The UK’s first LGTBQ+ museum opened this week in London with the aim of celebrating ‘queer’ history and culture and making "everyone" know her.

Housed in a 19th-century brick building in Granary Square, north London, Queer Britain — funded entirely by private donations — opened its doors on Thursday.

A major exhibition of photography, artwork and clothing is planned for the summer, but visitors can already discover images that explore the history and diversity of the British LGTBQ+ community, from Victorian-era transvestites to pride marches. gay in recent years.

Pioneers include Roberta Cowell, racing driver and the first known British trans woman to undergo gender reassignment surgery, and Justin Fashanu, the first footballer to publicly come out as gay in 1990.

This museum "it is a permanent place to celebrate who we are, the incredible contributions we have made to history, and educate the nation to know those contributions as well"explained to AFP Stephanie Stevens, one of those responsible for the museum.

"We want to reach everyone"whatever their gender identity or sexuality, said this transgender activist.

Elisha Pearce, a 21-year-old, discovers a photo of World War I soldiers dressed as women and admits that "I thought these types of photos existed".

"It is important that we understand how our history has evolved and how we have gotten to where we are today."said.

"Visibility"

This museum is "something that we needed for many years in our country"said another visitor, Richard Halstead, 59, who hopes it will bring "visibility" to the LGBTQ+ community.

The photographs on display also show how far it has come, for example in accepting gay elected officials. In 1977, the Labor Party refused to invest Maureen Colquhoun, the first openly lesbian Labor MP. The decision was reversed a year later by the party leadership.

Decades later, Ruth Davidson, an openly gay politician, became a popular leader of the Scottish Conservatives until her departure in 2019.

Also, Conservative MP Jamie Wallis, who came out as openly transgender in March this year, has received messages of support from across the political spectrum, including Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Homosexuality ceased to be a crime in England and Wales in 1967. Same-sex marriage has been allowed since 2014 in England, Scotland and Wales, but only since 2020 in Northern Ireland, where the ultra-conservative unionists in power opposed fiercely.

However, the LGTBQ + community still has several pending battles. Last month it was lifted when the British government wanted to withdraw a ban on conversion therapies that claim to change sexual orientation.

For Stephanie Stevens "in current times it is important to remember that things happen in the world that are not up to par and on which we must work".

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