Hackney Council has announced a project to “immortalise” LGBTQI+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Intersex plus) history in the borough.
The plan was unveiled by Mayor Philip Glanville at the launch of LGBT+ History Month at Hackney Museum on 1 February.
He said the Town Hall will work with local people to create the borough’s first-ever LGBTQI+ festival, with community-led events taking place throughout 2017.
Glanville was joined at the launch by world-famous street artist Stik, Hackney-born performer I’m Empire and Hackney Museum’s heritage chief Emma Winch, all of whom made speeches in front of over 100 guests.
Winch said: “Young people tell us museums don’t do enough to collect and share LGBTQI history. This, and the lack of representation in the national curriculum, is unacceptable. It has an effect on their identity and confidence.”
Helen Brown, a lesbian campaigner living in Hackney during the 70s, said: “I was in the group of first lesbian mothers in the borough. We were very militant. We wanted to make sure nurseries and schools accepted our children.
“I imagine now that seeing lesbian mothers is quite normal. I don’t want people to forget what problems we faced and the struggles we had to overcome.”
The council said a key objective of this year’s festival is to ask the community to help address a gap in Hackney Museum’s collection of records that capture the borough’s LGBTQI+ history.
Campaigner Sebastian Sandys will be one of those donating objects from his years of activism. He said at the launch: “I’m still not reconciled to the perception of me and mine as history. I’m happy tonight to bask. After all, tomorrow we all have to get up and make some more.”
Artist Stik has also revealed that renowned auction house Christie’s will manage the sale of his famous Hackney Pride banner in April. Proceeds from the sale of the work, which was created for last year’s London Pride parade, will go towards a Hackney-based LGBT+ project.
Mayor Philip Glanville, set to play a leading role in the festival, said: “Hackney is well known for its diversity and we have a fascinating history of welcoming everyone. A Hackney LGBTQI+ festival will not only remember the history of the hard-won victories of yesterday, but will celebrate the community of today, and ensure our values of inclusivity are shared with future generations.”