Illustrated in the Welsh Government’s LGBTQI Action Plan, the initiative aims to tackle inequalities experienced by the LGBTQI community
BY ELEANOR NOYCE, IMAGE BY ZACHARY DRUCKER/THE GENDER SPECTRUM COLLECTION
In a landmark moment in history, the Welsh Government has announced that it will be making new moves towards furthering inclusivity by offering training on LGBTQI issues to its museum, archive and library staff. Funding a series of LGBTQI Language and History training sessions, it wants to honour and represent LGBTQI heritage and literature in its collections.
Including four specialised workshops for local museums, libraries and archives alike, the training sessions will take place throughout December and January in an effort to support organisations in planning content ahead of LGBT History Month.
Illustrated in the Welsh Government’s LGBTQI Action Plan, the initiative aims to tackle inequalities experienced by LGBTQI communities, challenge discrimination and create a society where LGBTQI people feel safe to live and love. Spearheaded by Welsh historian and author Norena Shopland and Equity Educator and Founder of Pride in Education Laila El-Metoui, the scheme will deliver five interactive sessions educating staff on undiscovered LGBTQI heritage.
Norena Shopland states: “Over the last 10 years the showcasing of sexual orientation and gender identity history (often referred to as LGBTQ+ history) has greatly increased. However, this increase tends to be driven by a small number of individuals and organisations. A lack of familiarity with the subject; little understanding of historic language use, application and recognition; fear of causing offence; and LGBTQ+ people rarely visiting local museums or archives, are some of the main reasons causing difficulties in researching, recognising, and promoting LGBTQ+ history.”
Laila El-Metoui furthers: “Too many organisations still live in the shadow of Section 28 and it is of the utmost importance that LGBTIQA+ heritage is showcased and celebrated, knowing our past helps us understand our present and will inform our future. You cannot be what you cannot see, it’s time to bring hidden stories to the light. We are grateful to the Welsh Government for being a driving force behind Queer Heritage representation.”
Deputy Minister for Arts and Sport, Dawn Bowden, remarks: “We want to do all we can to ensure our local museums, libraries and archives work with our LGBTQ+ communities in Wales to showcase, share and celebrate their history and stories.
“There are some wonderful examples of these organisations working with LGBTQ+ communities – like Llandudno Museum and Glamorgan Archives – but we are keen to ensure local venues across the country are more representative of the community in their collections, resources, events and exhibition programmes. This new initiative we’re announcing today is the start of that process.”
Similarly, Deputy Minister for Social Partnership, Hannah Blythyn, furthers: “The society we have today and the progress we have made is all built on the hope and determination of so many before us. Wales’ LGBTQ+ history has contributed so much to our stories as a nation and I am so pleased that these stories will have this new opportunity to be told.
“We’re working to make Wales the most LGBTQ+ friendly nation in Europe. This announcement today marks another step towards achieving that.”
To read more about the initiative, visit the Welsh Government website.
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