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We Are Explorers is a youth group for LGBTQ+ 13-19 year olds based in Leigh.
The young people are writing an LGBTQ+ play which includes two characters aged over 50. They have written a survey to help them write the play because they want this to be a story based on real LGBTQ issues and people. It is anonymous and data is password protected and will be destroyed before December 2023.
Please go to survey here.
International Day of Older People
To celebrate International Day of Older People 2022, please see the video featuring the lives of the incredible older LGBTQ+ people that the LGBT Foundation serves through the Pride in Ageing project.
Watch the full video here:
Times Gone By – LGBT History:
Gore Vidal – 3 October 1925 – 31 July 2012
Eugene Louis Vidal was born on 3 October 1925 in West Point, New York. He inherited his mother’s maiden name of “Gore” when he was baptised into the Episcopal faith at age 13. By age 14 he dropped his first two names because he “wanted a sharp, distinctive name, appropriate for an aspiring author, or a national political leader.”
After graduating in 1943, Vidal joined the US Army which influenced his first novel, Williwaw, published at age 19. His third novel, The City and the Pillar (1948), is the story of professional tennis player who never outgrows a boyhood crush on his best friend. The idea that gay men circulate in society largely undetected was an outrage to many readers. At the publisher’s insistence, the original book ended with a violent death. In 1968, with the change in social values, Vidal published a revised version. That book is often cited as the first mainstream coming-out novel.
Though he rejected being thought of as a ‘gay author’ and did not much embrace the gay community, most of his work featured more or less prominent gay characters, making him a huge influence in expanding gay visibility in mainstream fiction – even though, ironically, he believed public knowledge of his sexuality denied him full recognition from the literary community in the United States. Among his 22 novels were the fictional transgender opus Myra Breckinridge, and the plot-oriented historical fiction novels Burr, Julian, and Lincoln.
Vidal also wrote over 200 essays focusing mainly on sex, politics, and religion and the American character. Known for his sharp wit and biting commentary as well as his ‘quotability’ and insight, in 1993 he won a National Book Award for his collection United States: Essays, 1952-1992 and two years later his memoir, Palimpsest was met with great praise. Believing men and women were all potentially bisexual, Vidal rejected “homosexual” and “heterosexual” as identities. Nonetheless, he lived in Italy with his partner of fifty-three years, Howard Austen, until Austen’s death in 2003. Afterwards, Vidal sold their villa and moved to Los Angeles, where he died of complications from pneumonia on 31 July 2012.
Dr Alan L Hart – 4 October 1890 – 1 July 1962
As a child Alan L Hart, who was assigned female at birth, was allowed to dress and live as a boy with both parents freely supporting his gender expression. Attending Albany College and then Stanford, he received his PhD from The University of Oregon.
In 1918 he married Inez Stark, using the name Robert Bamford. Later that year he had a hysterectomy, changed his name to Alan L Hart, and started a medical practice. Eventually recognised by a classmate from medical school, the couple began a recurring pattern of relocation and job changes. The stress of the continual secrecy led to their divorce.
In 1925 Alan remarried and from 1935-1942 wrote four novels (including Doctor Mallory and In the Lives of Men) set in the Pacific Northwest dealing with social issues within the medical field. Professionally Hart began to focus more on research – receiving his Masters Degree in Radiology in 1930 and another in Public Health in 1948.
After years of trying to keep a low profile, in the late 1940s Hart began taking newly available synthetic male hormones, which enabled him to grow a beard and lowered his voice sufficiently to give him the confidence to begin lecturing.
He became a prominent figure in the study of Tuberculosis. Highly contagious, especially among close-quartered urban dwellers, with no available tests and no known treatment, Tuberculosis became one of the most virulent killers in US History. Hart was one of the first to document how the disease was spread and how the isolation of carriers from the general public was key to slowing it – if it could be detected in its earliest stages. Speaking nationwide on Tuberculosis care, Hart dedicated all his time to fundraising for medical research and to help support economically challenged TB patients. In a move to end the stigma of the disease, Hart spearheaded a massive, nationwide campaign to use X-Ray Technology to screen people. This extremely successful detection effort led to earlier diagnoses to isolate carriers in publicly supported sanatoriums so they could recover before infecting others. All of the groundbreaking, visionary work Hart championed took place 20 years before the epidemiological test for tuberculosis was developed. As a result, it is thought that millions of lives were saved because of this one man’s commitment.
Dr Hart lived his entire life with most people completely unaware he was transgender. Even those who have studied his research are still mostly unaware of it. In spite of his unparalleled impact on history, he passed away in obscurity from complications due to heart disease in 1962.