05/09/2019

Project Explores Local LGBT Heritage

A new project is set to reflect on the experiences of the LGBT community during the period when homosexuality was a criminal offence in Northern Ireland.

Homosexuality was not decriminalised in Northern Ireland until 1982, 15 years after the legislation was passed in England.

Funded by £70,000 from The National Lottery Heritage Fund, the scheme will capture and record the memories and experiences of the LGBT+ community throughout this period, bringing their hidden heritage and untold stories to light for the first time in Northern Ireland.

The judgement by the European Court of Human Rights was the first of its kind to be decided in favour of LGBT+ rights. But for the LGBT+ community in Northern Ireland, the next impactful legislative change didn't occur until 1998 with the introduction of Section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act.

The groundbreaking scheme will be led by community lesbian & bisexual support organisation HERe NI, in partnership with its sister groups- The Rainbow Project and Cara-Friend.

Director of HERe NI, Cara McCann, said: "Our plan to record the heritage of the local LGBT community is the first meaningful funded project of its kind in Northern Ireland.
News Image
"Many younger people are shocked to learn that laws that criminalised same-sex relationships existed until the 1980s. The impact of decriminalisation and the experiences of LGBT people have never before been explored or documented in any large-scale way."

The funding will be used to recruit volunteers and provide training in a range of heritage and media skills. The volunteers will collate the important artefacts, documents and historical materials held by the partner organisations which are currently in storage. They will create a digital archive to safeguard this heritage and increase people's access to it.

The volunteers will also be involved in:

• recording interviews

• producing a documentary film

• creating a touring exhibition

• giving talks across Northern Ireland to share this heritage with new audiences

For Cara, sharing her community's heritage is an important element of the project.

"Our young community members have no frame of reference for understanding their past; our older members have been unable to tell their stories and we are invisible in the history books.

"This is our story and it can't wait any longer to be told. We've already lost some of this heritage as people have passed on so there is a real sense of urgency to conserve as much as we can."

Director of The National Lottery Heritage Fund in Northern Ireland, Paul Mullan, added: "Without this project the heritage of the local LGBT+ community is in real danger of being lost, so we are delighted to help give a voice to the people who lived through this period of change and enable them to record their history for the first time."



(JG/MH)

Related Northern Ireland News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

11 November 2019
Empower Young People This Anti-Bullying Week
Schools and youth organisations across Northern Ireland are being urged to empower young people by embracing the theme of Anti-Bullying Week 2019 - 'Change Starts With Us'.
06 November 2019
Shingles Vaccine Encouraged Among Elderly
Elderly residents of Northern Ireland are urged to avail of their free shingles vaccine when invited. People in their seventies are susceptible to the painful disease, which is caused by the same virus as chickenpox, with around 1,000 people in that age group suffering each year.
09 January 2013
National Trust Begins Golf Resort Block Bid
The National Trust has begun its bid to block the building of a new £100m golf course and resort near the Giant’s Causeway on the north coast. The Trust has taken the matter to the High Court, as it attempts to challenge a decision by the Department of the Environment to grant permission for the Bushmills Dunes project.
21 May 2012
Windfall for Woodland Protection Group
A community group has won three quarters of a million pounds to protect endangered woodland. Members of Carntogher Community Association, from Co. Londonderry, plan to buy and manage 130 acres of land, using money from the Northern Ireland Environment Agency and the Heritage Lottery Fund.
20 December 2018
Review Launched Of Northern Ireland Neurology Services
The Department of Health (DoH) has launched a regional review of neurology services due to the "unacceptably long" waiting lists. It follows the biggest recall Northern Ireland has ever seen, when over 3,000 patients of consultant neurologist Dr Michael Watt had their conditions and treatment plans reviewed.