollard and Ted Spring. In the 1980's the theatre was converted into the famous Academy night club that held a Monday gay night called 'BOLTS'. Photo Anna Whittall 2012
In 1956, Section 13 of the Sexual Offences Act created the offence of Gross Indecency between two men - defining the undefined immoral acts that the Criminal Law Amendment Act had found too distressing to spell out in 1885. This led to a rise in police activity against homosexuals and homosexual behaviour. It also caused the creation of more secretive gay subcultures around the UK as gay people sought out spaces where they felt safe to express themselves. An underground scene developed in Plymouth. Many people seemed prepared to turn a blind eye to homosexuality despite the prevailing laws of the time. Men used to dance with each other in the Paramount Dance Hall with little or no reaction and the Lockyers Tavern’s back bar became famous to those in the know.
Sailor sat on man’s lap, 1950’s. Union Street, Bar Plymouth
Jo Monk pictured in 1957. Jo was one of Plymouth’s leading LGBT Rights activists up until her death in 2010.
“I thought is was some kind of oddity”
In 1957 the Wolfenden Report was published after a succession of well-known men were convicted of homosexual offences. Its recommendation was that, â€œhomosexual behaviour between consenting adults in private should no longer be a criminal offence". It also found that "homosexuality cannot legitimately be regarded as a disease, because in many cases it is the only symptom and is compatible with full mental health in other respects.â€? A decade of campaigning for an end to the criminalisation of homosexuality followed. Eventually the Sexual Offence Act become law in 1967. This decriminalised homosexual acts in private for consenting adults over 21.
Article from the Western Evening Herald 28th May 1965
“It was underground and a bit shabby to begin with but to be absolutely truthful I liked it like that because there was a sense that there was something illegal about it, it kinda had a 'frisson' to cruising.” “And being gay in the 1950s… there was a terrible stigma … there was a lot of prejudice… so I felt uncomfortable being gay. I never felt all the years since I was twenty when I went in the forces … I never felt comfortable and I use to even pretend at times to various people that if they showed a bit of distaste I use to think oh I better say I’ve got a fellow or I’ve been out with fellows because it threw the stigma away from me then” “I think that speaks of the Plymouth gay scene. What I’ve heard previously, talking about the 50s and 60s, it was very much sort of actually ‘Don’t draw attention to yourself and all will be well.” “But I must say it was exciting as well and it was almost, I’m not saying this but for me it was so exciting, it was almost like we’re a little bit special.” Article from The Western Evening Herald 4 July 1967.
Mr. Harry's Mr Harry’s Club. 1983, Robert Lenkiewicz (1941-2002) Emulsion on canvas. Project - Sexual Behaviour. By permission of The Lenkiewicz Foundation.
“Harry’s, Legendary. The place to go and we loved it.” “Harry’s was amazing and I kept meeting people… It was packed, you couldn’t move, you’d go in there of an evening after being at a pub which would have been the Gypsy Moth.” “It was refreshing to see it really different people in different jobs. I mean I met people who were plumbers, roofers and…. ordinary people they weren’t carrying handbag or…”
“You know, back in that day, and we all used to go out and have a great time. There was a real camaraderie and just enjoyment of the music of the time and everything. And there were a lot of places. I mean there was Gypsy Moth which now is called – what’s it called, the Yard Arm?.”
