News From Around The World … London’s Black History

News

News From Around The World

Here are some recent stories from Ghana, Uganda, Botswana, China, Japan, Spain and Holland:

Ghana Church Leaders Intensify Pressure on Parliament to Pass Anti-Gay Bill

BBC (Pidgin English version) – Dis move dey follow from recent calls by some academics and lawyers who start dey criticize de anti-LGBTQ Bill. Pentecost, Anglican Church state dema position. House of Bishops of de Anglican Church inside statement dem release say “aside Christianity, de Ghanaian tradition and culture no dey allow such act.” Apart from de Anglican Church, Christian groups like de Pentecost Church of Ghana also register dema displeasure over de recent calls for rejection of anti-gay bill. 

Uganda Recognises Its First Transgender Citizen, Cleopatra Kambugu

Cleopatra Kambugu

Star Observer – Cleopatra Kambugu, a Ugandan activist who advocates for sexual and gender minorities, has made history as the first transgender person in Uganda to have their new gender recognised by the government. Kambugu has received her new passport and government-issued photo ID card, which identifies her as female. The process of getting official ID recognising her as female was a “difficult” and “intrusive” process, and is a milestone for the African nation, where the LGBT+ community is heavily maligned and marginalised. “Everything my country does is surprising.”

Botswana Appeals Ruling Allowing Gay Sex, Court Delays Judgement

Reuters – Botswanan judges postponed ruling on a case in which the government is seeking to overturn a 2019 ruling that decriminalised gay sex, saying the matter needed more research and debate. The case was initially brought by a university student, Letsweletse Motshidiemang, whose representatives argued then that the government should do away with the law in light of a changed society where homosexuality was more widely accepted. Gay sex has been punishable by up to seven years in prison. Representing the state, Sydney Pilane told the Court of Appeal there was no evidence that people’s attitudes had changed.

China’s LGBT Community Caught Up In Xi Jinping’s Widening Crackdowns on Big Tech, Education and Celebrities 

South China Morning Post – On 13 August, the organisers of Shanghai’s long-running LGBT pride festival abruptly announced the event was being cancelled indefinitely without explanation. The news came as a shock to many as the event had run successfully, albeit quietly, for eleven years. In a brief statement on its website titled “the end of the rainbow” the organisation said: “ShanghaiPRIDE regrets to announce that we are cancelling all upcoming activities and taking a break from scheduling any future events. We love our community, and we are grateful for the experiences we’ve shared together.” 

Trans Man Fights Japan’s Sterilisation Requirement

Human Rights Watch – A Japanese transgender man, Gen Suzuki, 46, has filed a court request to have his legal gender recognised as male without undergoing sterilisation surgery as prescribed by national law. His case highlights the urgent need for Japan to revise its outdated and harmful transgender legislation. In Japan, transgender people who want to legally change their gender must appeal to a family court. Under the “Gender Identity Disorder Special Cases Act,” applicants must undergo a psychiatric evaluation and be surgically sterilised. They also must be single and without children younger than 20. 

Outrage After Gay Woman Diagnosed at Spanish Hospital With ‘Homosexuality’ 

Yucatan Times – A family and an LGBT+ collective in south-east Spain are demanding answers and an apology after a 19-year-old lesbian woman who visited a gynaecologist over a menstrual condition was diagnosed with “homosexuality”. On Monday the woman went to an appointment at the Reina Sofía hospital in the city of Murcia. After being examined she was given a piece of paper that included the line: “Current illness: homosexual.”

Dutch Crown Princess Could Marry Woman and Be Queen 

Dutch Princess

BBC – Caretaker Prime Minister, Mark Rutte, has made clear any king or queen could also marry a person of the same sex. The heir to the Dutch throne, Princess Amalia, turns 18 in December. Mr Rutte said it was all about “theoretical situations” but the next queen could marry a woman. “Therefore the cabinet does not see that an heir to the throne or the king should abdicate if he or she would like to marry a partner of the same sex,” he explained in a response to a written question in parliament from his own party.

London’s Black History and Black History Month event online

The book “Black London: History, Art & Culture in over 120 places” highlights the plaques and art that celebrate a neglected side of the capital’s culture.

