Rochdale Pioneers’ Museum … Ewan Forbes


Rochdale Pioneers’ Museum

We visited the Rochdale Pioneers’ Museum, which is situated in the historical conservation area of Toad Lane, a short distance from Rochdale town centre.

Before our scheduled visit we went next door to The Baum Pub. It’s small, cosy and with clever use of mirrors, looks a LOT bigger inside. It’s full of character.

Although it took a while for our meals to be served, the food was superb. If you are in the area I would recommend a visit.

The Rochdale Pioneers’ Museum is widely regarded as the home of the worldwide Co-operative movement.

It’s the perfect place to come and see how our ancestors did their shopping. In Toad Lane on 21 December 1844, the Rochdale Equitable Pioneers Society opened their first little store selling pure, unadulterated food at fair prices and honest weights and measures.

Our guide, Olivia, told us how the Pioneers started a revolution in retailing which has played a significant part in our lives ever since.

The ground floor faithfully recreates the original shop together with its rudimentary furniture and scales. Here the basic needs of daily life such as butter, sugar, flour and oatmeal first went on sale over 150 years ago.

In the display and exhibition area you can learn of the inspiration the Pioneers received from visionaries such as the great social reformer Robert Owen; see how the profits from the shop were returned to the members in the form of a ‘dividend’; and watch the story unfold of the Co-op’s subsequent success.

The Pioneers used the room upstairs to provide members with further education. You can view examples of early advertising, packaging and retailing artefacts. Special displays feature a unique collection of Co-operative postage stamps, commemorative china and plateware and rare dividend coins and commodity tokens.

It was another really enjoyable day out.

More photos can be seen here.

Ewan Forbes: How a transgender man was erased from history

Thanks to Morgan Parr, Just Like Us ambassador, who reflects on Ewan Forbes, a trailblazing trans man whose legacy is often overlooked.

“Like most people who grew up in the UK, my history lessons taught me endless facts about the Tudors, allowed me to list most of the things Oliver Cromwell banned in England, and I can easily tell you the three things Lenin promised Russia in their revolution of 1917.

But a trailblazing trans man who changed the course of trans rights in the UK forever, and whose case was buried for over half a century, didn’t make the cut.

Ewan Forbes was born in 1912 to an aristocratic family in Aberdeenshire. He was assigned female at birth, but knew that he was a boy from as young as 6 years old. He loathed being made to wear dresses being forced to dress up for formal occasions so would do everything in his power to avoid having to do so. His mother supported Ewan’s identity from a very young age and gave him the masculine nickname Benjie as well as homeschooling him instead of sending him to a girls’ boarding school with his sister. This support and advocacy for her son in what was usually an oppressive time would no doubt have instilled in him the confidence to live as his true self.

When Ewan was 15, his mother spoke with doctors in Germany who prescribed him hormones. By 1952, Ewan would re-register his birth, legally changing his name and sex. At the time, self-declaration was the law, and Ewan was able to do so by simply requesting a warrant. He went on to marry his wife Isabella, and they lived happily until 1965.

When Ewan’s father and brother died, he was the next man in line to inherit his family’s aristocratic title. His cousin John took offence to this, and took him to court to question the validity of his gender. Though Ewan was forced through a degrading and humiliating trial, including full-body examinations and a cross-examination of his wife, he eventually won and set a precedent for transgender people in cases of primogeniture inheritance. Ewan’s ordeal feels particularly pertinent to the trans experience of today as many trans people are still quizzed and harassed for the personal details of their transition and body parts they may or may not have.

His story was erased from history for decades, and the case files not be made fully public until 2021 – an eye-watering 53 years after the fact.

LGBT+ stories like Ewan’s are so valuable for young people, and I should not have had to wait until my 20s to stumble across a social media post and learn about the trailblazing man who took a transphobe to court and won.

His story, and the stories of countless other LGBT+ figures in history, serve as strong reminders of why inclusive education in schools is so vital. Children should grow up knowing that LGBT+ people have always existed across all walks of life, stories like Ewan’s teach us to not be afraid to stand up for ourselves and our identities and know that there will always be people to support us.

