The catalogue for a new special collection relating to the author, sculptor and academic Professor Rom Landau (1899-1974) is now available on the University Library website.
Category: Equality, Diversity & Inclusion
On 28 June 1969, police raided a gay club in Greenwich Village, New York. Not an unsurprising event – it was still illegal for men to dance together in a nightclub, let alone have consensual sexual relationships, and “masquerading” as the opposite sex, for example, as a drag queen, was also a crime. A club such as Stonewall, which was attended mostly by Black and Latinx men and drag queens, was somewhere the police expected to close down without incident. Instead, the anger of the racially and sexually oppressed erupted into a riot, in turn spawning further riots and protests across the city. The riots focused national attention on the social injustice faced by homosexuals in America and sparked the conversation about tolerance and equality that has seen so much change until today.
Most people are brought up to believe there are two genders, male and female, that are separate and distinct. This is the basis of our understanding of sexual diversity – people are seen either to be attracted to people of the ‘same sex’ or the ‘opposite sex’. Life would be much simpler were this actually so…
What’s in a name? Often, a name focuses the mind and tells us what is important to a movement.
Until the nineteenth century, there was no word for being gay. Once the feelings people had for one another could be described separately from the physical act of making love, progress started to come slowly. At least for gay men. History has shown us that even within a community, and within a movement, different groups are privileged far above others.
Portsmouth Film Society/Peccadillo Pictures are very kindly providing a number of voucher codes to staff and students that will allow you to watch these films for free as part of LGBTQ+ History Month. Watch the previews below and then scroll on to the end of this post to find out how to get the codes to view these films for free.
People who identify – or who others identify – with more than one minority group experience social violence, oppression and disadvantage from all the different aspects of their minority identity. Black trans women are the archetypal minority within a minority – living with daily intersectional violence targeting women, trans people, trans women in particular, on top of racism.
Trans people have doubtless existed for all of human history, and the surgical advances needed for people to transition came about in the mid-twentieth century, so it might seem strange to some that trans people are still feared and vilified today. Yet, trans lives are threatened on a daily basis by rising levels of violence and hostility and failing healthcare.
Today’s LGBTQIA+ Pride Marches are an ongoing celebration of the changes that started outside the Stonewall Inn. We now have specific Black Pride marches, and Trans Pride marches as well, which draw particular attention to sub-groups of the LGBTQIA+ community that are peculiarly vulnerable. Pride is a protest that is in danger of becoming a party, causing many young people, both within and outside of the LGBTQ+ community, to begin to question the point of pride. The point of Pride is that LGBTQ+ rights are very recently won and it would be only too easy for all the progress towards equality to be rolled back.
February is Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Trans, Queer, Intersex and Asexual (and all the other strands of sexual and gender diversity) awareness month. I will be posting regularly here on the Library blog about the history of how the understanding of sexual diversity developed since the concept of sexuality was discovered or perhaps invented in the nineteenth century, through the fight to develop greater awareness, tolerance and freedoms for all people throughout the twentieth century and then looking at the state of LGBTQIA+ rights today.
I’d like to start this LGBTQIA+ History Month with a focus on some largely forgotten LGBTQIA+ artists. There are several art exhibitions featuring works by LGBTQIA+ artists that you can visit between February and April 2024, including several in London and one in nearby Chichester you could visit, any of which will make for a pleasant day out.