by Beth Brook
Welcome to the 2014 edition of the LGBT History Project’s Past2Present magazine. Past2Present has been running for 7 years now, with a new edition brought out each February for LGBT History Month. The team has been hunting through archive and library resources to discover and explore different aspects of our lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex past and bring them to light.
The magazine has quite an array of subjects and personalities running through its articles (as always). we have focused on two themes for 2014 in particular, though.
Music is the official theme for LGBT History Month 2014. Having such wonderfully rich and diverse LGBTQI elements throughout its history we could not help but embrace, explore and celebrate artists from the music halls of centuries past to the discotheque and beyond.
2014 also marks the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War and it is important to remember those in the LGBTQI community who have been a part of or affected by war, whether in the First World War or any other conflict. In this edition, articles on the women of the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry and the war poets remember the women and men who experienced the First World War, some of whom also happened to be queer. We hope to explore and expand on the LGBTQI community and war history throughout 2014-2018 in future research and articles, so watch this space.
Some people may ask the question, why make all the fuss about LGBTQI people of the past. Well, one of the most important reasons for LGBT History Month is to celebrate the diversity of the LGBTQI communities and society as a whole and to encourage everyone to see diversity and cultural pluralism as the positive forces that they are.
One of the ways to do that is to learn more about the histories of LGBTQI people, which have so far been hidden. This makes the LGBTQI visible in history. That way it represents a true picture of society and culture. To remain hidden is to remain invisible. So we need to celebrate the existence and diverse elements of the LGBTQI community though society and culture from all ages in order to represent the place, importance and value of the LGBTQI community today.
Have you discovered our sister project, the (other) LGBT History Project? It is an online encyclopaedia of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans history in the United Kingdom. It was started in June 2011 and now contains over 2,300 records, covering British LGBT life from the 1st Century right up to the current day.
We exist in all times and places. We speak each and every language. We laugh and cry. We talk and remain silent.
We are emperors and peasants. We are conservatives and revolutionaries. We are actors, artists, bricklayers, bookies, cab drivers, cooks and clowns.
When we can, we attend school, college and university. When we can, we go out into the streets. We read the papers and watch the TV.
Until recently, most LGBT people preferred to avoid attention. Many still do. Even today, the penalties for those who refuse to conceal themselves, or fail to do so, can be severe. They can range from ostracism and victimisation to assault and even murder.
In the past, the silencing of LGBT people was often reinforced by legislation. The most recent example was Section 28, passed in 1988 and repealed in 2003, which was intended to restrict debate on homosexuality, particularly in schools.
LGBT History Month website
Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.
Hold fast to dreams
For when dreams go
Life is a barren field
Frozen with snow.