We’re popping down to the People’s History Museum this Sunday 15th February to support LISG volunteer and social justice campaigner Prossy Kakooza as she talks about her experiences claiming asylum of the basis of her sexuality. She is speaking as part of the first National Festival of LGBT History.
Here is a low down on our picks of the day. Hope to see you there:
Festival theme: Exporting homophobia
In the 1800s, the British Empire stretched across two thirds of the world. Britain exported laws banning same-sex relations to its colonies which still impact on LGBT lives around the world today.
12:20-12:50 (Coal Store) Human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell discusses Britain’s colonial legacy. He will look at the relationship between racism & heterosexism in the colonial era and the on-going impact of Britain’s exported homophobia worldwide
14:50-15:10 (Coal Store) LISG volunteer and social justice campaigner Prossy Kakooza will talk about how she rebuilt her life in the UK after experiencing abuse and torture in Uganda. “Many LGBT people like myself run from persecution to seek asylum in nations like the UK thinking they’ll immediately be safe. But most times seeking asylum makes you enter what feels like another form of persecution with having to prove your sexuality to the immigration system. When I asked for asylum, on many levels, it felt like jumping from a frying pan into a fire. In a series of such intrusive and embarrassing questions, I was asked to prove I was gay. How on earth was I or anybody else supposed to do that?!”
Festival theme: lesbian women and social justice activism
From Votes For Women to the Greenham Common peace camps, lesbian women have been at the forefront of movements for social change.
11.30 – 12pm Sheila Standard (in Changing Exhibition Space) discusses her experiences at Greenham Common, a personal reflection of one of thousands of women discovering the power of working together, singing, being silly, the wit and repartee, fear and bravery, that goes with bringing fences crashing down, to the mockery of militarism. A women’s movement that conflicted and then embraced sexuality, and stood up to the hateful press, and “respectable society”, embracing freedom, and our right to struggle against the holocaust.
2pm – 2.30pm Dr Sonja Tiernan (Coal Store) will explore the lives of Esther Roper and Eva Gore Booth. This formidable lesbian couple who lived together in Rusholme from 1890s and who defended working class women’s rights including those of mill workers, barmaids and flower sellers. They also established Urania, a pioneering covert journal on gender and sexuality.
People’s History Museum foyer - LISG volunteer Jenny White has put together a display on the lives of Esther and Eva. Also on show is Oly Bliss’s Equality Quilt celebrating the passing of Equal Marriage legislation (textile artist Oly helped us make the LISG pride banner last year)
2.00 – 2.30pm Dr Kate Cook (Archive space) will speak about her involvement in the 1990s struggles to end rape and about the involvement of lesbian feminists in the movement against violence against women and girls.
15:30-16:00 Linda Bellos (Coal Store) will explore some of her historic achievements. Actively involved in community politics since the mid 1970’s, she came out as a lesbian in the late 1970’s and joined the Spare Rib Collective in 1981. She helped organise the first Black Feminist and the First Black Lesbian Conferences. She argued strongly against the notion of a ‘hierarchy of oppression. In 1987, as Chair of the London Strategic Policy Unit, she was responsible for introducing Black History Month to the UK. She has become a leading authority on equality and human rights law and its practical application across the public sector.