“And people if they were going on a hen or stag party the would go to Harry's to see the queers.” The site of Mr. Harry's photo by Anna Whitall 2012
Subculture In Plymouth
The good Companions Plymouth Photo Anna Whittall 2012
In plymouth, the Lockyers Tavern continued to thrive and the local gay community continued to be “quietly” gay within their spaces. However, events both at home and abroad were taking place that would affect the city’s LGBT community. Members of this community were also a big part for the instigation of the Stonewall Riots in New York in 1969 following the death of Judy Garland who had visited Plymouth in 1951. Seven days after her death, police raided the Stonewall Bar in New York - a fairly common event during that repressive time. The grieving crowd of gays and drag queens inside fought back. This event marked the beginning of the international gay rights movement. One year later the first ‘Gay Rights Protest’ was held in New York City setting the foundation for the International Pride Movement and the celebrations we still enjoy today. Political struggles in the UK and the rest of the world persisted though. In 1971, the first Gay March took place in London protesting about the uneven age of consent for gay men. Surgical procedures for gender reassignment were becoming more accessible and medical and academic thinking was beginning to call for gender to be recognised separately from biological sex. In 1966 the Beaumont Society was founded, a London based social/support group for people who cross-dress, are transvestite or who are transsexual. On the Plymouth social scene, the Lockyers Tavern received national attention when, early in 1976, The Sunday Times ran a Beryl Cook feature with a painting of the tavern. As it moved towards the end of its lifetime, and final demolition in 1982, the tavern became somewhat of a faded star. By this time, however, new places were providing Plymouth’s LGBT community with spaces of their own. The Gypsy Moth was a favourite haunt of many people along with a large number of venues that, while not specifically designed to be gay haunts, adopted the Plymouth approach of being “okay with it”. Stoke Social Club and the Good Companions Women’s Disco were just a couple of these. Mr Harry’s was a far more openly gay nightclub than the city had seen before and proved popular with all groups both gay and straight.
Pride in Our Past
Ted and Don with their Portrait by Robert Lenkiewicz on show at the Pride in Our Past Exhibition Plymouth 2012.
Young People reflecting on Pride in Our Past
â€œThe exhibition gallery had a real buzz! It was fantastic there were preschoolers reading books with parents and grandparents, primary school children who just loved the pictures and oral histories on the IPADs, secondary school students who were fascinated with the Out Youth Group art work and older visitors who studied the panels and exhibition cases in detailâ€?
Over 100 guest attended the private view held on May 4th 2012.
The Pride in Our Past Project brought a massive cross section of communities together. The successful exhibition presented memorabilia and personal stories shared by the community.
The Pride in Our Past Exhibition included some large high resolution photographs of buildings (by Anna Whittall) that was mentioned and reminisced about in the oral histories collected. Anna then photographed her work on display at the Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery.
The Pride in Our Past exhibition was a community exhibition supported by the design team at Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery. Members of the LGBT communities, family and friends volunteered their personal stories, their time and expertise to create an an amazing exhibition that was viewed by over 10,000 people.
Hilary Bracegirdle who attended on behalf of the Heritage Lottery Fund praised the exhibition as being â€œrepresentative of real people's lives rather than being more a token effort.â€?
Section 28 of the Local Government Act was a piece of legislation that made it an offence for local councils and similar bodies to fund groups who ‘intentionally promoted’ homosexuality in schools and supported notions of homosexuality “as a pretended family relationship.” While no prosecution occurred under the legislation, scores of local authorities not surprisingly took a path of least resistance and avoided any project with gay undertones. Clip from an Article published in The Sunday Times Newspaper 31 January, 1988
Resistance came both locally and nationally, in political terms and from the arts. Stonewall was founded in 1989 in response to the legislation and endeavoured to create a more acceptable representation of the homosexual, founded by actors such as Ian McKellen and Michael Cashman. The Arts Lobby was also formed in 1988 to draw attention to the fact that the Bill was an attack on art and literature as well as the gay community. Gay identity in the 1990s was defined in opposition to this legislation as Section 28 sparked wider debate about homosexuals and their place in society.
Clips from New Musical Express 20 February, 1988
Prudence de Villiers and partner Gay Jones outside 'In Other Words'
The ‘In Other Words’ Bookshop was opened on Mutley Plain in 1982 by Prudence de Villiers and her partner Gay Jones. The shop broke new ground in Plymouth as it became a focal point for Plymouth’s few but determined radical activists. The shop sold a wide range of literature that was generally unavailable in most bookshops at the time including anti-war, environmental and gay and lesbian titles. The bookshop sadly closed in 2007 after 25 years. “I think we became a real haven for many and varied minorities and I do think Plymouth is the poorer for the fact that it’s closed.” In 1994 Prudence helped start the Plymouth Lesbian Line at Virginia House, for which she volunteered for several years. She was also involved in the formation of Plymouth Pride Forum in 1997 and instrumental in organising Plymouth’s first “Pink Saturday” in 2002 as well as other Plymouth Pride events. In 2008 Prudence’s contribution to the city was recognised when the Pink Pride of Plymouth Award was presented to her by Lord Mayor, Councillor Brian Vincent.
