Petition launched to create queer museum in London - Museums Association

Petition launched to create queer museum in London

LGBTQI+ history at risk of being lost, activists warn
Profile image for Rebecca Atkinson
Rebecca Atkinson
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex (LGBTQI+) activists are petitioning the mayor of London to create a museum for queer history.

The petition, which suggests creating a permanent home for queer history in the former Magistrate’s Court on Bow Street, near Covent Garden, was created by the Queer Cabinet Brigade.

The group states that: “Many places in London are prominent sites of queer history - places where queer people met and danced and organised and protested and kissed and cottaged - yet it is possible to walk through London and not be aware of how many streets contain queer stories. Activist groups break-up. Clubs close. Our history is easily lost.”

A queer museum would help to counteract the effects of homophobia, transphobia, racism and religious intolerance, the petition adds.

And it could also help address some of the demands of the Gay Liberation Front from the 1970s that have yet to be met, including sex and gender education that addresses the needs of LGBTQI+ students.

“Queer histories must find a permanent home, and the LGBTQI+ community must have a place to organise: anything less is a betrayal to the courage of the pioneering queer activists of the 1960s and beyond,” the petition states.

Last November, the Queer Cabinet Brigade placed pink cabinets around London to raise awareness of queer history.

The campaign to create a queer museum coincides with a number of UK-wide events marking the 50th anniversary of the passing of the Sexual Offences Act 1967, which partly decriminalised sexual acts between two men in private and aged over 21.

These include Queer British Art 1861-1967 at Tate Britain, the first exhibition dedicated to queer British art, and David Gwinnutt: Before We Were Men at the National Portrait Gallery, a special display on London gay scene in the 1980s.

Elsewhere, Hackney Council is organising a festival to mark the anniversary and using citizen-historian site Historypin to collect stories and experiences. And Royal Pavilion & Museums, Brighton & Hove has invited LGBTQI+ groups and individuals to submit proposals to hold community exhibitions in Brighton Museum.

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