The First National Festival of LGBT History takes place at Manchester Central Library this Valentine’s Day.
The festival, running from 10.30 - 4.30 on Saturday 14th February, celebrates three centuries of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans history and will be run entirely by volunteers.
The festival will host the premiere of ‘A Very Victorian Scandal’ - a groundbreaking immersive theatre event based on the true story of a police raid on an all-male fancy dress ball. The raid, which took place in 1880 in Hulme, was led by famed detective Jerome Caminada and led to the arrest of 47 men, causing an international stir.
Stuart Milk, nephew of the legendary American campaigner Harvey Millk, will be present to read from ‘The Harvey Milk Story’, a children’s book by Kari Krakow. In 1977, Harvey Milk became the first openly gay person to be elected to public office in California, but was assassinated less than a year later.
Events aimed at children and young adults will also take place, with teacher Juno Roche reading from young children’s books, while authors Catherine Hall and Adam Lowe will read selections from contemporary young adult fiction.
Speakers at the festival will include the veteran LGBT campaigner Peter Tatchell, the author Christine Burns MBE, whose campaigning helped to secure the passage of the Gender Recognition Act in 2004 and Jan Bridget, who ran the Lesbian Information Service in the 1980s and 1990s.
Campaigners and academics behind groups like the Campaign for Homosexual Equality and Press for Change will discuss their life work, successes and regrets.
Cllr Kevin Peel said:
"Manchester has taken a leading role for over 50 years in the fight for equality for LGBT people so it is only right that the first National Festival of LGBT History takes place here.
"Manchester City Council has been at the forefront of championing equality and diversity for much of that time, so our fantastic new library in the heart of the city is an excellent home for this inspiring and groundbreaking event."
All festival events are free, but some are ticketed. For more information, go to http://lgbthistoryfestival.org, follow @lgbthistoryfest, or like the Facebook page - www.facebook.com/lgbthistoryfestival.
The festival is just one of a series of events lined up through February to celebrate LGBT History Month at Central Library.
Film, poetry, speed dating, family craft activities, creative writing and a look at the life and legacy of Alan Turing are just some highlights of the library’s packed programme.
Listings follow. No booking is necessary, unless specified: -
Tuesday 17th February (6 - 7pm) Manchester LGBT Film Show
A selection of film clips from the Lesbian & Gay Foundation’s VHS collection; this is an opportunity to see how the LGBTQ community in Manchester has changed over the past twenty years, the footage on show will include Manchester Mardi Gras celebrations in the mid-90s and Healthy Gay Manchester promotional videos.
Thursday 19th February (2 - 3pm) Families: Half Term Family Fun
Come and join us making Rainbow Hearts in celebration of LGBT History Month. Open to all families.
Thursday 19th February (6.15 - 7.30pm) ‘Read Dating’
A fun evening swapping stories and meeting new people. Bring your favourite book, music or film or find one on the shelves, then chat to other LGBT singletons about why you love it. Don’t worry, it’s strictly one-to-one in the charming setting of the Reading Room.
Tuesday 24th February (6 - 7.30pm) Poetry: An Evening with Dominic Berry
Award-winning performance poet Dominic Berry presents brand new work alongside performances of some of the older poems that have shaped his career.
Wednesday 25th February (6 - 7pm) History: Alan Turing’s Manchester
He broke the Nazis’ Enigma code, devised the thinking behind the first computer, and was persecuted to a painful suicide by the ungrateful authorities. In this new talk, author and tour guide Ed Glinert uploads the life, the legend and the legacy.
Thursday 26th February (6 - 7.30pm) Creative Writing: SPOKE: New Queer Voices
SPOKE is an anthology of writing from young and emerging LGBT writers. Hosted by the Archives+ Young Writer in Residence Bryony Bates, in association with Young Enigma, this event will showcase the very best new LGBT writers from Manchester, with a few old(er) friends. The evening ends with Young Enigma's exciting spoken word/cabaret performance 'A Royal Wedding' (featuring Manchester queens Anna Phylactic and Cheddar Gawjus) - this is guaranteed to be an evening where glamour and literature, word and performance collide!
Saturday 28th February (12 - 2pm) Walking tour: LGBT History Trail
Join Jon Atkin of Manchester City Council’s LGBT Staff Group for a fascinating walking tour around the city’s historical LGBT landmarks. The tour starts and ends at the Central Library steps. An archives handling session will follow for those who want to get their hands on LGBT history.
Saturday 28th February (2.15 - 4pm) Families: LGBT Story & Craft
Central Library in partnership with Proud to be Parents presents a special story session for all LGBT families and friends followed by a fun creative craft activity. Aimed at children up to the age of 7yrs. (To book visit www.lgbtstorytime.eventbrite.co.uk)