Exhibition highlights Hertfordshire’s LGBT+ figures

Credit: Chickenonline on Pixabay

An exhibition has launched online to mark this year’s LGBT+ History Month in Hertfordshire.

Protest and Progress celebrates the county’s most notable LGBT+ people who campaigned for changes to the law and the battle for equality and inclusion.

Organised by Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies, the exhibition focuses on individuals such as Esmé Langley, the co-founder of the Minorities Research Group and Arena Three, two early organisations that advocated the interests of lesbians in the UK.

It similarly highlights the 8th Earl of Arran, Arthur Gore, who brought a bill before the House of Lords in 1965 to decriminalise homosexuality – which later turned into the 1967 Sexual Offences Act.

The virtual exhibition also features local LGBT+ figures from Watford including former England and Arsenal Women’s football player, Kelly Smith MBE.

Another area explored within the exhibition is legislation and its impact on LGBT+ people throughout history.

An online talk called Protest and Change is set to take place on 24 February from 7:30-8:30pm, exploring LGBT+ rights movements from 1965 through to the present day.

The discussion will also look at the hospitals and charities that changed how homosexuality was perceived within Hertfordshire and beyond.

Terry Douris, Executive Member, Education, Libraries and Lifelong Learning at Hertfordshire County Council, said: “We are proud to be able to celebrate and represent the diverse and inclusive history of our county.

“Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies preserves the county’s history, but it also continues to collect these histories and expand its collections. This online exhibition is fascinating, and I would highly recommend you visit.” 

Members of Hertfordshire’s LGBT+ community have been invited to share their own personal stories and memories this month, for a dedicated section on the community archive website.

Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies are also seeking material such as protest posters, club fliers, love letters or photographs – all of which will be preserved and made available to the public through its reading rooms, as well as being used for educational resources.  

LGBT+ History Month was first marked in the UK in 2005. Taking place every February, the month-long celebration aims to promote equality and diversity for the benefit of the public.

This is achieved by increasing the visibility of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, their history and experiences.

Tickets for the Protest and Change talk cost £6 and can be booked via the Herts Memories website: https://www.hertsmemories.org.uk/content/herts-history/people/lesbian-gay-bisexual-and-transgender/lgbtq-history-month-2022/online-talk-protest-change-24-feb-19-30

To submit a story via the Herts Memories website head to: www.hertsmemories.org.uk/content/get-involved/contribute

For anyone wishing to deposit documents at the Archives or share their stories, please email hals.enquiries@hertfordshire.gov.uk  or contact Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies on 0300 123 4049 to speak to a member of the team, who will explain how they can display and manage your historical material.

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