Celebrating Wolfenden at Reading University

At the end of last month the Wolfenden Project Team visited the “About and Out” exhibit at Reading University where we met the students who had put it together and some of the staff. The exhibit is also celebrating the anniversary of the partial decriminalisation of male homosexuality that followed in the wake of The Wolfenden Report. The students who compiled and are curating the exhibit decided to mark this anniversary by creating 5 displays focused on LGBTQ+ and gender. The 5 exhibits are housed at 3 locations around the Whiteknights Campus and at the Museum of English Rural Life. History and Equality is in the Archaeology Building Foyer. the Culture and Society exhibit can be seen on the ground floor of the Library. the Museum of English Rural Life is housing both the Identity and Self Expression  and the Love and Desire exhibits. Ancient Myth and Transformation is at the Ure Museum of Greek Archaeology. They will be on display until April 29th and are well worth a visit. Take a look at the students’ blog to find out more.

Reading University are also holding two free public events around the Wolfenden anniversary on Thursday May the 4th. The day will start with a series of talks between 4 and 6:30pm titled “Before and After Wolfenden: LGBT+ History and Reading” held at the Henley Business School Building on the Whiteknights Campus. Including one by Lorna, our very own co-founder and COO. Lorna will be talking about the Hidden Voices Project that Support U delivered for The Heritage Lottery Fund in 2015 and the current history project on The Wolfenden Report. Places are limited so if you would like to attend please register your interest on The Reading University events website. The evening will then continue at the Van Emden Theatre at 7pm with The Inaugural Wolfenden Lecture delivered by Ruth Hunt, the CEO of Stonewall. Again booking is essential, if you are interested in coming along please register here.

The project team have also been busy recruiting volunteers, Kath had to learn to produce a PowerPoint presentation for the young people’s volunteer introduction. We now have several awesome people volunteering with us, including several from the Affinity Youth group which Kath has been attending to gather support. Ian has also been busy and has planned the format of the documentary which some of our young volunteers are keen on getting their teeth into. One of our young volunteers has been looking into John Wolfenden’s family tree and we have some exciting discoveries already. We are also making inroads into the training pack with the help of Clara and Alex who have a wealth of knowledge and experience in education. Keep an eye open too for our leaflets that have been popping up around and about and also for our debut on Instagram!

We would still love to hear from people who can contribute information and recollections and also from anyone who would like to volunteer. Please get in touch with Ian or Kath at history@supportu.org.uk or on 0118 321 9111

Celebrating the Wolfenden Report

60 years ago the Wolfenden report (more formally known as the Report of the Departmental Committee on Homosexual Offences and Prostitution) was published. This started a cascade of events that 10 years later, led to the decriminalisation of homosexuality in the UK.

Ian and Kath are leading an exciting project here at Support U in which they aim to explore the stories and information that surrounded this momentous event in LGBT+, Reading and national history. Working with Reading University, Reading Museum and various national institutions, they will be exploring events that surrounded the commissioning and publication of this report and collating individual accounts from those affected by it. They will also be looking at the social and legal changes that have taken place since its publication.

This exciting project will be producing a documentary and a training package to be delivered to schools and colleges throughout the Thames Valley and beyond. The team will be looking to uncover new insights into the events that led to the commissioning of the Wolfenden Report and will also be examining what was happening in the LGBT communities and wider population before, during and after the introduction of the Sexual Offences Act of 1967 which decriminalized homosexuality. They would love to hear from anyone who has personal recollections of these events or was affected by the changes, also anyone who may have family diaries or letters from which they might be willing to share extracts.

There are opportunities to become involved in this landmark project. Ian and Kath are actively looking for volunteers to join the team and help them with the research and archiving of the materials – training for this is available. They are also looking for people who would like to be involved in the production of the documentary and in developing the training package.

If you would like to be involved please contact Kath or Ian on 0118 321 9111 or via email history@supportu.org.uk

Did you know? A £10 donation, doubled-up by our partner TheGoodExchange, is enough for us to deliver 1 counselling session.