“It is really, really nice, though I really don’t feel I’ve done more than other people.” (Prudence de Villiers) “In the early days, we’d find ourselves talking to mostly younger people who were worried about their sexuality and wanted reassurance and wanted to be able to discuss it. And so, yes, there was a certain amount of tea and sympathy and we would sort of sit down and chat. I know that was helpful to a number of people.” “Plymouth was not exactly a ‘gay friendly’ city. So I think to have somewhere where they could come and have a safe haven and know that they’re accepted and they could talk about things and they could buy books in which gay people were normal, it was hugely important.” “My own views are that it’s a huge loss since the shop has gone and it was a wonderful ‘hub’ really, with a lot of fun and laughter and access to things and information and people.”
Gay Jones chatting to guests at the private view of the exhibition held on 4th May 2012
Photos entered in the Pride in Our Past photography competition. On display at the Plymouth Pride in Our Past community exhibition 2012
Books on loan from In Other Words that had to be frozen for two weeks before being displayed in the gallery.
Don't Die of Ignorance AIDS dominated the 1980â€™s as well as LGBT issues both in the mainstream and for individuals. An intense media focus on HIV and AIDS, a new and frightening disease, led to widespread hysteria across the UK.
“If I hadn’t met my partner when I did then I would probably have been dead of AIDS by now or HIV.” “The media had a field day ‘gay bashing’. When AIDS came about, the headlines were full of ‘The Gay Plague’ feeding on people’s prejudice and homophobia.”
“The 80s were a particularly bad time to be gay because of HIV/AIDS and because a number of newspapers would have headlines about, you know, sending all gay people to camps and so on”….. You know there were outbursts like that and, you know, you could feel horribly insecure. And, no, it was very, very unpleasant. It was a very difficult time to be openly gay.” Victims were often viewed as falling into two groups: haemophiliacs who were labelled as 'innocent victims', and gay men and drug users, who were frequently referred to as 'authors of their own misfortune'. In 1983 the BBC’s Panorama broadcast the first TV documentary on AIDS. Then, in 1987, the government's iconic AIDS adverts appeared and a leaflet was delivered to every home in the country bearing the line "Don't Die of Ignorance". Fear and misunderstanding made the myths about those affected by the disease hard to shake. In an effort to stem the rising tide of ignorance Princess Diana made worldwide front page news when she held the hand of an AIDS patient. In 1987 The Eddystone Trust, an independent organisation run by volunteers to provide information, training and support for anyone affected by HIV/AIDS, was founded. Originally focused on the Plymouth area, the charity has since grown and now delivers services across the South West. The aims of the Trust are to provide practical and emotional support to people affected by HIV; to raise awareness and understanding of HIV; and to promote and provide resources for improved health.
Murder in the Park Central Park scene of crime Photo: Anna Whittal 2012
The LGBT community has always been subjected to hate crime. In1990 the direct action group ‘OutRage’ was set up by Peter Tatchell after the actor, Michael Boothe was murdered in West London. In Plymouth just after midnight on Tuesday 7 November 1995 the bodies of two men were found lying 200 yards apart in Central Park. One of the men Terry Sweet, aged 64, died shortly after the police arrived. Sweet lived alone and was well known within Plymouth’s gay community. His attackers had slashed his genitalia and face and hit Terry Sweet pictured him around the head. in Evening Herald The other man, Bernard Hawken, survived the Newspaper, November 9, 1995. attack, but had similar injuries which affected him for the rest of his life. This homophobic murder proved to be the spark that led to the birth of a Pride movement in Plymouth, including the formation of the Plymouth Pride Forum. Agencies across the city also began to work more sensitively with members of the community.
Evening Herald Newspaper, November 7,1995.