Young people both in and out of the community should grow up with role models and inspiration from across the rainbow, and know that we have always existed and always will.”

Morgan is an ambassador for Just Like Us, the LGBT+ young people’s charity

EASA Contemporary … International Women’s Day … … ALL fm


EASA Contemporary

The Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art in Manchester’s Northern Quarter has been relaunched as EASA (East and Southeast Asian) Contemporary. It is a unique art centre dedicated to presenting and platforming art practices that identify with and are informed by East and Southeast Asian cultural experiences.

As a regenerated organisation, they strive to empower artists, curators, academics and cultural practitioners whose work reflects, investigates and is informed by topics pertinent to the EASA community at large.

The inaugural exhibition “Practice Till We Meet” delves into diasporic experiences and the condition of migration. We visited last Thursday after eating at Mackie Mayor.

This is a cosmopolitan food hall in a Grade II listed market building. The former Smithfield meat market was opened in 1858 and originally used as a fresh produce market, but had lain empty since the early 1990’s. It’s a great spot for eating out and the various vendors have meat, vegetarian and vegan options. There is communal seating and it’s a great place to get together, chat and eat.

There is a really great atmosphere and once you have ordered your food, there is table service. More photos can be seen here.

International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day is a global holiday celebrated annually on 8 March as a focal point in the women’s rights movement, bringing attention to issues such as gender equality, reproductive rights, and violence and abuse against women.

Look Into Their Eyes

The women you see below grew up when coming out meant risking their health, their jobs, their housing, their families, their friends. To stay safe, many stayed silent for years. Stereotypes and stigma filled the vacuum of silence.  
They’ve been whispered about, shouted at, insulted, rejected, isolated.

But here they are, strong and brave.

These women are taking a risk to break the silence — to be seen as they really are. To show you that being openly LGBT+ is profoundly human and courageous. They are unravelling the stigma that was formed without knowing them. They are building a kinder world: a world where being LGBT+ is safe and accepted. 
Things have improved, but undercurrents of misunderstandings, assumptions, and discrimination still exist. Thousands still experience discrimination, harassment, and abuse when seeking or living in senior housing. Many fear having adequate support as they age. 
We all play a role in building a kinder world for everyone. 

I came out at 81, meaning I started openly talking about my relationship of 38 years – Shirley
Activism helped me channel my anger and strengthen my pride – Pamela
The hardest part was when she was dying, and I couldn’t say we were married. We were together 33 years. – Esther

When society looks at us as though we are weak and meaningless, we will rise up and demonstrate our strength and our purpose. – Mary Lou and Agnes just added several new LGBTQ+ words has added a handful of LGBTQ+ terms to its latest official update, making one of the largest online resources for English just a bit queerer.

Amongst the 313 newly entered words for the website’s winter 2023 update, are pinkwashing, queerbaiting, abrosexual, and multisexual. The update also added 130 new definitions to pre-existing words and 1,140 revised definitions.

In case you don’t know, here are the definitions for each of the LGBTQ+ related words:

pinkwashing: (noun) an instance or practice of acknowledging and promoting the civil liberties of the LGBTQ+ community, but superficially, as a ploy to divert attention from allegiances and activities that are in fact hostile to such liberties.

queerbaiting: (noun, slang) a marketing technique involving intentional homoeroticism or suggestions of LGBTQ+ themes intended to draw in an LGBTQ+ audience, without explicit inclusion of openly LGBTQ+ relationships, characters, or people.

abrosexual: (adjective) noting or relating to a person whose sexual orientation is fluid or fluctuates over time.

multisexual: (adjective) noting or relating to a person who is sexually or romantically attracted to people of more than one gender, used especially as an inclusive term to describe similar, related sexual orientations such as bisexual, pansexual, omnisexual, etc.

The website also included a few new words that aren’t exactly LGBTQ+ but are terms or concepts that the queer community may also be familiar with.

cyberflashing: (noun) an act or instance of sending someone unsolicited, unwanted, sexually explicit images or video using digital platforms.

woke: (adjective, disparaging) of or relating to a liberal progressive orthodoxy, especially promoting inclusive policies or ideologies that welcome or embrace ethnic, racial, or sexual minorities.

