Londoners to help choose LGBTQIA+ “Rainbow Plaque” recipients

The London LGBT+ Forums’ Network is calling on Londoners to help choose the beneficiaries of five new “Rainbow Plaques”, which will serve as a permanent homage to LGBTQIA+ communities across the capital.

Rainbow Plaques is a national scheme that identifies hidden and lost LGBTQIA+ heritage whilst highlighting the importance of visibility of queer communities.

Londoners keen to put forward ideas for the recipients of the new batch of Rainbow Plaques are invited to attend the final workshop at Studio Voltaire, in Clapham Studio Voltaire in Clapham on Saturday 24th September between 1-3pm.

The new plaques will be based across London and efforts will be made to ensure that they are located close to the person, place or historical event that it is celebrating.

They will be inscribed with key details commemorating the chosen subject.

The project was originally started by York Civic Trust with York LGBT Forum in 2018 to honour 19th century Halifax-born lesbian diarist Anne Lister.

Oscar Wilde was the recipient of London’s first plaque back in 2018, and David Robson, Project Lead of the London LGBT Forums Network, is excited at the prospect of five new plaques adorning the city’s streets.

Robson said: “London is a city where the LGBTQIA+ community is really visible and has been over many decades, but we’ve also seen a huge number of London venues and spaces close.

“In the past decade, 60% of London’s LGBTQIA+ spaces have closed down.

“We hope that the Rainbow Plaque project will hope to further strengthen London’s LGBTQIA+ visibility.

“You only have to go back to the 1990s to understand that LGBTQIA+ spaces were hidden and even blacked out to avoid being identified to stop customers being attacked.

“The Two Brewers now stands proud on Clapham High Street, but the entrance used to be down by the side alley.

“What this project tries to do, is say that we have been here a lot longer and to map some of our hidden heritage.”

Robson has been delighted with the coverage LGBTQIA+ communities have had during Pride Month, but believes that the challenge is now channelling that energy longer-term.

Robson said: “If we look at the coverage Pride Month got this year, it was off the scale. Especially as it’s 50 years since the GLF’s first Pride March in 1972.

“The challenge is keeping the conversation going beyond Pride Month. After all, we’re LGBTQIA+ 12 months of the year.”

Londoners keen to attend the final workshop at the end of the month can register their interest directly at Studio Voltaire, Clapham.

Featured image: Studio Voltaire

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