February is LGBT History Month, and some of the team at Spectra have shared here, some of their personal memories in history.
From events, to people and iconic places in between. First up is our Operations Manager John, and his memory of the AIDS: Don’t Die of Ignorance Campaign from the mid-1980s.
A teenager during the 80s AIDS: Don’t Die of Ignore campaign, he remembers its impact well! He recommends the book from Biteback Publishing @BitebackPub AIDS: Don’t Die of Prejudice, for insight of the time.
Many people will remember the TV Ads with the crashing tombstones and how it was a campaign of fright rather than education, to someone coming to terms with sexuality and gender.
Norman Fowler’s book AIDS: Don’t Die of Prejudice, gives an insight into the behind the scenes and political infighting that went on to produce the campaign, and how now, om reflection, the realisation things should have been done differently.
Another icon from John, and this time it’s a building, Spectra is based in Ladbroke Grove, formerly home to the London Lighthouse, an icon in LGBT history:
The London Lighthouse was a centre and hospice for people with HIV and AIDS, in Lancaster Road, Ladbroke Grove ,in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. It opened in 1986, offering “an innovative model of residential and day care for men, women and children living with HIV and AIDS and provided a refuge and respite to people marginalised and abandoned because of their diagnosis.”[
With the growth of effective HIV treatment in the 1990s, the need for residential care became much less, and by 2015 it was decided that the building was no longer required. It was sold off, and the site is now the Museum of Brands. The memorial garden, where the ashes of many people who died at the Lighthouse were scattered, has been preserved.
Full details : http://www.lgbtarchive.uk/wiki/London_Lighthouse
Next up is Massimo Nardi, one of Spectra’s Sessional Outreach Team, and his heroes.
“My LGBT+ heroes in the last few years have included Adam Rippon @Adaripp, for the incredible visibility he gave to LGBT+ athletes in the world and the amazing role model he is to the younger generations.
Travis Alabanza @travisalabanza, an incredible performance artist who uses the power of his creativity also as an activist for Trans and non-binary people’s rights.
Right now my LGBT+ super-hero is Orjan Buroe, a dad who wore a Elsa costume to sing songs from Frozen with his son, because he believes that his son has the right to be what he wants to be. You can see them on this video, https://twitter.com/CBSNews/status/1088441623846023168?s=09
Apart from this, I think it’s important to direct our Activism towards the elimination of that abomination that is conversion therapy. On this subject I would invite everybody to watch the movie Boy Erased @BoyErased, that will premiere in the UK on the 8th of February.
LGBT History Month can not go by without paying homage to Alan Turing. Recently voted BBC2 Icon and Greatest Person of the 20th Century. Considered the father of the computer and World War Two code-breaker. His calculations made computers possible and helped win a war.
Chris Packham gave an impassioned speech on his importance , and how he was failed for just being gay.
Turing was a gay man at a time when homosexuality was illegal. Despite his wartime contribution he was arrested for gross indecency in 1952 and given a stark choice between prison and chemical castration (opting for the latter).
The arrest also lost him his security clearance and two years later Turing died of cyanide poisoning – whether it was suicide or not is still debated. A campaign to grant him a pardon, fittingly started by e-petition, resulted in him being granted one posthumously in 2013.
A subsequent legal amendment dubbed Turing’s Law pardoned 65,000 other people convicted of the same ‘crimes’.