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Is gay pride still relevant? Debate to celebrate LGBT history month

24 January 2014

The relevance of gay and lesbian pride events in today's society will be debated by a panel of academics and activists as part of London South Bank University's LGBT history month celebrations in February.

With same-sex marriage soon to be legal and Sochi 2014 around the corner, the panel will debate the role and relationship that lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) communities have with the pride movement, mardi gras and marches.

The discussion will be chaired by sociologist and gay activist Professor Jeffrey Weeks, one of the first academics during the early period of gay men's studies in Britain that emerged from the Gay Liberation Front and the Gay Left, of which he was a founding member.

Panellists include Andrew Jones, festival director of London Pride in 2013, and Dr Marianna Tortell, chief executive of charity Galop who work with LGBT people affected by hate crime, domestic abuse and sexual violence.

The event is hosted by LSBU's staff sexual orientation network, SONET. February celebrates and reflects on LGBT history by marking the 2005 repeal of Section 28 which restricted schools from providing sex education and counselling to LGBT youth during the height of the HIV/AIDS crisis.

"The history and social organisation of sexuality and intimate life has been the major focus of my work since the early 1970s," says panel chair Professor Weeks. "The development of distinctive of lesbian and gay identities has been the focus of several of my books and various articles.

"I have also explored the changing forms of social regulation of sexuality, the ideological debates on sexual behaviour, and the social policy implications of the recent rethinking of sexual values."

Weeks is the author of Sexuality and its Discontents; Sex, Politics and Society; and Coming Out, a study of the history of homosexual politics in Britain.

The development of distinctive lesbian and gay identities has been the focus of several of my books and I have also explored the changing forms of social regulation of sexuality.

Professor Jeffrey Weeks, sociologist and panel chair

Panellist Andrew Jones is partner at a boutique PR and events company and held the role of festival director and co-chair of London Community Pride in 2013 and team leader of Manchester Pride from 2004 to 2008. Jones has worked extensively in the LGBT travel industry and has also helped businesses target the 'pink pound' LGBT market.

As well as working with LGBT rights, panellist Marianna Tortell has worked in the area of violence against women for twenty years in the UK, Malta and New Zealand. She currently works for Rape Crisis England and Wales, the national umbrella body for the network of local Rape Crisis Centres, and as an independent accreditation assessor of domestic violence perpetrator programmes for Respect.

"We are delighted to have these preeminent minds in their fields come to LSBU to help us celebrate LGBT achievements but also reflect on our shared history and current challenges," says Dr Markos Koumaditis, chair of SONET.

"England and Wales have achieved equal marriage yet friends in other countries still have so many injustices. The deeply offensive and hurtful comments made by Putin about gay people recently—likening same-sex relationships to paedophilia—clearly show we have a long road ahead."

We are delighted to have these preeminent minds in their fields come to LSBU to help us celebrate LGBT achievements but also reflect on our shared history and current challenges. 

Dr Markos Koumaditis, Chair of SONET at London South Bank University

The panel discussion is open to all as part of an LSBU programme celebrating LGBT history month.

LSBU is a member of Stonewall's Diversity Champions programme and honoured civil rights campaigner Peter Tatchell in 2011 by conferring him an Honorary Doctorate of Laws.

Date Thursday 13 February 2014
Time 6–8pm
Location Edric Theatre, Borough Road Building
RSVP Register now (required)
 
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