A mural entitled ‘Hip-hop raised me’ in Dalston, east London. Photograph: Andy Hall / The Observer

She’s 10ft tall, barefoot, with a simple wrap dress stretching across her breasts and belly. She holds aloft an infant, gazing into its eyes. This is Bronze Woman, a statue on a busy traffic junction in Stockwell, south London. Unveiled in 2008, it was then the first public statue of a black mother and child on permanent display in England.

“I used to pass by but never knew what it was for many years. One day I found myself in front of it and I was truly blown away,” said Avril Nanton, who runs walking tours of London’s black history.

“I can see this woman being a member of my family. She represents Caribbean women’s contribution to British society. The baby will grow up as British, and it too will make its contribution to UK society. This is the link that has continued for black mothers for many generations.”

Bronze Woman is one of more than 120 monuments, plaques, murals, statues and artworks in a new pocket-size guidebook, Black London, compiled by Nanton and her co-author Jody Burton.

The oldest entry is Cleopatra’s Needle, an obelisk carved in Egypt more than 3,500 years ago and shipped to London in 1878 to be placed on the Embankment. Among the newest is the giant Black Lives Matter mural in Woolwich, south-east London, created last year in the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer.

Some relate to famous people and well-known events: a mural of Michelle Obama in Brixton; a plaque to footballer Rio Ferdinand in Peckham; a Windrush memorial in Tottenham; the statue of Nelson Mandela in Parliament Square.

But many highlight less well-known figures and events in black history. Khadambi Asalache was a civil servant and poet who came from Kenya to London in 1960. Over almost two decades, he transformed the interior of a modest terraced house in Wandsworth into a work of art, with intricate hand-carved fretwork, wall paintings and a collection of unusual objects. It is now a National Trust property.

Bronze Woman in Stockwell, London, depicting a woman of African descent, was erected in 2008. Photograph: Andy Hall / The Observer

In Hornsey, north London, there is a plaque to Emma Clarke, a female footballer described in a 19th-century newspaper as “the fleet footed dark girl on the right wing”. In 1897, Clarke played in a team called “The New Woman and Ten of Her Lady Friends” against a male team known as “The Eleven Gentlemen”. The women won 3-1.

A plaque at Euston station commemorates Asquith Xavier, who arrived in the UK as part of the postwar Windrush generation to work as a station porter. In 1966, he applied to be a train guard at Euston but was told in a rejection letter that the station did not employ “coloured” men. He successfully challenged the policy, taking his case to Barbara Castle, then Labour’s transport minister. More than half a century later, Network Rail paid tribute to the “first black worker employed as a train guard” in the UK.

A 16th-century artwork, the Westminster Tournament Roll, depicts John Blanke, a “blacke trumpeter” at the courts of Henry VII and Henry VIII. The roll was commissioned by Henry VIII to commemorate a two-day tournament to celebrate the birth of his short-lived son with Catherine of Aragon. The work – the earliest identifiable representation of a black person in British history – is held at the College of Arms and is too fragile to be viewed, but a plaque to Blanke at the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich was unveiled in 2017.

Many of the sites in the book featured in walking tours conducted by Nanton, who came to London from Dominica in 1965. She also teaches black history courses with the historian and author Robin Walker. Since Floyd’s murder, she has been inundated with non-black people wanting to attend her online walks, talks and courses, “eager to learn”.

The interest sparked by the Black Lives Matter movement was an opportunity to educate the public about the long history of black people in the UK, and help them discover and celebrate individuals and stories missing from mainstream guides and history books.

Co-author Burton, who worked in adult education before switching to a career in libraries, said the aim of the guide was to stir interest, start conversations and make black history easily accessible. She hoped it would appeal to parents looking for activities they could do with children.

The book contains maps, photographs and a timeline of black history, which went through a painful edit to bring it down from about 75 pages to 11. It also includes a potted history of the HMT Empire Windrush, from its early incarnation as a German cruise ship to its sinking while sailing from Hong Kong to Britain in 1954.

One of Burton’s favourite sites – “although it’s like trying to choose a favourite child” – is the battle of Lewisham mural in south London, which commemorates a community anti-racist protest against a National Front march in the area in August 1977 that resulted in clashes. “My mother attended the counter-demonstration at Ladywell Fields – and unknown to her, two of my older sisters also joined the protesters,” she said. “It was the first time the NF was prevented from reaching their destination. I took part in one of the community art workshops that helped create the mural. It’s really personal to me.”

The Cavern Club … An Evening with Armistead Maupin … Astronaut Sally Ride

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The Cavern Club

Out In The City headed to Liverpool to visit The Cavern Club – a nightclub on Mathew Street.