“The sexuality of the victims was totally irrelevant. This was a serious crime. Somebody’s father, somebody’s brother, somebody’s son had been brutally killed, brutally attacked and there are people out there responsible for that who may commit a crime again elsewhere, soon. So they had to be caught.” (Senior Police Investigator) “So I would like to think that, you know, as dreadful and as horrible as this was (Terry Sweet Murder), I would like to think in some small way that this was a catalyst for change. And that from then on then, I hope, that you know, there has been a groundswell of change. And today, you know, all this time in the future, things are radically different.” “So, you know, I remember that first 24 hours and you know, first it was an interview with the BBC and the BBC studios and then being whisked over by a taxi to ITV studios. And then, you know, sort of local media, national newspapers and it all got a bit crazy really and….For me there was a central message through all of this and it was about helping the general public recognise that even though this murder enquiry was about two men in Central Park who had been attacked, I wanted to give the general public a sense of what is normality in terms of a lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, trans-gender relationship…. And the stereo types they may be wanting to hold onto, for example that all gay men go cottaging, I was determined at that stage to challenge many of those stereo-types. But not only with the general public, I have to say, but also with the media, and I just kind of felt that it was a good opportunity to educate – I mean it gave me a platform.”
Proud to Serve In 1999 the European Court of Human Rights overturned the ban of lesbians and gays serving in the armed forces. The European judges declared unanimously that such a bar on entry into the army, navy and air force was illegal under the European Convention on Human Rights, which safeguards an individual’s right to privacy.
Martyn Hammond when he joined the Navy. He was later discharged as a result of his sexuality.
“There was a little detachment from the Military Regulation Branch called the SIB (Special Investigations Bureau) and they used to sneak around to see if they could catch anybody out.”
Prior to this the Ministry of Defence (MOD) policy was to continue a long standing ban on homosexuals joining any of the Armed Forces. Up until that time about 60 homosexual service personnel were forced to leave the service every year. The position of the MoD had been that gays in the military were bad for morale and vulnerable to blackmail from foreign intelligence agencies. This made life extremely difficult for lesbians and gays who had to hide their sexuality and risked being court martialled, jailed and losing their careers. Today the Air Force and the Navy have attained prestigious recognition by Stonewall as a Top 100 employer for Lesbian, Gay Men and Bisexual people. “I got arrested and taken down to Collingwood detention block and put in a cell. And that’s when the Mr. Nice and the Mr. Nasty started and that was SIB.”
“So I was interviewed for a couple of hours, given a break, couple of hours, given a break and then they’d lock me in a cell again and then that evening I was moved to detention quarters at HMS Nelson which was the most disgusting, depressing, vile place you could ever want to go, I tell you what I’ve never felt so scared I suppose for a better word of it thinking this is what they can do to somebody, for being what Gay?”
“As a Corporal, if you knew someone was gay or lesbian, you, it was your duty to report it to the top so I never, I just closed my eyes to it, because I just didn’t feel it was my duty to do that.” “Many lesbians and gays had horrible experiences when their sexuality was brought to the attention of the military authorities.” Paul Mann Royal Marine, 1950’s.
“Now people in the Navy can actually be gay and they can relax and be free and I so envy them, I am so glad that they can have that as well.”
Proud to Serve
21 Century Pride
21st Century Pride on show at the Pride in Our Past exhibition - Photo Anna Whittall 2012
Since 2000, Plymouthâ€™s LGBT community has become more visible and established itself more publicly in the city. A wide range of activities and events, including candlelight vigils, protests and celebrations have helped to do this â€“ drawing more attention to the diversity that has always existed here in Plymouth.
“The rights we’ve got now can always be taken away from us so we’ve got to as Peter Tatchell always said you’ve got to ‘keep your eyes on the ball’ cos there were a lot of rights in Germany in the 1930s.”
“The Pride is a place to go and source information on different, gay community projects, for some people it’s the right to go and protest for their rights. Other people it’s an excuse to have a party to celebrate your sexuality.”
Pride in Our Past will be at Pride in the Park on the 28th July 2012 promoting the award winning Plymouth LGBT Archive that has been born from this fantastic opportunity to uncover our LGBT history in the City of Plymouth.
