Friday, 26 April 2013

A little history of our own...

The LGBT History Project has its roots in work we did for the Rainbow Network, the corporate support network for LGBT staff at the then Department for Constitutional Affairs (aka the DCA, which later became part of the Ministry of Justice when it was created in 2007).

The Rainbow Network used LGBT History Month as a way to inform staff about LGBT issues generally, presenting events in different parts of England and Wales (in the departmental offices). Over the years we gave presentations on the lasting impact of Section 28, international laws on homosexuality, the development of thinking on homosexuality from the late 19th century and lots more. My personal favourite has always been the 2 hour seminar on Polari, in which I got participants to sit a mock GCSE paper.

In 2007, when the DCA provided generous funding for its diversity networks, the Rainbow Network worked with a gay-run graphic design company, Smart Arts, to produce the very first edition of Past2Present.

That first edition was only produced in a limited print run (of about 1,000 copies, if I remember correctly) and there are very few now available. I have about 3 copies, the rest are spread about the UK. We sent them to all our members and to local offices - magistrates' courts, county courts, crown courts.

We were never entirely sure how that was received - although we do know that someone in the Magistrates' Court at Leamington Spa shredded the copies we sent there. A Rainbow Network member, who was not out at the time, reported that back to us. We contacted the regional manager, without giving away the location (to avoid outing our member). I'm pleased to say that he worked with us to provide a full day's training on LGBT workplace issues to all the managers in that region.

Recently, I got in contact with one of the people who worked with me on the Rainbow Network. It turned out that he had a relatively complete draft of that original Past2Present in pdf format. With a little bit of work, I have managed to re-create it almost in its pristine glory - the design is not quite perfect, but then Smart Arts had far more professional software (and skill) than I have.

Here's the link:-
Past2Present 2007 -

The other editions can be downloaded here:-
(There was no 2008 edition.)
Past2Present 2009 -

Past2Present 2010 -
Past2Present 2011 -
Past2Present 2012 -
Past2Present 2013 -

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