To use woke in a sentence: “Some haters will probably respond to’s newly included words by claiming that the online dictionary has become ‘woke.’”

The website wrote of its newly added terms, “Our lexicographers observe it all, documenting language change wherever it’s happening and defining the terms that help us to understand our times,”

“Words that are new to the dictionary are not always new to the language (or even remotely recent),” the site noted, adding that its inclusion of new words isn’t an endorsement of the concepts, but rather a documentation of language as it is used (rather than how they or others want it to be used).

In 2020, the website added LGBTQ+ terms like “ace,” “deadname,” and “ambisextrous.”

All Out Radio Show on ALL fm 4/3/23

The fab All Out Radio Show lives on! Sadly not with the amazing duo Claire and Murry who hung up their headphones last month – we miss you massively!

But, all (Out) is not lost! This week, Queer Nan attempts to keep the homo fires burning, bringing us three gorgeous guests: Norman Goodman and Tony Openshaw, telling us about their LGBTQ+ work around Manchester – especially with Out In The City. And in the second half, the fantastic artist Len Goetzee sends us a truly mind-blowing and moving pre-record, including some of his most recent songs – it’s a MUST to tune into!

Listen in here.

International Women’s Day … Visit to Out In The City Art Showcase … New Secret Art Show with Friends of Dorothy


International Women’s Day

Heard Live is back! The true storytelling event, that harnesses the power of people’s lived experience to create positive change, is returning for International Women’s Day.

We would love to invite you along to the event, which is taking place on 8 March, 6.30pm – 9.30pm at Feel Good Club, 26 -28 Hilton Street, Manchester M1 2EH.  We would love to see you there for an evening of captivating stories and connection. Booking link is here.

Come and join us on Thursday, 9 March to visit the LGBT Foundation to view the Out In The City Art Showcase

Meet at 12.00 noon on corner of Sackville Street and Canal Street (opposite the Rem Bar) for visit until 1.00pm / 1.30pm prior to meeting.

Meeting – Cross Street Chapel – 2.00pm – 4.00pm

Jaz Warzynska from Manchester Pride will attend to discuss how Out In The City can get more involved with Manchester Pride.

Please let us know if you are attending here.

Friends of Dorothy – Super Nature

Two visionaries unite in Super Nature – a secret art show: Lee Baxter’s Stunning Landscapes Meet Roman Udalov’s LA-Inspired Photography.

Friends of Dorothy proudly present their third private art show in an ongoing series, dedicated to featuring some of the best queer artists from northern England.

This time, they are excited to present the work of local creative master, Lee Baxter alongside Roman Udalov, a legendary LA-based creative. Roman’s captivating work transports us to the mysterious plant world of East Hollywood and other Californian dreamscapes. 

Udalov’s art provides the perfect counterpoint to Manchester-based creative icon, Lee Baxter, who presents a new series of stunning photographs that capture the beauty of local plant life in and around his native Ancoats. 

Witness the magic that happens when two artistic worlds collide in a breathtaking exploration of SUPER NATUREBook your tickets now and don’t miss this unique opportunity to experience a fusion of queer art that celebrates nature in all its glory.

The exhibition will run between Saturday 11 March 2023 – Sunday 4 April 2023 at the Friends of Dorothy Private Gallery in Castlefield, Manchester. Book tickets here.

Towards a Queer History of Wigan … Bury Pride … You Speak Radio … My LGBT+ History Month


Thanks to Arthur Martland for researching and writing the following article:

Towards a Queer* History of Wigan

Wigan has a long queer history, as do most other places in the UK.  But where is it? And why is it not more widely known? At present all that has been identified would seem to be a few stray events, which are all in need of much further research. Not only is the paucity of historical records a problem, but also the fact that what has often been recorded has been penned by those who despise their queer brethren. Moreover, that which has been recorded is predominantly concerning queer men, where is the history of queer women, or of those who identify otherwise?

