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February 4, 2019 cpark752

As part of LGBT History month 2019, we’re sharing personal stories of significant, life-changing moments of acceptance or understanding from our local LGBT+ community.

“Shall not promote the teaching in any maintained school of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship”.

Local Government Act, 1988 – Prohibition on promoting homosexuality by teaching or by publishing material.
Chris Park

 Put yourself in the place of a 13 year old in the Lake District in 1988. The world was in the midst of the AIDS crisis and homophobic articles were common in the national press.

I was the 13 year old that Mrs Thatcher was trying to “protect”. Sadly for her it had the opposite effect.

 Gay rights didn’t make it to the Lakes, so TV was the only connection to the outside world. Bringing this revolting clause presented a call to arms, organisations like Stonewall appeared and words Gay and Pride were bandied around. I’d always known I was different but now I wasn’t alone.

It couldn’t have been a better signpost for me, if Margaret T thought homosexuality was wrong, it must be right. 

That isn’t to say I had an easy time of it. The 80s were dark and by bringing homophobia to the masses, we all copped it one way or another. 

Section 28 was only repealed 15 years ago. We need to remember that our previous Prime Minister was incredibly vocal in keeping it until he did a U-turn in 2009. Our current “leader” has consistently voted against LGBT rights. 

As for Section 28, we should never forget or we will allow prejudice like this to thrive again. As for its effectiveness, sorry Mrs T, but this gay wasn’t for turning. 


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August 19, 2017 Nicola Jones0

‘Salon’ is the perfect word to describe our ‘Lesbian Writers Read’ event –a reminder of an earlier era when like-minded people would gather in drawing rooms to discuss books, art, politics or simply to enjoy each other’s company in a relaxed atmosphere.

Our local haberdashery, Ribbon Circus in Hebden Bridge provided a delightfully intimate setting, surrounded by displays of coloured wools and ribbons displayed around the walls and filled with whatever the collective noun is for a group of lesbians (All places were soon snapped up and so the venue was fully booked).

Four published authors from across the UK, joined local author and organiser, Jen Silver and despite, Robyn Nyx and Brey Williams being led astray by their sat-nav, ending up behind a herd of cows – all managed to arrive in time.

It was Lise Gold’s first public appearance and if she was nervous reading from her second, recently released romance, Beyond the Skyline – it didn’t show.

Cari Hunter was planning on editing out the swearing in her selected excerpt from the third in her Dark Peak series, A Quiet Death – but after Helen’s robust introduction to the evening, she muttered, “I’m leaving the ‘f*cks’ in.”

Brey Willows read from, Fury’s Bridge, the first in a series and left us wanting more by ending on a cliffhanger.

Robyn Nyx’s reading from the first book in her Extractor Series, Escape in Time, took on an even darker hue, leading us into the past in Nazi Germany during World War II.

Jen Silver read from her most recently published book, Running From Love. Beforehand, Jen’s wife asked her which bit she’d selected and when told said, “Oh yes, the fridge and the cat!” Not quite how I would summarise that part, but if you want to make your own mind up here’s a link to the podcast

A massive thank you to everyone who came, including the authors who did a fantastic job, both reading and answering questions afterwards.

Special thanks to Ribbon Circus owner, Happy Valley Pride Trustee and host, Helen Baron who ensured glasses were topped up and the donation bucket was jingling.

With thanks also to Affinity Rainbow Publications for their event sponsorship.

Jen Silver, local author signing books

The wonderfully unusual Ribbon Circus provided a great venue for a relaxed evening of literary entertainment.

Article adapted with thanks to Jen Silver