Tag Archives: Wolfenden

A Month of Events and Archives

Rummaging in the Archives

This month we have been spending a lot of time visiting archives at the Museum of English Rural Life (MERL), the Lesbian and Gay Newsmedia Archives (LAGNA) and the National Archives at Kew. we have other trips planned for more rummaging at these and at other archives around the country. The National Archives hold frequent events, many focused on LGBT histories which are very well presented and thought provoking. I deeply disliked history lessons at school, if they had been more like the archive research we have been doing I feel many more people would become engaged by our rich past. It is such a pity that teachers do not have the freedom or resources to allow this.

View from LAGNA reading rooms

Heritage Lottery Fund Networking Event

The HLF will be running an event for current and potential recipients on the 15th of September in Reading. This event aims to encourage more funding applications for LGBT+ projects. Our very own Lynden Kingston (CEO) will be giving a presentation.

This drive for more LGBT+ applications is also being supported by a series of articles and blogs, the first of which can be viewed on their website.

Reading Pride

We are very busy with events in September, also on the calendar is Reading Pride on the 2nd of September. Support U are partnering with Reading Buses again and you may have seen a bus around town with Lord Wolfenden adorning the sides?

Reading buses supporting Support U and Reading Pride

We will also have, curtesy of Reading Buses, an open top bus at the Pride Festival where Kath and I will be on hand to talk about the project. There will also be displays and people to discuss LGBT History Month next February which is supported by Support U.  This will include a series of events, including some talks by The Wolfenden Project. Drop in and see us to find out more.

Before Pride there was Fear and Shame

Before the Pride marches and festivals LGBT people in the UK faced imprisonment, hefty fines, social disgrace and blackmail.

60 years ago Lord Wolfenden published a pivotal report that recommended same-sex love be partially decriminalised. We are marking this anniversary with a project to explore what has happened since that time. We need your recollections – good, bad or indifferent from any time during the last 60 years.

You may have lived through the time when being gay was enough to land you in prison. You may only just be coming to terms with your sexuality or gender. Do you remember Section 28? Were you a teacher or a local government employee between 1988 and 2003? Did Section 28 or its repeal change the way you worked? Were you a student during this time? Have you ever served in the armed forces and identify as gay, bi or lesbian? Did you serve before the change in policy in 2003? Is there homophobia, biphobia or transphobia in your workplace or family?

Whatever you have to share, be it a few words or a few pages, we would love to hear from you. We would like to have personal stories read by actors for a short documentary. We are also interested in any items like letters, pictures or newspaper clippings that you are happy for us to photograph and use.

We will need an approximate date/year for your memory and ideally a rough location, particularly if it is from outside the UK. All contributions will be treated as confidential unless you expressly state you are happy for us to include your name.

Please email contributions to: history@supportu.org.uk
or write to:
The Wolfenden Project
Support U
15 Castle Street
Reading
RG1 7SB

A Less Happy Event

You may have heard that Support U was broken into earlier this month. While the would be thief was scared off before they took anything they did cause a huge amount of expensive damage. We do not receive any public funding and the costs of repairs and upgrading our security systems is a huge drain on our funds earmarked to help people. It would be a huge help if you could spare any amount, small or large through our Just Giving page. Thankyou in advance for your generosity.

 

You have a story to share!

60 years ago Lord Wolfenden published a pivotal report that recommended same-sex love be partially decriminalised. We are marking this anniversary with a project to explore what has happened since that time. We need your recollections – good, bad or indifferent from any time during the last 60 years.

You may have lived through the time when being gay was enough to land you in prison. You may only just be coming to terms with your sexuality or gender. Do you remember Section 28? Were you a teacher or a local government employee between 1988 and 2003? Did Section 28 or its repeal change the way you worked? Were you a student during this time? Have you ever served in the armed forces and identify as gay, bi or lesbian? Did you serve before the change in policy in 2003? Is there homophobia, biphobia or transphobia in your workplace or family?

Whatever you have to share, be it a few words or a few pages, we would love to hear from you. We would like to have personal stories read by actors for a short documentary. We are also interested in any items like letters, pictures or newspaper clippings that you are happy for us to photograph and use.

We will need an approximate date/year for your memory and ideally a rough location, particularly if it is from outside the UK. All contributions will be treated as confidential unless you expressly state you are happy for us to include your name.

Please email contributions to: history@supportu.org.uk

or write to:
The Wolfenden Project
Support U
15 Castle Street
Reading
RG1 7SB

Lord Wolfenden Poster

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