With regard to earlier records, there is a preponderance of criminal trials, usually accompanied by moralising cant and disparaging language. Few records produced by queer people themselves in Wigan have come to light so far, but, fingers crossed, there are some awaiting discovery.

The purpose of this article is to set out what little I have gleaned to date, which I hope, I and others are able to expand upon through further research and discoveries that will deliver a more comprehensive queer history of our borough, than is currently available.

The earliest record that has come to light is an indictment from 1760, wherein Ralph Harrison was accused of ‘that most detestable horrid and Sodomitical crime called buggery’ at Wigan. At that time, a guilty verdict meant a death sentence would be imposed; to date, however, Harrison’s fate remains unknown.

In 1806 Isaac Hitchin’s house at Great Sankey was raided by the authorities on suspicion of it being a ‘molly house’ (a term used at that time, and much earlier, to denote a house where queer men could meet others like them). A group of men were arrested, but many also escaped capture. Of those who did escape, records suggest that one was the scion of a local Wigan area landowning family. Of those arrested, all from lower class backgrounds, five were subsequently convicted at the Lancaster Assizes and hanged. The two magistrates whose evangelical zeal had fired their drive to root out Sodomites in Great Sankey wanted to continue their inquiries into several well-placed ‘gentlemen’ who lived locally, however local nobility lobbied the Home Office and the magistrates’ enquiries were swiftly curtailed.  

At the Lancaster Assize the following year, 1807, a man was convicted of attempting to ‘commit an unnatural crime’ at Wigan. He was sentenced to two years imprisonment and to stand on the pillory. For details regarding what cruelty pillorying entailed, I would refer the reader to research the punishment meted out to the queer men who met in Vere Street in London in 1810.

The persecution of those suspected of being queer in the Wigan area continued throughout the 19th century, with specific cases being identified in 1813, 1821 and 1847 (2 cases).

In addition to the prosecution of queer men in the 19th century, there were people in the Wigan area who came to the notice of the authorities as they chose to live, at least part, if not all, of their adult lives as members of the opposite sex. In 1860 the press reported a ‘Singular Case of concealment of Sex’ in its reporting of the life of John Murphy, who, whilst living his life as a man, was said to have been born a female by the name of Betty Lavin. And whilst the sensationally reported cases of Boulton and Park in London received daily national coverage when it was revealed that the two men had dressed as women and had paraded themselves across the capital, allegedly inviting other men to ‘conspire to commit sodomy’, similar cases of men attired as women for the suspected purpose of soliciting sexual contacts from other men were also reported in Tyldesley (1871) and in Wigan (1872).

In addition to the specific laws against buggery and sodomy, in the Criminal Law Amendment Act of 1886, a new offence of ‘gross indecency’ was formulated that criminalised virtually any sexual contacts between men whether in private or otherwise. This law was used to prosecute queer men in Wigan right up to the 1960s. One particular case however, in 1929, was against a local rugby player, who had played for both Leigh and Wigan clubs and who had even represented England in the English International Rugby Team of 1910. His prosecution was widely reported and destroyed his career and reputation.  On conviction he was sent to prison for 8 months with hard labour and he seems never to have recovered from the trauma.

Sir David Maxwell Fyfe

Arresting queer men for alleged acts of gross indecency, intensified after the Second World War, most notably during the 1950s thanks to the encouragement of a particularly homophobic Conservative Home Secretary, Sir David Maxwell Fyfe, and the widespread use of police entrapment. Incidentally, whilst Fyfe appointed the Wolfenden Committee, he did so in the belief that the committee would support the continued criminalisation of queer people. Thankfully, the committee after considering the laws against male homosexual activity, recommended that acts between consenting adults be decriminalised. Some politicians from both the Labour and Conservative Parties did not accept the committee’s proposals and continued to oppose reform, however, support for change was given by the, then, MP for Wigan, Alan Fitch.

Alan Horsfall

In 1958, local Atherton gay rights hero, Alan Horsfall helped to set up the Homosexual Law Reform Society, which subsequently became the Campaign for Homosexual Equality (CHE) and, in 1974, at a meeting in Pemberton, the Wigan CHE local group was founded.

