Freedom Exhibition … 1957 wedding … Double Ender … Survey


The Freedom Exhibition is curated by Heard Storytelling and is part of Manchester Pride’s Superbia programme. It runs for one month from 26 August. The outdoor garden gallery is free to experience, with no booking required.

Norman, Pauline and Tony were three of the eleven ‘living portraits’ celebrating true stories told by LGBT+ people. We had candidly shared our lived experiences in a series of audio recordings to accompany beautifully shot portraits captured at the Kampus neighbourhood.

After the launch night Norman’s interview on Granada Reports and Tony’s interview for BBC North West Tonight were aired on 27 August 2021.

From secret bars in the 1970s to the top of the tallest trees – the fascinating stories take listeners on a journey of love, loss, adversity and triumph. The exhibition has been conceptualised to deliver a powerful message of solidarity, life and hope.

The Out In The City group met on Canal Street and made our way to Via for food and drinks before visiting the exhibition.

Peter took a few more portraits which can be viewed here.

If you would like to contribute to the virtual guestbook, please send a message via WhatsApp to 07842 667862. These messages will be shared on Kampus social media platforms and website.

These gay wedding photos from 1957 are incredible … but who are the grooms?

Decades before gay marriage became legal anywhere in the United States, same-sex couples were committing themselves to each other in front of friends and loved ones. Few records of these ceremonies existed – until now.

Neal Baer is a board member at the ONE Archives Foundation in Los Angeles, dedicated to preserving LGBT history. He and fellow researcher Michael Wolfe stumbled across a series of photos taken at what appears to be a gay wedding in the 1950s.

The photos were acquired by a collector a few years ago who had bought them at an online auction. He realised their significance and donated them to the Archives.

The couple in the pictures appear to be in their 20s or 30s, so they would be in their 80s or 90s if they were alive today. The grooms and their guests are dressed up in dark suits with flowers in their lapels.

The celebration took place in a modest flat with the blinds drawn. It featured a ceremony officiated by someone who appears to be a member of the clergy. The grooms are shown kissing, cutting their wedding cake and opening presents.

Here’s what they know about the pictures: they were printed in 1957 at a neighbourhood drugstore in Philadelphia. They capture a ceremony featuring two grooms. The photos also depict the exchange of rings before witnesses, an officiant leading the ceremony, the kiss, the cake, the gifts, and more.

The owner of the drugstore where the film was dropped off to be developed decided they were inappropriate and refused to return them to the unknown grooms.

Now, Baer and Wolfe are trying to identify the couple.

“We have put in months and months and months investigating who these guys are,” Baer said. “We just left pretty stunned,” researcher Wolfe adds. “We were a little bright-eyed about, ‘Oh, we’ll just go and find the guys in these photos,’ but it’s turned into a long-term project. We get to go and hunt down this amazing story.”

“Does anybody recognise them?” says Baer. “We’d love to know that. What would be a huge help is just getting these photos in front of a bunch of 80 and 90-year-olds. We are hopeful that in the connected age that we could spread them fairly widely and get more eyes on them,” adds Wolfe. “There are too many recognisable faces among the set that we couldn’t find a match.”

The US Supreme Court didn’t recognise the right for gay people to marry the person of their choice until 2015.

The 1950s was very oppressive for the LGBT community. Many people lived in the closet because they feared losing their job if anyone learned they were gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender. In fact, the federal government during the 1950s said gays and lesbians were unfit to work in the public sector. The government engaged in a massive witch hunt to hunt down and fire members of the LGBT community.

In 1952, The American Psychiatric Association (APA) classified homosexuality as a “sociopathic personality disturbance” in the first edition of its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM), the listing of known psychiatric disorders. After considerable lobbying by activists, the APA removed homosexuality from the second edition of the DSM in 1973.

Double Ender

Double-Ender is an evening of two fast-paced, entertaining, and sometimes laugh-out-loud monologues performed and written by Joshua Val Martin and Jez Dolan. 

They share personal, candid stories about LGBT+ people – past and present – living, learning, and loving in a rapidly changing Manchester.

Joshua Val Martin shares stories of his company Free Manchester Walking Tours. He has some unusual encounters as he takes people on tours of the city: fetish events, the Uruguayan rugby team … and Noel Gallagher. And there’s the dark underbelly of warring tours.  Who’s got more right to the story of the city? 

Jez Dolan; part stand-up, part-lecturer, and fantbulosa sing-a-long host, gives the lowdown on Polari, the subversive and lost language of gay men spoken in the gay pubs and secret spaces of yesteryear.  You’ll learn your actual Polari; it’s bona to vada your dolly old eek! 

Leave the theatre with a far wider and cheekier vocabulary than the one you went in with … that’s a promise.

Double-Ender has been crafted with love and is out on tour:

The Edge, Manchester (Thursday 16 – Saturday 18 September);

The Met, Bury (Thursday 30 September);

The LBT, Huddersfield (Friday 24 September) and

Oldham Coliseum (Thursday 14 October). 

Booking details here


In May 2021, the UK Government proposed plans to make photo ID compulsory for voting. Stonewall and the LGBT Foundation have launched a survey and welcome responses in order to understand the impact that this proposal can have. They are especially keen to get responses from LGBT+ communities that have been traditionally under-represented. Here is the link for the survey.

Justice, Rights & Resistance – Pride is a protest as well as a party (Photo: Jordan Roberts)

2 thoughts on “Freedom Exhibition … 1957 wedding … Double Ender … Survey

  1. It was a fabulous day for our trip into the Village, nice enough to sit outside and enjoy lunch in the sunshine. A BIG thank you to Peter for his superb photos and to everyone for your lovely comments on the Three Musketeers stories…Norman Tony and myself. hugs Pauline xxx


  2. Dear TonyI would like to know where the Freedom Exhibition is taking place.Roy (sat next to you at Midsummer Nights Dream)

    Sent from Yahoo Mail on Android


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