THE People’s History Museum has launched its latest exhibition, Never Going Underground: The Fight for LGBT+ Rights.

It marks the 50th Anniversary of the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality and showcases the LGBT movement.

Exhibits include Hayley Cropper’s red anorak and a timeline of LGBT history in the UK.

Catherine O’Donnell, the PHM’s Engagements & Events Officer, said: “This is an exhibition that we hope will educate, inform and pay respect to the LGBT+ community.

“There are so many dimensions and layers to this fascinating story and movement, which the exhibition seeks to capture and reflect in as many ways as possible.”
Ms O’Donnell gives more details on the event in the video below:

The 1967 Sexual Offences Act is seen as only partially decriminalising homosexuality, as it only decriminalised homosexual acts in private between two men.

It also only applied to England and Wales, with homosexual acts in Scotland and Northern Ireland being decriminalised later, in 1980 and 1982 respectively.

The exhibition also draws a distinction between legislative and social change, with the LGBT movement fighting social stigma as well as illegality.

The Home Secretary who passed the Sexual Offences Act (1967), Roy Jenkins MP, demonstrated this during the bill’s debate, saying: “Those who suffer from this disability carry a great weight of loneliness, guilt and shame.”

Ms O’Donnell added that the LGBT movement has come a long way, but that there is still more work to be done, pointing out that homosexuality is still illegal in certain countries and is punishable by death.

In this country, Ms O’Donnell said: “on paper, even if things are legal, there is still a lot of catching up that some areas of society need to do.”

Four partners are working with the People’s History Museum on this exhibition: Never Going Underground: The Proud Trust, LGBT Foundation, Proud2bParents and Manchester Lesbian and Gay Chorus.

The project is supported by the National Lottery through a grant of £63,000.

LGBT exhibition launched at People’s History Museum in Manchester
Credit: People’s History Museum

Ms O’Donnell added that: “Never Going Underground isn’t just the exhibition, it’s a whole season of events and exhibitions. Alongside the main exhibition we’ve got three community exhibitions.”

Love is not a crime will be opening in April, and will highlight the history of the Lesbian Immigration Support Group.

Queer Noise, which will be curated by Manchester and District Music Archive, will focus on LGBT clubbing and music in Manchester.

Continuum: Framing Trans Lives in 21st Century Britain, will run from 24th June to 3rd September, and will feature the work of 15 UK based Trans and non-binary artists.

LGBT exhibition launched at People’s History Museum in Manchester
Credit: People’s History Museum

Andrew Sproat

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