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GLAAD celebrates 25 years of gay rights campaigning

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  1. The Lizzie 12 7 Dec 2010, 5:00pm

    Well done GLAAD! They’re a fantastic campaigning group. Sad, though, that one of our own long-standing LGBT forums was overlooked by the LGBT media last week! See below for details sent out but not picked up.

    Southwark LGBT Forum

    Fifteen Years of Working in Partnership with Southwark Police and Southwark Council and Still Going Strong!

    The LGBT Forum, which celebrates its 15th birthday on Tuesday 30 November in the London Borough of Southwark, is one of the longest-serving locally-based panels in the UK to address homophobic crime.

    A Brief Chronology

    In June 1994, at a meeting of the SPCCG (Southwark Police and Community Consultative Group), local resident Stephen Bourne raised the problem of under-reported homophobic crime in the borough. He then assisted in the organisation of a public meeting at Southwark Town Hall on Peckham Road on 18 May 1995. This was attended by representatives from the police and council, and a huge turnout of over 80 LGBT members of the Southwark community and other interested individuals. This reflected the desire to tackle the issue of homophobic crime by means of a partnership approach. Consequently the Southwark Anti-Homophobic Forum (SAHF) was founded.

    It was one of the first locally-based, multi-agency panels in Britain to specifically address homophobic crime, and in 2010 it is one of the longest serving forums of its kind.

    The first meeting of SAHF was held on 27 September 1995 and the first Chair of SAHF was a local Liberal Democrat Councillor, Donnachadh McCarthy. He was succeeded by another Lib Dem Councillor, David Noakes, in 1998; local activist Linda Bellos (1999-2003); local resident June Bradbury (2003-2007); Robin Newman and Anna Marsden (2007-2008); Anna Marsden (2008-2009); and local resident William Eades from 2009.

    In addition to liaising with Southwark Council and Southwark Police, SAHF set up an Education Sub-Committee, worked in partnership with the voluntary sector, undertook campaigning work, training, and monitored police statistics of homophobic crime.

    On 26 November 1997 Angela Mason from Stonewall was a guest speaker at the launch of Southwark’s Speak Out anti-homophobic crime campaign. Speak Out was the first borough-wide campaign in Britain to encourage victims of homophobic crime to report incidents and to give a strong message to those attacking and targeting LGBT people that this is totally unacceptable.

    In 2005 SAHF celebrated its tenth anniversary, changed its named to the LGBT Forum, and successfully campaigned for the appointment of a LGBT Liaison Officer. At the end of the year, Southwark Police became one of the first London boroughs to appoint a full-time LGBT Liaison Officer.

    In 1998 local residents Sue Sanders (from School’s Out) and William Eades joined and, with Stephen Bourne, they are the longest-serving members of the Forum who are still currently active.