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Humanists UK:
Picturing Nonconformity: LGBT Humanist Heritage

12th July 2024 · 10:00am - 14th July 2024 · 6:00pm

Doors open: 10:00am

Bertrand Russell Room

Humanists UK: Picturing Nonconformity: LGBT Humanist Heritage

Experience a landmark exhibition celebrating LGBT Humanists, revealing their rich archival holdings from Bishopsgate and Conway Hall. This printed ephemera will be complemented by LGBT artists’ illustrations of figures from further back in history whose religious, gender and sexual nonconformity inspires us today.

Through photographs, news media, and ephemera of all kinds, the LGBT Humanists archive tells a story of political struggles and community building since 1979. Amid campaigns on topics such as blasphemy, marriage, and conversion therapy, inclusive spaces emerged for social activities and creative expression, through both events and the circulation of ephemera by LGBT Humanists (first known as the Gay Humanist Group). Through the oral histories gathered for the exhibition, we have the pleasure of hearing directly from veteran LGBT artists and activists, from Adèle Anderson to Peter Tatchell!

In this exhibition, we honour LGBT Humanists as a pioneering organisation that established places for the non-religious to freely express their gender and sexuality. Expect protest imagery, snapshots of lively group gatherings, testimonies from LGBT Humanists members, as well as equally amusing and inspiring articles and illustrations from the community’s newsletter. This specially curated collection, ranging from textiles to illustrations to photographs, will feature works from EM Parry, SL GrangeRiver ManningAlice Gabb and Claire Mead.

In the current climate of false narratives surrounding the supposed modernity of LGBT communities and activism, this project is a timely showcase of long humanitarian histories. Connections will be drawn between, for example, the work of Humanists UK today to campaign against conversion therapy, the Gay News trial that spurred the foundation of LGBT Humanists, and the Molly House proprietors who defended their customers against religiously-motivated homophobic persecution in eighteenth-century London. 

This speculative approach is inspired by the series of talks hosted by LGBT Humanists in the ’80s, ’90s and ’00s that explored LGBT humanist interpretations of historical figures, including a talk on Mother Clap’s Molly House in 2002. Contemporary LGBT artists have been invited to create their own spectacular illustrations of these historical humanists, who have been chosen for their power to inspire LGBT Humanists today.This event is organised as part of LGBT strands of the National Lottery Heritage Fund supported project ‘Humanist Heritage: Doers, Dreamers, Place Makers’, coordinated by Humanists UK in partnership with Conway Hall.

Please note that entry to this exhibition does not include entry to Lead Me Into Temptation, Please: LGBT Summer Fair. Tickets for this can be purchased on our website here.

Age Recommendation: All ages. Under 16s may need to be accompanied by an adult.

Price: FREE

Access Information

Due to the age and Grade II listing of the building, there is no lift access to rooms above the ground floor.

All the ground-floor rooms are fully accessible by wheelchair. Main Hall (street access, step-free), Brockway Room (street access, step-free), Bertrand Russell Room (street access, shallow ramp), Hive Cafe (street access, step-free), There is also an accessible toilet on the ground floor opposite the Brockway Room.


Other events that may interest you

Lead Me Into Temptation, Please: LGBT Summer Fair


Further Info

If you have any accessibility enquiries, please contact us at / 020 7405 1818.

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