The club opened in 1957 as a jazz club, later becoming a centre of the rock and roll scene in Liverpool in the early 1960s. The club became closely associated with Merseybeat and regularly played host to the Beatles in their early years.

The Cavern Club closed and opened on a new site in 1973 and was filled in during construction work on the Merseyrail underground rail loop. It reopened in 1984 and now sits at a 90 degree angle to the original and covers 70% of the original Cavern footprint. The stage is not far from the original location, and the ‘Live Lounge’ is an exact replica of the original, using as many of the old bricks as possible.

From 1961 to 1963 the Beatles made 292 appearances at the club, with their last occurring on 3 August 1963.

A wide variety of popular acts appeared at the club, including The Rolling Stones, The Yardbirds, The Hollies, The Kinks, Elton John, Black Sabbath, Queen, The Who, Adele and John Lee Hooker. Before she became famous Cilla Black worked in the cloakroom.

The Cavern is also used as a tour warm-up venue with semi-secret gigs announced at the last moment. The Arctic Monkeys did this in October 2005, Jake Bugg in November 2013, as well as Travis and Oasis.

There’s a great atmosphere and we enjoyed our visit. We walked around the Albert Dock before making our way back to Manchester.

See more photos here.

An Evening with Armistead Maupin

Following a successful UK tour in 2019, bestselling, much-loved author and LGBT activist, Armistead Maupin, is back on the road.

We saw him in Manchester at HOME interviewed by Jack Guinness, founder and director of The Queer Bible, a website and now published essay collection, which celebrates the works and lives of the global queer community.

Maupin has been blazing a trail through US popular culture since the 1970’s, when his iconic and ground-breaking series Tales of the City was first published as a column in the San Francisco Chronicle. The novel series has been taking the literary world by storm ever since, and was adapted into a critically acclaimed series, starring Laura Linney, Olympia Dukakis and Elliot Page.

America’s ultimate storyteller recounted his favourite tales from the past four decades, offering his own engaging observations on society and the world we inhabit.

In the Q&A someone asked about the difference in the LGBT+ community now and back in the day. Maupin replied: “There is no community – just a large number of individuals. In our day we didn’t have apps. We had to walk twenty miles in the snow just to suck a cock!”

I recently went to see “Notes on Notes on Camp” in Bury starring Jez Dolan and “Double Ender” in Chorlton starring Jez Dolan. Both were excellent by the way. At this “Evening with Armistead Maupin“, I was sat literally in the next seat to Jez Dolan and his husband. Bloody hell! I’m sure that man is stalking me!

Astronaut Sally Ride will be the first LGBT+ person on the US quarter

Astronaut Sally Ride will become the first LGBT+ person to appear in US currency, as part of the new American Women Quarters Programme.

According to the United States Mint, the first five limited edition coins from the American Women Quarters Programme will be released next year.

The coins honour Ride, as well as Maya Angelou, Asian-American actress Anna May Wong, Cherokee Nation leader Wilma Mankiller, and suffragette Nina Otero-Warren.

Ride, an engineer, physicist, and astronaut, was the first American woman to travel to space.

She married NASA astronaut Steve Hawley in 1982, but they divorced five years later, and later entered into a 27-year relationship with science writer and emeritus professor of school psychology at San Diego State University, Tam O’Shaughnessy.

Sally Ride in her American Women Quarters Programme coin (US Mint)

Although Ride spoke openly about her sexuality with those around her, she did not become widely known until after her death in 2012. The year after her death, Barack Obama awarded Ride a posthumous Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Otero-Warren, who was born in 1881 and will also be the first Hispanic American to appear on the US currency, was also LGBT+.

The New Mexico politician was initially married to a man, but entered into a relationship with a woman named Mamie Meadors in the 1920s. They lived on the same farm, but in different houses, and were known as “The Two” or “The couple.”

Nina Otero-Warren on her American Women Quarters Program coin (US Mint)

Acting Director of the United States Mint Alison L Doone said in a statement: “These inspiring coin designs tell the stories of five extraordinary women whose contributions are indelibly etched in American culture. Generations to come will look at the coins with these designs and remember what can be achieved with vision, determination and the desire to enhance opportunities for all.”

