Press Release: Pre-Launch an Enormous Success

>Pre-Launch of LGBT History Month 2008 an enormous success.

The Main Hall of the Royal Courts of Justice in the Strand was packed Monday night as LGBT History Month 2008 enjoyed its highly successful Pre-Launch. This year the Pre-Launch was hosted by the London Criminal Justice Board, the London Crown Prosecution Service and Channel 4 and catered to nearly 400 people, all keen to hear our speakers and to work towards LGBT History Month 2008.

It was a very mixed group with people from the criminal justice system, equality workers, educators, the media in all its forms and our LGBT communities. The setting for the evening was prestigious indeed and the evening lived up to that promise.

LGBT History Month has always been fully supported by the criminal justice system with the Crown Prosecution Service sponsoring us from the beginning.

Past Pre-Launches have also attracted large and enthusiastic numbers. The first took place at the Tate Modern, hosted by Southwark Council, then the Metropolitan Police and the Metropolitan Police Authority hosted the second at their Empress State Building, with the TUC hosting the third at Congress House. But this year’s surpassed them all!

We were graced with the presence of two government ministers – the Attorney General, Baroness Scotland, and Barbara Follett from the Ministry of Equalities, both of whom praised LGBT History Month and talked of its importance in the development of social cohesion, the creation of a fairer and more just society and giving lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people the recognition they deserve.

Dru Sharpling, the Chief Prosecutor for London, welcomed people to the event on behalf of the London Criminal Justice Board and talked of the amazing strides that have been made by the criminal justice system in supporting LGBT equality. All three made it very clear that there was still a lot of work to do and praised our LGBT communities for all they have done so far.

Other speakers were Richard Kirker from the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement, Prof Stephen Whittle, a trans campaigner of many year’s standing, Rikki Beadle Blair, playwright, director and performer and Elly Barnes, a teacher who has inspired her school to celebrate LGBT History Month fully and is now working to make sure that other schools in her division do the same. She was a real inspiration.

The Diversity Choir entertained people as they arrived to a rage of music suitable for such a venerable place and closed proceedings with two highly appropriate offerings. Firstly “There’s a place for us” by Leonard Bernstein, whose 90th anniversary comes up in 2008 and in recognition of women gaining the vote on the same basis as men in 1928 “The March for Women” by Ethel Smythe, composer, suffragette and lesbian.

“This was a superb event,” commented Paul Patrick, co-chair of LGBT History Month. “To think that all this has been accomplished in only three years of existence. We are very proud of our relationship with the criminal justice system and all they have achieved and we look forward to the day when education, that should be at the heart of all this work, catch up!”

Pictures of the event are available here.

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