Queering The North – Museum of Free Derry Exhibition

The Museum of Free Derry in partnership with OUTing the Past International Festival of LGBT+ History is proud to announce the launch of Queering the North, the first ever museum exhibition dedicated to an expansive reading of the history of the LGBT+ community in the north of Ireland/Northern Ireland from 1967 to the present day.

Based upon the work and recollections of a range of leading activists and academics, the exhibition will include a timeline of key events, starting with the exclusion of the north from the 1967 Sexual Offences Act, which legalized homosexuality in Britain, and ending (for now!) with the change in the marriage equality laws, which recognised marriage equality here from January 2020.

The exhibition also includes a history of the development of LGBT+ rights activism, and accounts of the formation of many of the key advocacy and support groups.

Museum curator Adrian Kerr described the exhibition as a natural step for the museum:

“When we were setting up the Museum of Free Derry we always wanted it to be a museum about civil rights, not just a museum about the struggle for civil rights. We wanted to be able to focus on other human rights issues, locally, nationally and internationally, and this exhibition has given us the opportunity to look at an ongoing civil rights struggle in our own community. It is a natural step forward for us.

“This is a part of our collective past that has been kept hidden, and this is reflected in the nature of the information available for the exhibition. It is the hope of all involved that this will act as a provocative spur towards the creation of the first comprehensive reading of our LGBT+ history.

Dr Jeff Evans, (Research Fellow, Liverpool John Moores University) the Exhibition Project Coordinator for OUTing the Past, said:

“The OUTing the Past International Festival of LGBT+ History is honoured and proud to help further break the silences about the courageous and inspiring campaigning for LGBT+/Human Rights by individuals and organisations, both ‘straight’ and ‘queer’ from the different traditions within the north of Ireland/Northern Ireland. Our thanks to all those who have made it possible: exhibition contributors, coordination team, and not least the Museum of Free Derry for their initial suggestion and kind invitation to help create this project.”

Professor Sue Sanders (Harvey Milk Institute & OUTing the Past), commented:

“We are thrilled to be working with the Museum of Free Derry on this crucial exhibition as it reflects the vital importance of working to get human rights for all.”

Queering the North will be launched at the Museum of Free Derry on 2 February, during the 2020 bloody Sunday Commemorations, and speakers will include Peter Tatchell and Sara Canning. It will be on display in the museum throughout February 2020, and will then travel to other venues across Ireland and beyond.

For further information please contact the Museum of Free Derry on 02871 360880, or info@museumoffreederry.org, Sue Sanders on 07960493544 or Jeff Evans at jgm.evans@btinternet.com

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