International Lesbian Day … Masquerade ball nearly 150 years ago in Salford … This Is Us

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International Lesbian Day

International Lesbian Day was celebrated on 8 October. It is an  annual day celebrating lesbian culture that originated in New Zealand and Australia, but is now celebrated internationally.

How a camp masquerade ball nearly 150 years ago in Salford paved the way for Manchester’s “drag explosion”

“Drag survives by being the social glue that brings people together”: Cheddar Gorgeous (Image: Manchester Evening News)

Seeing a drag queen waltz down the cobblestones of Manchester’s Gay Village is thankfully a common occurrence in 2021. But, it wasn’t really that long ago when the very art of drag was still considered to be a criminal offence.

While Manchester is often regarded by many as one of the most LGBT+ friendly cities in the world these days, it has not always been so welcoming.

In October 1874, three men dressed in female attire were brought out in front of a judge at Salford Borough Police Court.

Francis Mack, a professional dancer from Manchester, Joseph Hallas, a weaver from Stockport and Robert Fox, a jeweller’s apprentice from Hulme, had all been arrested while in a taxi.

Clutching invitations to a glitzy “masquerade ball”, the three men had paid one shilling and six pence each for a ticket to the elusive “Queen of Camp” event in Greengate, Salford.

The men never made their show-stopping arrival at the ball. They instead spent the night in a jail cell after being arrested under the Vagrancy Act of 1824. The men’s first appearance before the judge became a must-see event, with hundreds of locals queuing up for a prime seat in the courtroom. It was a spectacle like no other.

“People came to the court and saw this as a form of entertainment,” Dr Jacob Bloomfield, a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Konstanz in Germany said. “Instead of being shocked and appalled at this case, there was lots of laughter and joking in the courtroom.

In one instance, the judge asked one of the defendants “what character were you to take?” to which they replied “a lady, as you can see me” and there was laughter from the crowds. Then the judge asks prisoner Hallas, who looked like he was in his fifties, how old he was, and he said he was 38, to which the courtroom again erupted in laughter.”

The Illustrated Police News, from October 1880, capturing the “fancy dress” ball in Hulme (Image: Illustrated Police News)

Dr Bloomfield, originally from Brooklyn, conducted his PhD at the University of Manchester. He believes the Manchester Evening News’ coverage of the court case on 22 October 1874 was the first published mention of ‘camp’ in Britain, a word now long-associated with the art of drag.

While the failed taxi ride to the “Queen of Camp” is unlikely to have been Manchester’s debut foray into drag performance, it was certainly one of its most high-profile ventures.

Four years later, in 1880, a patrol of police cars pulled up outside the Temperance Hall in Hulme to investigate why the Pawnbroker’s Assistant’s Association annual ball was taking place with the blinds drawn and windows covered.

When officers walked into the hall, the expected group of assistants was nowhere to be found. Instead, officers were met with a large number of men dressed head to toe in drag.

A total of 47 men, almost half of whom were in women’s clothing, were arrested that evening and charged with “having solicited and incited each other to commit an unnameable offence”.

It’s these early stories that Dr Bloomfield, who wrote a thesis on “Male Cross-Dressing Performance in Britain, 1918-1970”, says are evidence of a centuries-long relationship with drag in Manchester.

Male impersonator Hetty King featured in a 1910 sheet music cover

Despite the seriousness of the arrests and court cases, drag has since become a form of entertainment at the centre of popular culture.

“Drag has always been an intrinsic part of British popular culture,” Jacob explains. “There were various quarters who didn’t necessarily like drag performance, or they only liked drag in specific cases like comedy, but overall drag performers were consistently popular with the mainstream public. They were also some of the biggest entertainers of their time.”

Artists like Cheshire drag king Hetty King were able to make a successful living out of drag in the early 1900s. A regular performer in music halls across the UK, Hetty was even able to break records during a successful run abroad at the New York Theatre.

In 1917, Les Rouges et Noirs, a group made up of British Army soldiers in the First World War, would regularly entertain troops in the trenches of France and Belgium by dressing up as women. The troupe later appeared in the 1930 film Splinters, one of the very first feature-length British ‘talkies’, where they recreated their “Beauty Chorus” routine of sketches, songs and dances.

Whether it was the Hollywood success of Some Like It Hot in 1959, or the rising star of Danny La Rue in the 70s, drag continued to find its way into the spotlight.

Over the years, drag has continued to evolve from its early roots and has, subconsciously or not, become embedded into aspects of mainstream culture.

