Queer Filing Cabinets to Take Over the Streets of London

Tomorrow, on the 18th of November, the LGBTQ activists and historians will be appearing in 10 iconic spots across London to highlight the importance of LGBT history.

This is timed for the run up to the approaching 50th anniversary of the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality, and activists are demanding an LGBT+ museum to commemorate this and other crucial LGBT events in history.

The fact that there are numerous museums across the world that serve this purpose, such as the Leslie Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art in New York, the Schwules Museum in Berlin and the upcoming Queer British Art at the Tate shows that there is both a demand and precedent for a permanent home to LGBT history in London.

Jan Pimblett Principal Development Officer London Metropolitan Archives, said: “LGBTQ+ people have always been part of our history but too often these histories have been made invisible and marginalised. An LGBTQ+ museum will be an important step in the mainstreaming of these rich and important histories.”

Stuart Feather, Gay liberation Front activist and author of ‘Blowing the Lid – Gay liberation, Sexual Revolution and Radical Queens’, had this to say: “Why is our history in filing cabinets gathering dust? We’ve never been allowed to exist as equals because there hasn’t been a place allowed to share our history.”

“Section 28 of the Local Government Act made exhibitions about gay and lesbian life risky grounds for museums, as it banned anything that might promote homosexuality to schoolchildren. Since then courageous people, programmes and institutions across London have exhibited Bloolips posters, stories of gay women in the Suffragettes, Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp, responses to AIDS and the Black queer experience – but they are all temporary. We want to bring queer history out into the open and make it accessible to all.”

cabinet

Nadia Asri, an activist as part of Friday’s action, said: “Growing up as a queer woman of colour, I have ‘enjoyed’ more privilege than my predecessors- many of whom devoted their lives to claim their identities and their rights. The struggle to free the queer community from the damaging straight world order is nowhere close to finished. A space to permanently store, display, and make accessible our collective histories and memories will give young people something to identify with; something tangible to hold onto. It will inspire us to continue fighting for what the incredible activists who gave us what we have today – started.”

Salma Tiff, an activist as part of Friday’s action, said: “Unfortunately for most of us, our families often can’t or don’t teach us about our history simply because it’s not theirs and being generally ignored by mainstream politics and media, young people are left in the dark. Having a reliable queer space is so important for young people if only as a respite from what can often be an unkind and unconcerned world.”

You can check out the Facebook event for it here, and below is a full list of the London locations that will be visited. If you’re interested, things will kick off on Friday 18th November, with a Press photoshoot at 9am, Piccadilly Circus. Meet up at Eros Statue.

  1. Vere St, Camden – the site of Victorian Molly houses
  2. 239 Kings Road – the site of Gateways, a lesbian club
  3. Stoke Newington Town Hall – Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners concert
  4. Regent’s Park – first Black Pride
  5. Piccadilly Circus – cruising spot and home to the Dilly Boys
  6. Parliament – lesbians abseiling in protest of Section 28
  7. Kings St, Covent Garden – Gay Liberation Front meeting place
  8. Bow St – Fanny and Stella
  9. Royal Albert Hall – Miss World protest
  10. National Theatre – LGBT+ performers and playwrights
  11. Charing Cross Hospital – Gender clinic
  12. The Arches, Villiers St – Heaven nightclub (evening)
  13. Dalston Superstore (evening)

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Queer Filing Cabinets to Take Over the Streets of London
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Queer filing cabinets are set to take over the streets of London as activists demand an LGBT museum in the capital.