Our run-down of February's fantastic events in Lancashire for LGBT History Month 2017!
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2017's theme for LGBT History Month was 'Law, Citizenship and PSHE'
Throughout February, Lancashire's LGBT History Month celebrations returned for their 9th year! 2017's events included film screenings, guest speakers, historical exhibits, a 'Youth-Fest' and the debut performances of original plays based on real ground-breaking LGB&T events that took place in 1970s Burnley.

In total, this year's events attracted over 500 people! Check out our review of all the events below!
On Saturday 11th February, around 100 LGB&T young people (13-18 years old) and a large number of local, regional and national organisations gathered at the De Vere Hotel in Blackpool for UR Potential's very first LGBT Youth Fest!

The event was opened by Helen Kershaw-Russell from Blackpool & Fylde College who delivered a Keynote speech about her personal journey and the importance of being proud of who you are. Helen was followed by inspirational speaker, Calvin Lunt who talked honestly & openly about his LGB&T experiences. His unique journey was a definite source of inspiration for the young people in the audience!

Thoroughout the day, LGB&T young people from all over the country took part in a wide range of workshops and activities focused around improving mental health and wellbeing and promoting better knowledge of specific LGB&T issues. Attendees were also treated to an energetic (and decidedly camp!) performance from local dance group, Skool of Street.

The Question Time panel consisted of Carolyn Mercer, Calvin Lunt, Travis Peters from Lancashire LGB&T, Catherine Mugonyi Equality & Diversity Officer for Blackpool Council, Theo Dainty (young person), Jason Caton (young person) and Louise Dack (young person). Young people asked interesting and relevant questions about funding, LGB&T education in schools and how the panel felt the LGB&T agenda would develop over the next 10 years.

In the 1970s, Burnley was the UK's battleground for gay and lesbian rights, with two ground breaking public struggles at either end of the decade. To mark the 50th anniverary of the decriminalisation of homosexuality, the National Festival of LGBT History and Arts Council England commissioned two brilliant new plays from Inkbrew Productions to recreate this amazing forgotten history based on research uncovered by Lancashire LGBT's Hidden Histories project funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund in 2012. Even better, the plays were performed at Burnley Central Library where the original real-life events took place!

"The Burnley Buggers' Ball", by award winning playwright Stephen M. Hornby, speaks of a transformative political meeting held at Burnley Central Library which gave birth to the modern gay rights movement.

"Burnley's Lesbian Liberator", by Abi Hynes, dramatises the political activism of Mary Winter, a bus driver sacked for nothing more than wearing a Lesbian Liberation badge. She fought back and started a batlle won decades later. 

These two immersive dramas garnered a huge amount of local and national press attention in the run-up to LGBT History Month which resulted in four sold out performances of both plays at Burnley Central Library across two weekends! The plays featured interactive elements of participation resulting in the audience taking part in a 'mock protest' outside Burnley Library and Burnley Bus Station (much to the confusion and amazement of passers-by in Burnley Town Centre!)! 

The Burnley Plays truly were the jewel in the crown of this year's LGBT History Month events - something we would love to replicate and build on in future years! Many thanks to the cast and crew at Inkbrew Productions for bringing these important local events to life once more!

On Wednesday 22nd February, as part of the National Festival of LGBT History, Lancaster Library hosted their annual LGBT History Month event, OUTing the Past: Lancaster. The event saw an audience of local people gather to hear a number of interesting and thought-provoking presentation and guest speakers talk about local, national and international LGBT-related history!

This year's speakers included Andrew Lumsden speaking about the decriminalisation of homosexuality in England and Wales and the key people and events in the lead up to that particularly ground-breaking change to the law in 1967, Mac McCarthy who entertained and informed the audience about LGB&T culture in China and PYRO Youth Group who presented their creative writing project based on real life LGB&T historic events following a workshop with Vicci McCann from Lancashire Archives.

Earlier in the day, Metamorphosis Open Cinema hosted a film screening of 'Brother Outsider: The Life of Bayard Rustin' - an award winning documentary about a tireless worker for civil rights, socialism and gay rights who eventually became one of Martin Luther King Jr's closest and most trusted advisors!

A huge thank you to all who attended these fantastic events!
On Saturday 22nd February, as part of the National Festival of LGBT History, Lancashier Archives hosted their annual LGBT History Month event, OUTing the Past: Preston. Similar to the Lancaster event, people gathered to hear a LGBT history related presentations and see historical LGBT exhibits!

The event kicked off with a creative writing workshop delivered by P.Soup. Participants were assisted to develop their own creative writing pieces based on real LGBT historical materials and artifacts housed at Lancashire Archives.

In the main event hosted by Debs Bradshaw from Preston Pride, this year's topics included trans representation and gender expression in rock music throughout the decades, Liverpool F.C.'s LGBT Supporters' Club - Kopps Out, LGB&T Chinese Culture and some insight into the Jan Bridget Collection - an archive of LGB&T books and resources spanning many decades! The event was topped off with a performance from Preston Musical Comedy Show Choir including excerpts from their upcoming performance of Priscilla: Queen of the Desert.

Massive thanks to all who attended and our guest speakers and contributors - Kate Hutchinson, Paul Amann, Mac McCarthy, Jeff Evans and Jan Bridget.
Lancashire's LGBT History Month events are organised by working group comprising of a number of local partners including: Lancashire LGBT, Lancashire Constabulary, freelance LGBT specialist, Preston Pride, Lancashire County Council's Youth Services, Employee Support Services, Libraries, Museums and Registrars. This broad partnership has been integral to arranging and hosting LGBT History Month events for the last 9 years.

A huge thanks to all the members of the working group for their efforts in bringing together this year's events. Even bigger thanks to the Schools Out, National Festival of LGBT History and Arts Council England for providing funding and support for this year's events

And finally, the biggest thanks go to all of you that attended this year's events! We couldn't have done it without you!

Keep your eyes peeled for info about next year's LGBT History Month events in Lancashire which we hope will be bigger and better than ever before!
Copyright © 2017 Lancashire LGBT, All rights reserved.

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