Manchester drag performers including Anna Phylactic, Cheddar Gorgeous, Misty Chance, Krystal Kane, Liqourice Black, Blaque Ivory, Grace Oni Smith, Nanna, Lill, Violet and Meth (Image: George House Trust / Lee Baxter)

The final word from Cheddar Gorgeous:

“The future of drag is impossible to predict but drag will always wander wherever the hell it pleases. And there’s nothing I nor anyone else can do about it.”

This Is Us

We know that life doesn’t stop at 50 – so where are all our pictures?

This Is Us is a photography project conceptualised by Brighton and Hove LGBT Switchboard aiming to tackle the lack of representation for older LGBT+ people, and to show the full breadth of our experience, our love, our joy, our reality. Where cliché and ageism has failed us – these portraits hope to act as an antidote to misrepresentation.

Photography by Keith Burnstein. Copyright © 2021 Brighton & Hove LGBT Switchboard and Keith Burnstein.

National Coming Out Day … People’s History Museum … Councillor Bev Craig … I Am Samuel

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National Coming Out Day is an annual LGBT+ awareness day observed on 11 October, to support lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people in “coming out of the closet”.

First celebrated in the United States in 1988, the initial idea was grounded in the feminist and gay liberation spirit of the personal being political, and the emphasis on the most basic form of activism being coming out to family, friends and colleagues, and living life as an openly lesbian or gay person. The foundational belief is that homophobia thrives in an atmosphere of silence and ignorance, and that once people know that they have loved ones who are lesbian or gay, they are far less likely to maintain homophobic or oppressive views.

People’s History Museum

We met at the The Moon Under Water pub for lunch before taking the short walk to The People’s History Museum.

We walked past Church House on 7 October 2021, exactly 57 years after the first meeting that began the modern movement for LGBT equality. These meetings were held in the offices of the Diocese of Manchester.

The People’s History Museum in Manchester is the UK’s national centre for the collection, conservation, interpretation and study of material relating to the history of working people in the UK.

The Museum holds one of the largest collections of political material in Britain, beginning with the early 19th century. It focuses on the history of democracy with objects relating to the right to vote making up a large part of the objects on display. The collection includes 2,000 posters focused on elections and political campaigns, 300 political cartoons, 7,000 trade union badges and tokens, as well as 95,000 photographs. With over 400 trade union and political banners, the Museum holds the largest banner collection in the world.

Current exhibitions included: “More in Common: in memory of Jo Cox”, “Counterflow: the movement of cultures” and “Banner Exhibition”. We also enjoyed the coffee and cake deal in the café after viewing the exhibits!

More photos can be seen here.

Bev Craig announced as new leader of Manchester council, the first woman to take on the role

Bev Craig has become the first LGBT+ person to be leader of Manchester Council
(Image: Manchester City Council)

Bev Craig has been announced as the new leader of Manchester Council, becoming the first woman to take up the role.

Councillor Craig was selected for the top job to replace Sir Richard Leese at a Labour meeting. Richard Leese is set to step down as leader on 1 December 2021 after 25 years in the role.

Councillor Craig, who is openly gay, has played a prominent role in Manchester’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, and was recently made deputy leader of the council.

She said: “It is the honour of my life to be elected and offered this chance to lead Manchester. I stood on a platform of Labour values, committing to further regeneration of the city and continuing the commitment to a greener, cleaner, and more equal city.”

She was the first in her family to go to the university, and moved to Manchester from Northern Ireland in 2003. In 2011 she was elected as a councillor to represent Burnage.

Recently she said: “Growing up gay, on a council estate just outside Belfast, I didn’t ever think politics could be for someone like me.” Sir Richard Leese added: “I am delighted with the new elected leader and she has my full support. It is a great honour to take on this role, and I am confident that Bev is committed to ensuring Manchester continues to be the best city in the world.”

I Am Samuel

Samuel, a gay Kenyan man of the acclaimed documentary “I Am Samuel”, balances duty to his family with his love for his partner, Alex, in a country where their love is criminalised.

Samuel grew up on a farm in the Kenyan countryside, where tradition is valued above all else. He moves to Nairobi in search of a new life, where he finds belonging in a community of fellow gay men where he meets and falls in love with Alex. Their love thrives even though Kenyan laws criminalise anyone who identifies as LGBT+, and together they face threats of violence and rejection.