As highlighted earlier, up to the 1950s, the most widely available historical records concerning queer Wiganers have come from Police and court records; this presents obvious difficulties for the historian having to rely often only on the records kept by those who abhorred and detested queer people. Actual records from Queer Wiganers are virtually unknown until recent times, but some self-written records have come to light. In 1986 Kenneth Barrow set up the National Lesbian and Gay Survey to collect autobiographical reports from the community and the anonymous survey correspondent no 532, was a born Wiganer who reported their experience of growing up gay in the Wigan of the 1950s and 1960s. The current ‘Legacy of ’67 Project’ run by Mancunian artist, Jez Dolan and his partner, David Martin, are collecting oral histories of queer people and have included at least one recording from Wigan and hopefully more will follow.

The latter end of the 20th century saw great improvements in the legal and social position of queer people, but the struggle for basic rights was by no means easy, with many setback, especially following the introduction of Section 28 by the Conservative Government in 1988 (the notorious Section 28 stated that a local authority “shall not intentionally promote homosexuality or publish material with the intention of promoting homosexuality” nor “promote the teaching in any maintained school of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship”. This Section remained in place in England until 2003. Whilst the section revealed to some the true nature of the ‘nasty party’, Labour politicians too were split on their support for gay rights, as could be shown earlier when, in 1982, Wigan councillors voted to prevent information about gay support services from being distributed in their area. Thankfully times and minds did change and now we have full council support for both the Leigh and Wigan Pride events.

Hopefully you can see that there are some important starting points emerging for a queer history of the borough, which, with further research, will give a fuller picture of our shared lives.

© Arthur Martland

(*) Footnote:

The word ‘queer’ which in the late 19th and 20th centuries was widely used as a derogatory term for a gay man, has in recent decades begun to be reclaimed from its former pejorative use to become a positive self-identifier by LGBTQI people. ‘Queer’ is widely employed by artists and academics as an umbrella term to refer to all things non-heteronormative. Thus, ‘queer’ is often used to describe any sexual orientation or gender identity that is not heterosexual nor cisgender. For example, people who are lesbian, gay, asexual, or transgender may identify as queer.

Bury Pride

Join us for Bury Pride – celebrating love and diversity!

Bury Pride is the first Pride of the season and you can attend not only to have the most amazing time but to show your support to a cause that matters.

The event runs from 10.00am to 6.00pm on Saturday 29 April 2023.

This is a ticket only event. You will need to present your ticket to gain entry. Tickets are free – reserve a spot here.

Further information here.

You Speak Radio

With these podcasts students have been paired with LGBT+ activists such as Helen Zia, Bamby Salcedo, Phill Willson, and more.

In episode one, youth interviewer Cassidy All talks to journalist Helen Zia about her career in journalism and activism. After finding out about Cassidy’s interest in journalism, Helen Zia tells Cassidy what it was like to break into the journalism industry in the 1980s. Zia shares stories of her early struggles as a young journalist and talks about the role that integrity and perseverance has played in her career. Combining journalism and activism, Helen Zia speaks about how she fought to represent the groups and issues she cares about, and the necessity of paving the way for others.

Listen to all episodes here.

My LGBT+ History Month

LGBT+ History Month has been a busy month comprising:

