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Queering the North

The OUTing the Past International Festival of LGBT+ History (est. Manchester in 2005) has teamed up with the Museum of Free Derry to create the first retrospective showcase of NI Queer Activism. A rare insight into the previously unacknowledged tenacious heroism of queer activism in Northern Ireland before, during and following “The Troubles”. The project was greatly enriched by the support of several archival collections and regional LGBT+ groups and queer veterans.

The Queering the North Exhibition aims to bring to a wider a public an expansive and nuanced reading of the history of the LGBT+ community in the North of Ireland/Northern Ireland. It brings together archives and recollections from a range of key activists within a scaffolding provided by academic research. The exhibition includes an expansive chronology of key events, commencing with the deliberate exclusion of NI from the decriminalising legislation offered by the 1967 Sexual Offences Act through to the introduction of Equal Marriage to NI (January 2020).

Museum of Derry Curator Adrian Kerr described the exhibition as a natural step for his institution: “This is a part of our collective past that has been kept hidden, and this is reflected in the nature of the information available for the exhibition. It is the hope of all involved that this will act as a provocative spur towards the creation of the first comprehensive reading of our LGBT+ history.”

The Mayor of Derry City, Cllr Michaela Boyle: “I had the great pleasure of hosting a reception in the Guildhall for the Exhibition Launch. I believe that this exhibition goes a long way towards creating a better understanding of the sensitivities and changes faced by the LGBT+ community and how we can all work collectively to create a better informed and respectful environment on this important issue.”

Sue Sanders (Founder & Chair of Lesbian Gay Bisexual & Trans + History Month UK | Professor Emeritus of the Harvey Milk Institute): “A thrilling and crucial exhibition that reflects the vital importance of working together to seek human rights for all.”

The Exhibition Tour will commence as part of the large Féile an Phobail (West Belfast Festival) – 5 to 13 August 2021 – before coming to Manchester for Pride – it will then start its re-scheduled Tour of the North (deferred due to the COVID pandemic).

Free – please drop in