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LGBT History Festival 2019

LGBT History Month 2019

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OUTing the Past Festival of LGBT History

Saturday 16th February

11am - 4pm, Free Entry


The Higgins Bedford is very excited to be a hub venue for the OUTing the Past Festival for the second year running. February marks the beginning of LGBT History Month and the theme this year is Peace, Reconciliation and Activism.


There will be stall holders with information on LGBT History, as well as LGBT rights, support and activism. Confirmed stalls include Schools Out UK, Q Youth Bedford and the Terrance Higgins Trust.


A dynamic range of speakers will present on themes including trans rights, sex education, suffrage and mermaids.


Download the full programme of the day here.


11.40am: Keynote Speech by Stuart Milk


As the nephew of Harvey Milk, the iconic civil rights leader, Stuart has taken his uncle’s message of authenticity, example of courage, and the power of collaboration onto the global stage supporting local, regional and national human rights struggles and emerging LGBT communities on the ground in over 60 nations on six continents. Stuart Milk will speak about his work and continuing the work of his uncle.


12.15pm: ‘The Oldest New Woman and Her Incorrigible Welsh friend’

Presented by Jane Hoy and Helen Sandler

jane hoy helen sandler

Jane Hoy and Helen Sandler will present the hidden histories of Victorian activists Frances Power Cobbe and Mary Charlotte Lloyd, exploring how they met in Rome, their activism as suffragists of the 1870s, campaigns against vivisection and some of the conversations they had between themselves and their friends about their lives and passions.


'Ours is the old, old story of every uprising race or class or order. The work of elevation must be wrought by ourselves or not at all.'' Frances Power Cobbe (1822-1904). The Duties of Women, Preface (1882).


12.50pm: ‘Sex, Crime and Punishment throughout history’

Presented by Steve Boyce


Take a romp through history to see how sex has been policed and the punishments metered out by law on same sex desire in the UK over the last 500 years. 


1.45pm: What shall we tell the children?

Presented by Peter Scott-Presland


Explore the history of Sex Education in the UK from the 19th century and onwards. Peter Scott-Presland looks at the tussles over the content of sex education and who should deliver it, the fraught introduction of any sex education at all into schools, and the minefield into which the Gay Liberation Front and the Campaign for Homosexual Equality in the late 1960s and early 1970s. 


2.30pm: Are we nearly there yet?

Presented by Kate Hutchinson


Kate Hutchinson, Director of Wipe Out Transphobia, looks at the history of trans rights activism in the UK. Discover the various organisations and people who helped make strides forward for trans rights and how that shaped current activism. From the shadows to proud visibility.


3.15pm: Mermaids: A Twist in the Tale

Presented by Sacha Coward


sacha coward

Mermaids can be seen in everything from the most recent season of RuPaul’s Drag Race, themed fancy dress and merchandise at Pride parades to the naming of the largest transgender youth group in the country ‘Mermaids UK’. But what is it about these creatures that make them so popular with the full spectrum of LGBTQ+ people?


Sacha Coward of The National Maritime Museum explores the popular mythical figure of the mermaid and invites visitors to discover secret same-sex love letters, a Sapphic relationship between an artist and her muse and of course the story behind the much beloved, but poorly understood Walt Disney classic ‘The Little Mermaid’.


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Outing the past