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A Masterclass: Queer History

When did the popular ‘GAY’ LGBT+/Human Rights Campaign really start? 

1964 North-Western Homosexual Law Reform Committee

1966 Compton’s Cafeteria riot

1967 Passing of the Sexual Offences Act

1968 The Stonewall Riots


1958 Wolfenden Committee Report

1928 Publishing of The Well of Loneliness by Radclyffe ​

How about the ‘Gay’ Reform Movement of the 1830’s!?

Pioneering research by US Historian Charles Upchurch, whose specialist area is the first half of the 19th century, has uncovered a remarkable flowering of popular and parliamentary campaign for ‘Gay’ Reform. A flowering that has been hidden for nearly two hundred years. Involving leading politicians such as the Duke of Wellington, Robert Stewart (Viscount Castlereagh) the Poet Lord Byron and Prime Minster Peel together with a host of other campaigners both within and outside Parliament. His book “Beyond the Law” provides the compelling history in fascinating reform movement.

Chuck is flying into Manchester to deliver these remarkable findings, uncovered over years of pouring over the evidence held at various archives including the British Library. His new book ‘Beyond the Law’ sets out these remarkable findings.

This talk is hosted by the City of Manchester Libraries Service and coordinated with Schools Out(UK), LGBT HM & OTP of which Chuck is a Distinguished Academic Patron. Chuck will also be highlighting some of the problems and solutions involved in seeking out our “Queer” Past, largely hidden, denied and even still outlawed in many countries.

This will be followed by a Q&A session and the event will close by 5pm. Cllr Lee-Ann Igbon will be Chairing the event. Written questions are welcome – please email your questions to siobhan.o’[email protected]  The event commences promptly at 4pm on Thursday 24th February 2022, The Performance Space (Ground Floor) Manchester Central Library, St Peter’s Square.

For more information and to book a free in-person place, please email siobhan.o’[email protected] 

We also plan to live stream the event – book your free place for the virtual webinar via Eventbrite

“Upchurch offers amazing research, new discoveries, and fascinating stories of the people behind these legislative efforts, as well as rich discussions of the tragic persecutions of many men who had sex with men. – Anna Clark, [Professor of History at the University of Minnesota, and author of Alternative Histories of the Self: A Cultural History of Sexuality and Secrets, 1762–1917.]

“‘Beyond the Law’ is a very important book that will change our understanding of what happened before 1861 when the death penalty for sodomy in England was abolished.” – Prof. Jeffrey Weeks.

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