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Council told us not to say the 'L' word!


Between 1988 and 1992 there was an annual in Birmingham, co-ordinated by , during which various events were held.

Inge recalls: “They had groups for younger women, older women, black women, mothers etc. and a group called ‘any others’ which all the lesbians went to. They gave us this little room in the basement. So we then called for the conference and the Council to recognise lesbians as voters, that we exist, and the contribution that countless lesbians have made to things such as work against violence against women, Rape Crisis Centres etc. This was received with stunned silence. One of the invited speakers at the conference was apparently told not to mention the word ‘lesbian’ by the conference organisers, but she did! The Council were shit scared of anything like that, they would really rather not have to deal with it. There was a lot of general homophobia, internalised homophobia. I still think, in a lot of ways, people just pay lip service to it because they’ve been told they’ve got to. It might have shifted a bit late 90s, the gay village was there by then.”

Contributed by: Inge Thornton, 46

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