Peter Scott Presland – Punting with Pride

Peter will speak at our full day of talks about LGBT History on “(The Campaign for Homosexual Equality) – Punting with Pride”. 

PeterPeter Scott Presland has been a gay journalist, playwright, cabaret performer and songwriter since 1971.  As a writer he has won a double Fringe First and been twice nominated for Best Musical, once in Britain and once in Canada.  His plays include ‘Latecomer’, ‘Leather’, and ‘Teatrolley – or a Midsummer Night’s Scream’.  His short stories have appeared in several anthologies, and he was a regular columnist for ‘Capital Gay’ and ‘Axiom’ magazine. Since 2010 he has been working on the ‘official’ history of the doyen of LGBT campaigning organisations, the Campaign for Homosexual Equality, and its times.  Conceived as a trilogy, ‘Amiable Warriors’ is encyclopaedic in its scope but no hagiography.  The first volume, A Space to Breathe, was published in 2015 and covers the period of 1954 – 1973; it draws heavily on the CHE Archives at the LSE, and on interviews with over 20 people who were around at the time. “History should be living, inspirational, partisan, gossipy and scurrilous,” he says.  “And to hell with Queer Studies!”

Peter will  tell the untold story of the Oxford Gay Action Group (1972-74), which straddled CHE and GLF, Town and Gown, and was pioneering in producing gay theatre and founding the first gay switchboard in the country.  Colourful characters and lots of good stories from one who was there!

Darienne Flemington and Mark Kelly – Out and Proud in Trade Unions

Darienne Flemington and Mark Kelly (UNISON)

Darienne and Mark (both of UNISON) will speak at our full day of talks about LGBT History on “Out and Proud in Trade Unions”. 


Inspired by her personal experiences of border agencies, alien courts and deportation, Darienne Flemington has worked as an international activist for LGBT rights for over 25 years and was recently elected to sit on the ILGA Europe’s executive board. As a committed trade unionist she is also the Co-Chair of UNISON’s National LGBT Committee, and hasrepresented LGBT workers interests on UNISON’s National Women’s Committee. She works in local government where she is committed to fighting discrimination in all of its forms, as well as negotiating and organising for equality at work.

Mark Kelly runs a company which provides specialist support for University students who experience mental health issues. Previously he worked for 10 years at a Further Education College where he managed innovative and groundbreaking projects which engaged with socially excluded groups of young people and adults and won national praise from the Learning & Skills Council and NIACE. Mark’s role in the college also involved him managing a curriculum area, developing and delivering specialist staff training and facilitating an LGBT youth support group. Mark has been an active trade unionist with UNISON for over 20 years and works at a local, regional and national level. He is a previous co-chair of UNISON’s National LGBT Committee and is a senior activist in UNISON’s South West Region. Mark also works with Devon & Cornwall Police as an independent LGBT / Diversity advisor and is a trained Critical Incident Advisor.

Their talk with discuss the way in which Trade Unions have been at the forefront of campaigns to change equality law, contractual rights and workplace practices on  LGBT equality – a role that is not always acknowledged, with the media quick to portray unions as concerned with narrow self-interest. Following the Brexit vote and other political upheavals, many feel as though we are in uncharted waters, with  prejudice and hate crime on the increase.  This presentation will consider the lessons we can learn from the past to guide us through the next months and years. UNISON is clear about the importance of maintaining a strong value base and  how we can continue to play a significant  role in promoting LGBT equality at work, in the community and in public services in the future.

UNISON is also sponsoring the Festival at a national level.

Dominic Janes – Cartooning queers

Dominic will be speaking to us as part of our full day of talks about LGBT History on “Cartooning queers from the Georgian dandies to Oscar Wilde”. 

KeeleJanespicbig-200x228 (1)Dominic Janes is Professor of Modern History at Keele University. Dominic is a cultural historian who studies texts and visual images relating to Britain in its local and international contexts since the eighteenth century. Within this sphere he focuses on the histories of gender, sexuality and religion. His most recent books are Picturing the Closet (Oxford University Press),Visions of Queer Martyrdom (University of Chicago Press) and Oscar Wilde Prefigured (University of Chicago Press).


