Pride in London has just happened, but the issues that face the LGBTQ+ community persist. Why write a blog post about this? With no intention of being political, equality is a topical issue that affects us all and we should fight for it.
Maybe the past can inform the future. The British Library honours Pride 2017, and the passing of the ‘Alan Turing Law’, with an exhibition on the struggles and triumphs of the LGBTQ+ community in the UK through journals of famous authors, drafts of songs, and novels amongst other things.
Ongoing until the 19th September, this free exhibition is tucked away in the right hand corner when you arrive from the main entrance. A small exhibition packed with information, it begins on the right side with Oscar Wilde and his famous trial and sentencing. It is also from him that for a long time, homosexuality was known as the ‘love that dare not speak its name’. Moving into the 20th century, it is characterised by the main struggles and success of the 1967 Sexual Offences Act, which decriminalised sexual acts in private. This was amended in 2003, when the 1967 Act was repealed completely, and the exhibition finishes with a film made recently on the impact the changes in law have made in the lives of British citizens.
Interactive elements are dotted throughout the exhibit, particularly as music was influential in fighting for equal rights, and famous artists include Boy George and Frankie Goes to Hollywood. Visitors can listen to songs and drama pieces that echo the sentiments of what it was like to be persecuted for love, admire original copies of books written on the subject, and educate themselves on the struggles to achieve the freedom that exists today.
If you enjoy a bit of political and social history, this exhibit is for you and worth a visit! If you were already heading to the British Library for any of the other exhibits going on, make this one to visit!