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Gay history exhibit at City Hall is a hit with school groups

Stephanie Phillips July 8, 2008

An exhibition has been set up in London’s City Hall that draws attention to the “shameful way LGBT lives have been neglected in British museums and archives.” has proved popular with all sorts of visitors.

Our Proud Heritage features the GAY LOVE jumpsuit worn by Alan Wakeman, member of the gay liberation front, at 1972’s Pride and a photographic exhibition of Pride by the Pink Paper’s Scott Nunn.

Jack Gilbert, executive director of Proud Heritage, told

“We have had a great response to the exhibition from the public, and from the primary school classes who come every day.

“If you can’t make it before 11 July, visit the online museum and check out the Queer Googlemap of London.

“We need your memories and materials about Pride too.”

Mr Gilbert estimates that the vast majority of British museums make no reference to gay people.

He said he is very proud with how the public have responded to the exhibition and estimates that about 10 to 20,000 people will have seen it by the time it closes.

On the public’s reaction, Mr Gilbert said:

“It was really interesting. We have had a lot of school kids come everyday and it is very interesting to see the teenagers reaction.

“One particular Roman Catholic school came and a nine year-old girl stood up and said, ‘My uncle is gay, he is a lovely man and I love him.’ The school were using the pictures to discuss homophobia and religion.

“What we want to do is to break down the boundaries of what is acceptable to display. What we are about is getting everybody involved.

“People are very happy that the pictures depict the diversity of the LGBT community.”

There has only been one negative response from a member of the public according to Mr Gilbert which came from a woman who said: “This shouldn’t be allowed, homosexuality is wrong.”

More than 100 people have signed up to the Proud Heritage manifesto. The group aims to built a permanent museum of LGBT history.

Mr Gilbert appealed to people to volunteer and sign up on the website as a friend.

“Our target is to raise £100,000 to cover our core costs to set up the national collection and museum.

“Every little helps. Signing up as a Friend is only £20, and there is Family, Proud Friend and Founder options too.

“If just 5,000 like-minded people became a Friend we would be sorted.

“After all if LGBT people don’t make the investment to honour our own history and memory, how can we expect other institutions to?”

As well as money people can also donate their memories of LGBT events by going online and filling in a response form or talking to someone in person.

Proud Heritage would like material as well as memories so images, audio and video files are always welcome.

For more information go to

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