Jon Evans & Ting Guo – Underground Queer Cinema

Jonathan and Ting will start our day of talks with their joint presentation on: “Translating for Change: Underground Queer Cinema and LGBT activist translators in China”. 

evansjDr Jonathan Evans is Senior Lecturer in Translation Studies at the University of Portsmouth. He is the author of The Many Voices of Lydia Davis (EUP, 2016) and co-editor of the Routledge Handbook of Translation and Politics (forthcoming 2018).

guoDr Ting Guo is Lecturer in the Department of Modern Languages, University of Exeter. She is the author of Surviving Violent Conflict: Chinese Interpreters in the Second-Sino Japanese War (1931-45) (2016). She has published in journals such as Literature CompassTranslation Studies and Translation Quarterly.

Their presentation extends the understanding of LGBT history as an international history, highlighting how success in some countries can be used as inspiration in other countries. The presentation focuses on the way in which volunteers have subtitled LGBT cinema for underground/unofficial distribution in China, a country where LGBT rights are still limited. By using non-Chinese source (e.g. British queer films and gay/lesbian soap), these translators hope to circumvent Chinese censorship of LGBT topics in the media and make space for more discussion of LGBT rights. The presentation will look at specific strategies the translators use to evade censorship as well as which films they choose to use, in order to give greater understanding of how Chinese LGBT activists use and appropriate Western LGBT cinema for their own ends.



Day of talks programme

Photography by Roy Riley 2014Exeter LibraryExeter Pride parade 2015 photo by Alan Quick IMG_6423phoenix

Provisional programme for the free day of talks on LGBT History on Sunday 12th February 2017 at Exeter Phoenix – see more details here. 

We are asking people to book for the (FREE) keynote talk only – please book here. All other talks on Sunday 12th are not ticketed – please just drop in!

Event opens 11am for visiting stalls by local organisations and groups in the foyer.

VENUE Dance Studio Drama Studio
11.30-12.00 Jon Evans (University of Portsmouth)
 & Ting Guo (University of Exeter) – Translating for Change: Underground Queer Cinema and LGBT activist translators in China Michael Halls (Intercom Trust) – How the grassroots shaped the landscape
12.00-12.30 Dominic Janes (Keele University) – Cartooning queers from the Georgian dandies to Oscar Wilde John Vincent (The Network) – Flicking back the pages …
12.30-13.00 Jack Sargent (University of Exeter) – Oscar Wilde’s Grindr Profile: What Can Digital Dating Offer a Nineteenth-century Decadent? Surat-Shaan Knan (Liberal Judaism) – Twilight People: Stories of Faith and Gender Beyond the Binary
13.00-14.00 LUNCH BREAK (self-funded)

Please remember to visit the Twilight People exhibition at the Central Library!

14:00 -14.30 Tony Fenwick (Schools OUT) – From Gay Teachers to OUTing the Past: a Brief History of Schools OUT UK.
14.30-15.00 Robert Howes – Opening the public sphere to LGBT issues in the Bristol region, 1980-2000 Laura Rowe (University of Exeter) – Sex at Sea: Homosexuality and the Royal Navy in the Great War
15.00-15.30 Peter Scott-Presland (The Campaign for Homosexual Equality) – Punting with Pride Caroline Paige – True Colours: Trailblazing Transgender Service in the Military
15.30-16.00 Darienne Flemington and Mark Kelly (UNISON) – Out and Proud in Trade Unions Cheryl Morgan (OutStories Bristol) – Chosen of the Goddess: Trans Women in the Ancient World
16.00-16.30 SHORT BREAK
VENUE Studio 74 (Cinema)
16.30-17.30 KEYNOTE: Diana Souhami – Gluck, Radclyffe Hall, Violet Trefusis and other Notable Lesbians


Football v Homophobia – special match at Exeter City

Exeter City Football Club will be taking a stand against homophobia in football at its home game with Stevenage (3pm, Saturday, February 18).
The match has been designated as the Club’s annual ‘Football v Homophobia’ fixture – a move welcomed by the Exeter City Supporters’ Trust and its One Game One Community (OGOC) Group. The OGOC Group, with support from Devon County Council, is organising a series of initiatives at the match working in partnership with the Devon Lions, the local gay friendly football club. Also supporting the anti-homophobia event will be volunteers from Exeter Pride and University of Exeter Student LGBTQ Society. 
Supporting the special focus on opposing homophobia is Alan Quick, South West Co-ordinator for Football v Homophobia, Exeter Pride Trustee and a member of the Exeter City OGOC Group.
Alan said: “It is really positive to see Exeter City taking such a principled stance. Everyone, be they player, official, employee or fan, should be free to be themselves. Exeter City takes a firm stand against things like inappropriate chanting or hateful or prejudiced language which is to be congratulated”.
Exeter City’s One Game One Community Group is part of the national Kick it Out campaign which aims to address all types of discrimination in football including race, disability, gender, age and sexual orientation.
Volunteers who would like to help give out flyers etc and attend the game can contact Alan Quick on 07979 753571 or email: .

