Press release: thirty events to take place across York to mark LGBT History Month 2015

Ynda Jas2015, Events, Press releases11 Comments

York LGBT History Month 2015 will see thirty events from twenty different organisers. These will include films, a play, variety nights, an exhibition, displays, a reading group, collaborative heritage events, a conference, discussion panels, talks and walks.

The month will be launched at an exciting, free event featuring live music from local bands, an exhibition by a local artist, speeches, a quiz and short films including Screen Yorkshire’s award-winning Private Life. A spoken-word and poetry night, featuring a range of acclaimed talent from Yorkshire and beyond, will be the official closing night.

Events are detailed in our programme, professionally designed by York resident Vlad Kuzmin. The programme can be found on our website and printed copies will be made available in due course at York Explore Library and Thomas’s Bar York, both on Museum Street.

LGBT History Month is celebrated worldwide, and 2015 will mark the tenth anniversary of the national LGBT History Month campaign. York LGBT History Month may well be the only local LGBT History Month organisation in the UK.

Last year saw the first ever collaborative LGBT History Month campaign in York, spearheaded by York St John University. This was a great success, and resulted in the establishment of an independent organisation called ‘York LGBT History Month’ to coordinate efforts in future years1.

Plans are also underway for school outreach work to explore LGBT history narratives within the framework of the existing curricula.

Andy Law, Lead Coordinator, said:

We are delighted to announce a diverse and exciting programme of events for 2015, offering a wide variety of ways for the public to engage with LGBT narratives. It’s great to have seen the number of groups, organisations and individuals involved double, showing a real drive in support of our aim to increase public awareness of the place of LGBT people in history.

Through bringing to light stories that might traditionally have been ignored, we seek to develop inclusivity, challenge stereotypes and promote understanding. Our school outreach initiative will serve to further reinforce the principle of inclusion at a key developmental stage.

York LGBT History Month is kindly supported by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, the University of York, York Pride and York St John University.

1 The organisation is managed by a group of four individuals:

  • Andy Law, Lead Coordinator: led the 2014 campaign as Secretary of York St John University LGBT Staff Network. Andy works at York St John University and is studying an MA at the University of York. Former Secretary of both York Pride (now a Support Officer) and York LGBT Forum, he has been involved with York’s LGBT groups and organisations since 2010.
  • Kit Heyam, Assistant Coordinator: a PhD candidate and postgraduate teaching assistant at the University of Leeds. Kit’s thesis is entitled ‘Literary and historical representations of Edward II and his favourites, c.1305-1700’. They are coordinating York LGBT History Month’s school outreach programme and will be delivering a talk at the University of York as part of the programme.
  • Trudi Jackson, Assistant Coordinator: about to move from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation to York Mind, where she will take up the position of Assessment and Mentoring Coordinator. Trudi has organised the York LGBT History Month 2015 closer. She has a degree in Classical and Ancient Studies and a Postgraduate Diploma in Museum Studies, and is also Secretary of York Pride.
  • Philip Newton, Assistant Coordinator: Assistant Curator at York Museums Trust, based at York Castle Museum. Philip is to jointly host an event where the public are invited to bring in objects, documents and stories that have relevance to LGBT history. He has an MA in Heritage Management and will also be delivering a talk at York Castle Museum as part of the programme.

The organisation’s aims are to:

  1. coordinate and promote a unified and cohesive programme for LGBT History Month, bringing together events from groups, organisations and individuals across York, and in doing so promoting collaboration and raising the profile of the observance;
  2. develop initiatives that directly challenge cisnormativity, heteronormativity and silencing by increasing the accessibility of LGBT narratives in York, in turn fostering a greater understanding of issues and achievements both past and present;
  3. promote York-based events and initiatives with an LGBT history theme that fall outside of LGBT History Month;
  4. work with other local LGBT groups and organisations, as well as sympathetic parties, in any other way to promote equality, diversity and social inclusion for the public benefit of the people of York and North Yorkshire by the elimination of discrimination towards LGBT people.
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Ynda is a PhD candidate at Queen Mary University of London researching queer and genderqueer speech. They established York LGBT History Month in 2014 while working at York St John University. They then developed it into an independent organisation, and served as Lead Coordinator from 2014 to 2016, which included overseeing its registration as a charity. They now remain vaguely involved from a distance. During their seven years in York, Ynda also studied at both of York’s universities and served periods as secretary of York Pride and York LGBT Forum. They also founded Non-binary London and are involved in Bar Woetever and Everyday Cissexism. They write about queer matters on their website.

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