The Pride in Our Past project and Exhibition brought many community groups together acting as a catalyst to reignite Pride in Our city. Many of these groups supported 'Pride in the Park' Plymouth's first proper outdoor PRIDE organised by Pride in Plymouth.
Everyone's Business Nowadays, the fact that people are LGBT seems to have shifted from something that is often swept under the carpet to something that everyone has to take a position on. Organisations across all sectors have responded to evolving LGBT equality legislation by changing their policies and procedures. Those who have embraced these new laws have achieved positive outcomes in the process.
“What I think is beginning to work really well, is that the notion of being lesbian or gay in Plymouth is such that people who may not be at the centre of the gay community, are able to say that they feel part of the community.” “I think about Mrs Jones who lives out there in St Budeaux. She has been married for 25 years, she’s got three kids and all of a sudden she’s got to the point in her life where she feels she’s got to be honest about who she is.”
“There’s still a long way to go in terms of gays having the respect and being respected as individuals along with everyone else.”
“it’s quite easy to say ‘We’ve got that policy in place, we’ve done that training and we’ve ticked that box and we go to that event’. Or ‘we do such and such.”
Birth Of Rights KEY LEGISLATION 2000 Sexual offences Act 2002 Section 28 of the Local Government Act abolished 2004 Gender Recognition Act Civil Partnership Act 2006 Equality Act 2008 Criminal Justice and Immigration Act Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2010 Equality Act
“Civil partnerships I think have just made a huge impact. And I am so, so very grateful to the fact that I was able to do that.” “It is still double standards unless gay people are able to have the same ceremonies and relationships as heterosexual people, they are second class citizens. So it is quite hard to argue against it I think.”
The first decade of the 21st century saw not only the welcome abolition of the oppressive Section 28 of the Local Government Act 1988 after many LGBT campaigns but also the introduction of ground breaking legislation ensuring many equal rights for LGBT people. Civil Partnership and Adoption Laws are now enabling LGBT people to enjoy many of the same rights and privileges that the straight community have long taken for granted. Although, there is still a way to go before complete equality.
Family Matters â€œFamilies Matter.â€? Photographer Emma Childs, 2011
Birth Of Rights Trans
Trans people were given full legal recognition of sex appropriate to their gender (male or female) allowing them to acquire a new birth certificate, affording them full recognition of their acquired sex in law for all purposes, including marriage. Reflecting on Transition Photo by Jordan Hicks 2012 Quotes from trans people “The transsexual will identify as female or male even though outwardly they look male or female.” “It was hard, particularly in the early days, for trans people. There’s so many more now it’s a bit easier, but it’s still not easy, no.”
Out Youth is a youth group for young people aged 11 â€“ 25 in Plymouth who are Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered / transsexual (LGBT). The group has existed in Plymouth for over ten years with the support of the LGBT community volunteers and youth workers. It provides one to one support and a weekly youth group that offers activities, support and advice for young people who are LGBT. The group also provides safe space for young people to develop their skill, confidence, peer support and achieve their aspirations. It also supports young people who are questioning their gender and/or their sexuality.
2012 Out Youth have enjoyed being part of of the Pride in Our Past project. The youth group is supported by Plymouth City Council Youth Service who have worked in partnership with the Police, the Eddystone Trust, and CAMHS to support young LGBTQ people. Pride in Our Past used some of its HLF funds to sponsor a residential weekend event for Plymouth Out Youth. The art and sincere messages submitted from the younger members of our community demonstrate that there is much to be done to achieve full equality and acceptance.
Photo and Artwork by Anna Whittall (2012)
The Pride in Our Past community history project was funded by a Heritage Lottery Fund Grant 2011/12 that supported the exhibition and creation of the Plymouth LGBT community archive.
www.prideinplymouth.org.uk http://lgbt-history.prideinplymouth.org.uk Created by: M. Ayres â€“ Pride in Plymouth with permission from the Plymouth LGBT Archive under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License
The Pride in Our Past Exhibition was on show at the Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery between 28th April and 30th June 2012. This publica...