We popped down to the LGBT History fest last
Sunday 15th Feb to support LISG volunteer Prossy Kakooza as she gave a talk about
her life in Uganda and her experiences seeking sanctuary as an LGBT refugee.
Prossy highlighted that she and girlfriend Leah
were perceived to be just friends, but when it was discovered they were
actually in a loving relationship, they were both imprisoned. Prossy’s mum
helped her to flee to safety in the UK. However despite overwhelming evidence, she
was initially refused sanctuary, and she was subjected to some crazy questioning
by the UKBA – ‘'Why did you decide to be gay in a country where it's illegal to
be gay?' Her asylum refusal letter stated that 'she didn't look like a lesbian,
she's too feminine'. After a lengthy appeal process she was eventually granted
refugee status, and has rebuilt her life here.
We also loved watching LISG member Jacqueline singing with the Manchester Lesbian and Gay Chorus. They sang ‘Bread and Roses’ from the film Pride about the lesbian & gay activists who supported Welsh coal miners in the 1980s when their livelihoods were threatened. The Choir also performed Pokarekare Ana, a traditional Maori song which was sung spontaneously in April 2013, by members and spectators in the New Zealand parliament after the bill legalising same-sex marriage was passed. The choir sounded amazing, and a fantastic end to a great day.
We’re popping down to the People’s History Museum this Sunday 15th
February to support LISG volunteer and social justice campaigner Prossy Kakooza
as she talks about her experiences claiming asylum of the basis of her
sexuality. She is speaking as part of the first National Festival of LGBT History.
Here is a low down on our picks of the day. Hope to see you there:
Festival theme: Exporting homophobia
In the 1800s, the British Empire stretched across two
thirds of the world. Britain exported
laws banning same-sex relations to its colonies which still impact on LGBT
lives around the world today.
12:20-12:50 (Coal Store) Human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell discusses
Britain’s colonial legacy. He will look at the relationship between racism
& heterosexism in the colonial era and the on-going impact of Britain’s
exported homophobia worldwide
(Coal Store)LISG volunteer and social justice campaignerProssy Kakooza will talk
about how she rebuilt her life in the UK after experiencing abuse and torture
in Uganda.“Many LGBT
people like myself run from persecution to seek asylum in nations like the UK
thinking they’ll immediately be safe. But most times seeking asylum makes you
enter what feels like another form of persecution with having to prove your
sexuality to the immigration system. When I asked for asylum, on many levels,
it felt like jumping from a frying pan into a fire. In a series of such
intrusive and embarrassing questions, I was asked to prove I was gay. How on
earth was I or anybody else supposed to do that?!”
Festival theme: lesbian women and social justice
From Votes For Women to the Greenham Common peace camps, lesbian women
have been at the forefront of movements for social change.
11.30 – 12pm Sheila Standard(in Changing Exhibition Space)
discusses her experiences at Greenham Common,
reflection of one of thousands of women discovering the power of working
together, singing, being silly, the wit and repartee, fear and bravery, that
goes with bringing fences crashing down, to the mockery of militarism. A
women’s movement that conflicted and then embraced sexuality, and stood up to
the hateful press, and “respectable society”, embracing freedom, and our right
to struggle against the holocaust.
2pm – 2.30pmDr Sonja Tiernan (Coal Store)
will explore the lives of Esther Roper
and Eva Gore Booth. This formidable lesbian couple who lived together in
Rusholme from 1890s and who defended working class women’s rights including those
of mill workers, barmaids and flower sellers. They also established Urania, a
pioneering covert journal on gender and sexuality.
People’s History Museum foyer - LISG volunteerJenny White has put together a display on the lives of Esther and Eva.
Also on show is Oly Bliss’s Equality
Quilt celebrating the passing of Equal Marriage legislation (textile artist Oly
helped us make the LISG pride banner last year)
2.00 – 2.30pm Dr Kate Cook (Archive space) will speak about her involvement in the 1990s
struggles to end rape and about the involvement of lesbian feminists in the
movement against violence against women and girls.
Bellos (Coal Store) will explore some of her historic achievements. Actively involved in community politics
since the mid 1970’s, she came out as a lesbian in the late 1970’s and joined the
Spare Rib Collective in 1981. She helped organise the first Black Feminist and
the First Black Lesbian Conferences. She argued strongly against the notion of
a ‘hierarchy of oppression. In 1987, as Chair of the London Strategic Policy
Unit, she was responsible for introducing Black History Month to the UK. She
has become a leading authority on equality and human rights law and its practical application across the public sector.