We're here, we're queer

Hastings Queer History Collective, 2021

were here were queer

The Hastings Queer History Collective is a group of local LGBTQI+ people interested in Queer history and representation in museum collections. It was formed in early 2020 as part of the museum's What's in the Box? project funded by Arts Council England through a National Lottery Project Grant.

The Collective's first project began the process of enriching HMAG's social history collections with LGBTIQ+ related objects and stories. The collective worked with the museum team, Home Live Art, E-J Scott (Founder of the Museum of Transology) and New Writing South to choose objects that reflect their lives and experience as queer people living in and around Hastings.

In these videos, each participant shares the story of the object they chose. The objects (or the films about them if the participants wanted the original items back) have become part of the Museum's permanent collections..

If you would like to find out more or join the Hastings Queer History Collective and get involved in upcoming projects, please email museum@hastings.gov.uk.

post-it note

Coming Out

A Post-It note used to announce my non-heteronormativity, about 2016
Paris Grande/Jack Kennedy

As a queer person, coming out is often part of the journey to happiness.

I used this note to come out to my mum at the age of 6. Unbeknownst to me until this year, she had kept it in my memories box. I didn't understand at the time how significant it would be to my life.

Luckily, my mum did.

Watch the video: Paris Grande (2:29)

envelope with rainbow

Little Envelope of Heartbreak: A collection of lesbian love memoirs messily made over a five year period

Paper and card, 2016-2020
Gen Orsi

This envelope holds a collection of heartbreak memoirs everyone can relate to. They tell stories of queer couples doing the same things as heterosexual couples: writing cards to each other, taking loved-up mini breaks, having regrettable mini breaks, and then there's the break-up letter that never stops hurting.

The intention of this collection is to show that regardless of our sexuality, we all love and we all have our hearts broken the same way.

Watch the video: Gen (4:29)

tapestry showing two women

Queer Intimacy

Yarn on Hessian Fabric, 2020
Harriet McMorrow-Purcell

This tapestry explores the importance of intimacy in queer relationships that are defined by their 'knowing tenderness', rather than by sex. By placing it in a museum collection, I've curated the possibility of having wider conversations about queer space, place, community and historiography.

Watch the video: Harriet (3:52)

two pairs of shoes

Pair of Vivienne Westwood Heels

PVC, 2010

Pair of Dr Martens

Leather, elastic, rubber, 2013
Fox Irving

Accessories often reveal something personal. Dr Marten boots can signify strength, Vivienne Westwood heels can signify confidence. Both pairs of shoes have enabled an individual negotiation of queer identity. Within the queer community there are dress codes, colours, and items that can be used to signify sexual orientation. These shoes have been used to subtly communicate that the wearer belongs to the community.

Watch the video: Fox (3:13)

facial imprint

What We Leave Behind... and Keep With Us

Facial imprint created on-site, 16/03/2021
Mother Demdike

As a drag performer, make-up is my most powerful tool for creating a gender illusion.

I preserve these facial imprints after every show as a memento. They are my 'photo album', a flashback to everything I put into each concept, and to memories of the people who shared the experience with me.

Watch the video: Mother Demdike (2:52)

rainbow-alliance newsletters

Hastings and Rother Rainbow Alliance Newsletters

Paper, 2011-2018
Barbara Martin (HRRA Trustee and Publicity Officer)

Queer voices and experiences have often been ignored and silenced. These local newsletters show how Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Queer+ people formed support networks and worked towards achieving equality. They gave a voice to the local community and made a contribution to the history of queer publications.

Watch the video: Barbara (4:19)

wooden box

Feme Sole

Hand-made mahogany box, dovetailed with boxwood inlaid lid, 1982
Glenys Jacques

The 1975 Sex Discrimination for the first time meant women could not be excluded from a recognised apprenticeship. I was one of the first women to be admitted to a full training apprenticeship as a Carpenter & Joiner.

Women were excluded from any formal trade apprenticeship from the middle ages. 'Feme Sole' is the legal term given to single women who were occasionally allowed to work in a manual trade until married. As lesbian relationships were not recognised, lesbians worked in manual trades as 'feme sole'.

Watch the video: Glenys (4:12)

blue plaque

TRUE NORTH - How many queer life stories have been destroyed?

Plaster, acrylics, 2021
Zed Gregory

True North asks why we default to heterosexuality when we look at our ancestors? I grew up without role models, not seeing myself anywhere until I was an adult. Turns out I was everywhere, all through time.

Marianne North (Hastings born painter, botanist and explorer, 1830-1890) lived her life most queerly. This plaque celebrates that.

Watch the video: Zed (3:19)

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