Samuel’s father, a preacher at the local church, doesn’t understand why his son is not yet married and Samuel must navigate the very real risk that being truthful to who he is may cost him his family’s acceptance.

The film is a quiet, steady, honest portrayal of Samuel’s daily life. LGBT+ people in Kenya are ordinary people living ordinary lives, but their government officially designates them as second-class citizens.

On 23 September 2021 Kenya’s Film Censorship Board (KFCB) slapped a ban on “I Am Samuel” claiming the film contravenes Kenyan values. They state: “By deliberately advocating same-sex marriage in Kenya, the film blatantly violates Article 165 of the Penal Code that outlaws homosexuality … From our analysis the documentary propagates values that are in dissonance with our constitution, culture, values and norms.” KFCB may want to silence LGBT+ people with flimsy claims, but it will not succeed. Censorship rarely does.

While the documentary has been banned in Kenya, the film will be available to watch online across Africa starting 14 October. Like the lesbian-themed film “Rafiki”, banned by KFCB in 2018, Samuel’s story will be seen by Kenyans who will make up their own minds. In trying to deny LGBT+ people’s existence and rights, Kenya’s Film Censorship Board is on the wrong side of history.

Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence … Podcasts … A Dame’s Tale

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Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence

The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence are an international Order of gay male and trans “nuns”. They believe all people have a right to express their unique joy and beauty.

Since their first appearance in San Francisco on Easter Sunday in 1979, the Sisters have devoted ourselves to community service, ministry and outreach to those on the edges, and to promoting human rights, respect for diversity and spiritual enlightenment.

They use humour and irreverent wit to expose the forces of bigotry, complacency and guilt that chain the human spirit, and sprinkle glitter blessings on us whenever they get the chance.

The Sisters have no central seat of power and no single ruling body. Each House is an autonomous, unique group with its own habits, culture, and rules.

You will be glad to know there is a Manchester House – The House of the Swishing Curtain.

So what fabulous things do the Manchester Sisters get up to? As well as raising eyebrows for a better world, they fight the good fight, raise money for good causes, give hugs to everyone and spread masses of joy. It runs through their blood like ice cold gin.

Saintmaking: the canonisation of Derek Jarman

A new documentary, Saintmaking, tells the tale of a group of gay male and trans “nuns” in 90s London who decided to canonise Derek Jarman – film-maker, artist, gardener and more – as an act of political protest.

The London House of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, by 1991, had become radical left-wing activists and vicious critics of the UK government’s lack of care in confronting the Aids crisis. Frustrated that “exactly £0 had been spent on research” and seeing their community suffering and dying as a result, they decided they wanted to make a stand and make someone a saint – but who?

Diagnosed with HIV in 1986 and a master of many forms of activism, Jarman was openly gay and open about his illness – he was the perfect candidate. So on 22 September, 30 years ago, the Sisters took a trip down to Prospect Cottage garden in Dungeness to lay hands on their beloved Dessie.

Podcasts

Here are a couple of highly recommended podcasts to listen to.

Childhood Heroes

Why do some young people prefer to be known as queer rather than gay, or as a gay woman rather than a lesbian? Do 5-year-olds understand discrimination? Should I put pronouns on my profile?

Carl Austin-Behan OBE DL helps us unpick these questions and many more in this episode of Childhood Heroes. Carl is a figurehead of Greater Manchester’s gay community, as previous Lord Mayor of Manchester and the current LGBTQ+ Adviser to Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester.

Carl works with schools and the community to reduce stigma and normalise diversity. But personally, Carl’s own life tells the story of the dramatic changes that have happened over one short generation … from fear and discrimination (including dismissal from the Royal Air Force for being gay) to royal honours, and fulfilling his dreams as husband and father. Plus, we celebrate the writing of Russell T Davies.

Listen here

Nine Bob Notes

This is a drama by Philip Meeks, starring Matthew Kelly.

Daniel lives in a retirement home. He has lived his adult life as a gay man, but now finds that he has to suppress his sexual identity in order to fit in. But then an ex-policeman comes to the residence and he and Daniel realise they have met before many years ago.

A gentle and poignant comedy drama about two elderly men who discover a passion for life in their twilight years.

Listen here

A Dame’s Tale

Documentary following Gracy, who takes us on a journey that addresses universal themes of life, death and experiences of illness through tales of frocks, flowers and fireworks.

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