Talk on Twilight People by Surat-Shaan Knan

As part of the Twilight People exhibition, we will have a special talk and discussion on the project from founder and project manager, Surat-Shaan Knan

Thursday 9th February, 18:00-19:30

The Forum Exploration Lab 2, The Forum, University of Exeter.

Free, no booking required.

Surat-Shaan Knan works for the Liberal Jewish movement UK and is a campaigner for faith related LGBTQI issues. Shaan is the founder and manager of the landmark Heritage Lottery Fund supported projects Rainbow Jews and Twilight People. Shaan is a proud member of the Stonewall Trans Advisory Group. Shaan is a non-binary trans activist from a mixed heritage (passionate about #trans #nonbinary #faith #BAME #TPOC #intersections #intersex #heritage). Shaan’s new project is Rainbow Pilgrims: The Rites and Passages of LGBTQI Migrants in Britain. More about Surat-Shaan here

For more on the Twilight People project visit the Twilight People website.

Twilight People exhibition and talk

We are very pleased to be bringing Twilight People to Exeter!

‘Twilight People’ is a landmark project that discovers and celebrates the hidden history of transgender and gender-variant people of faith in the UK past and present. This collection is the first source of faith and transgender history in Britain. The project explores the narratives around ‘body and ritual’, documenting the interconnection between faith and gender journeys beyond the binary categories of male and female. The images and stories of over 40 members of the various Abrahamic faith communities – Christian, Muslim and Jewish – are documented by means of oral history, film and photography. Supported by the Lottery Heritage Fund and proudly hosted by Liberal Judaism. 

Throughout The Exeter LGBT History Festival a ‘pop-up’ Twilight People exhibition will be displayed across Exeter:

The Forum, University of ExeterStocker Road, Exeter, EX4 4SZ

Monday 6th – Thursday 9th February, 08:00 – 20:00 daily (free, no booking required)

With talk and discussion from founder Surat-Shaan Knan on Thursday 9th February, 18:00-20:00 (free, no booking required)

Exeter Central LibraryCastle Street, Exeter EX4 3PQ

Saturday 11th February, 09:00 – 17:00 (free, no booking required)
Sunday 12th February, 12:00 – 16:00 (free, no booking required)

Sign up to the Facebook event here! 

For more on the Twilight People project please visit the Twilight People website.


Kings Cross (REMIX) – performance at The Bike Shed Theatre

On the evening of Sunday 11th February there will be a special performance Kings Cross (REMIX) from Tom Marshman at The Bike Shed Theatre

Kings Cross (Remix) uncovers the hidden histories of LGBT communities in London during the 1980s through memories of the Kings Cross area; an area that has undergone radical change since its day as a hub of LGBT communities, bars and culture. Woven together from the stories of people who experienced it first hand, Tom’s show celebrates a raucous, riotous time in the life of central London where sexuality was for exploring, HIV was causing tragedy, and rights were to be fought for.

The show is a one-hour solo show performed by Tom Marshman with projection, and audio recordings. It was commissioned by Camden People’s Theatre and has been performed in Aberystwyth, Bristol and London.

Tom is a performance artist who transforms everyday accounts into theatre by weaving together stories worth telling. Previous work includes the acclaimed Move Over Darling.

Starts 8:00pm. Tickets are £12 (£10). 

Tickets and more details here.

GIRLS LOST – a special screening and panel discussion

On the evening of Saturday 11th February there will be a special screening at Exeter Phoenix of GIRLS LOST (POJKARNA, 2015), directed by Alexandra-Therese Keining.

Kim, Bella and Momo are three bullied teenage girls surrounded by a dark world of teenage angst, sexual confusion and name-calling. Their friendship unites them. But when they come across a curious magical plant their world is altered. A few drops of the flowers nectar transforms the girls temporarily into boys and teaches them what it is like to live as ‘the stronger sex’.

In collaboration with the University of Exeter LGBTQ+ Student Society.

Part of Exeter Phoenix SCANDIFILM SEASON. 

Starts 7.30pm. Tickets are £6. 

Tickets and more details here.