  • Four Out In The City meetings
  • Out In The City trips:
    • Robinson’s brewery tour
    • Lowry Theatre
    • “(Un)Defining Queer” exhibition at Whitworth Art Gallery
    • Oldham Art Gallery
  • Out In The City Art Showcase launch at LGBT Foundation
  • OUTing the Past Festival at People’s History Museum
  • Contact Theatre:
    • “House of Suarez Presents: The Vogue Ball”
    • “Lady Bushra: Robbed”
    • “Ginny Lemon and Sister Sister”
  • Forever Manchester’s Annual Birthday Party – Out In The City awarded “Community Group of the Year”
  • LGBTQ+ History Month Literary Salon at Portico Library
  • Bi Film Fest – “Kajillionaire”, “Cicada” and 4 short films
  • “Journey to Dungeness” short film at Manchester Art Gallery
  • Love is Love: LGBTQ+ History Month Film Night – “Beautiful Thing” at Manchester Central Library
  • Vigil in memory of Brianna Ghey
  • Section 28 Handling Session in Manchester Central Library
  • Private view of launch of “Legacy of ’67” exhibition
  • Meet the Volunteer Manager Pizza Party at LGBT Foundation
  • Mindfulness Workshop at LGBT Foundation
  • “Section 28 – 35 Years On in Manchester” at Manchester Central Library
  • Pride in Ageing Advisory Group at LGBT Foundation
  • Community Session: Survivors Manchester at The Proud Place
  • “Hidden Voices: Hidden Histories” at Bury Met
  • Sophie Labelle – The Transgender Agenda
  • Manchester Cares Documentary Club – “A Secret Love”

Two events were cancelled due to strikes:

  • Vocal Cancer Workshop
  • LGBTQ+ Lecture “Love, Sex and the City: A LGBT+ History for Belfast”

Listen to some little known songs to celebrate LGBT+ History Month – the annual month-long observance of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender history and the history of the gay rights movement. I hope you will enjoy. Press here.

Oldham Art Gallery … Out In The City Art Showcase … Legacy of ’67


Oldham Art Gallery

After travelling by tram and taking a short cut through Spindle’s Shopping Centre we squeezed into a packed Wetherspoons pub – “The Up Steps Inn”. There we enjoyed lunch before making our way to the Oldham Art Gallery.

Tony Husband, a multi-award winning cartoonist, was giving a talk In Gallery 3 about his current exhibition. His work has appeared in numerous publications in this country and abroad including The Times, The Spectator and Private Eye for whom he has contributed to every issue for the last 37 years, maybe more!

He also has published over 60 books. Tony loves music, nature, fine wines and, er, Man United.

This exhibition brings together a range of Tony Husband’s best-known work. Expect to laugh out loud.

See more photos here.

Out In The City Art Showcase

Out In The City launched the Creative Writing Art Exhibition on Wednesday, 22 February at the LGBT Foundation.

Artworks were shown by members of Out In The City (Bill, David, Mindy, Norman, Norman, Pauline and Tony) produced with the help and advice of Somerset and Simon from Manchester Street Poem. There were also artworks by Vicky on display together with paintings by Jim.

We also had the opportunity to look around the LGBT Foundation premises as about ten of us had never been to the building before.

Legacy of ‘67

Jez Dolan’s solo show – Legacy of ’67 – is on display in the Reading Room on the first floor of Manchester Central Library.

The show is part of a larger project, supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, that explores the changes in the law that have affected LGBT+ people since the Sexual Offences Act in 1967 that partially decriminalised homosexual acts between men in private.  

For the last twelve months Initiative Arts has been capturing the stories of people who have grown up between the ‘60s and the ‘80s to find out how these changes have affected them. They have recorded their testimony, which can be found in Archives+ at the Central Library and have conducted original research of contemporaneous source material to explore the changing attitudes towards LGBT+ people in general society.

Initiative Arts commissioned visual artist Jez Dolan to respond to this project and he has produced a series of eight original works that are on display in the Reading Room, together with an exhibition of original material from the archive.

Jez Dolan is an artist living and working in Manchester. His practice underlines the intersections between queerness, sexuality, identity, and memory. He works across multiple platforms including drawing, performance, printmaking and most recently painting.

The next stage of the project is “Great Indecencies” – a darkly comic play with music, that explores LGBTQIA+ memory, and the beginnings of homosexuality’s decriminalisation. It is the culmination of Legacy of ’67: Initiative Art’s year-long project that captures the real-life accounts of LGBT+ people during the last 50 years, charting the effect of a major change in the law in 1967 and its aftermath.  

The play is on Thursday, 30 March to Saturday 1 April 2023 at 7.30pm at The Edge Theatre and Arts Centre, Manchester Road, Chorlton, Manchester M21 9JG. Tickets are £15 / £13.

Book here.