Kay Jones, Lead Curator of Urban and Community History, Museum of Liverpool:
“Today is International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia. It marks the day in 1990 when the World Health Organisation took homosexuality off its list of mental illnesses.
Here at the Museum of Liverpool we have proudly supported IDAHOT for many years. National Museums Liverpool is committed to ensuring LGBT+ inclusion and representation in our collections, exhibitions, education programming and projects with community partners.
The objects from our collections featured here reveal how homophobia, biphobia and transphobia have affected and continue to affect our communities today. They also demonstrate how local people have come together to fight against it through high profile campaigns, grassroots activism, pioneering firsts and creative rebellion to make a better society for us all.
You can see our extensive LGBT+ collections online here, along with helpful resources, tailored education sessions and previous LGBT+ exhibitions.”
Rainbow flag. This Pride Flag was the first Rainbow Flag flown above Liverpool Town Hall. It was flown to mark International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT) on 17 May 2009. Liverpool was the first city in the UK to officially mark IDAHOT with a free programme of events.
In 2008 the Liverpool LGBT network began to campaign for an official Pride event in the city, which became more essential following the homophobic murder of Liverpool teenager Michael Causer that year.
IDAHOT 2009 was used to consult with local LGBT+ communities to decide how Pride should work in Liverpool and people were also invited to sign a book of condolence for Michael’s family.
IDAHOT/IDAHOBIT, is now celebrated in over 120 countries worldwide.
EFC Football boots. These Nike football boots were worn by Everton Football Club player, Tyias Browning in 2013 when EFC became the first Premiership club to wear rainbow laces as part of an anti-homophobia campaign.
The special rainbow coloured laces were distributed to all professional football players in the country, by Stonewall who invited players to wear them to raise awareness about homophobia, biphobia and transphobia in sport. 100,000 laces were given out, and the campaign was seen by nearly a third of the UK population.
Both Liverpool and Everton Football Clubs have been extremely supportive of the city’s LGBT+ communities. In 2012, LFC became the first premiership club to be officially represented at a Pride event.
Flyer, ‘Oppose the White Man March. On 15 August 2015, National Action, a far-right group with racist and homophobic views planned to march through Liverpool, claiming that 150 supporters from the UK, Russia, France and Germany would be in attendance. Before attempting to march, the group had written to the Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson, warning that if they were stopped there would be a ‘weekend of ethnically-enriched chaos and mayhem’.
Prior to the march the Anti-Fascist Network, the largest anti-fascist network in the UK, organised a counter march in protest. Supporters were asked to assemble at St Luke’s Church, Liverpool at 11am. Simultaneously, ‘Unite Against Fascism’ also assembled its supporters on William Brown Street and the two groups marched to Lime Street Station where the National Action march was planned to start.
Hundreds supported the protests against National Action forcing the cancellation of their march without them even leaving the station.
Anfield Sign. This was the first sign to be displayed in a Premier League club stadium to combat homophobia. It was installed at Anfield Stadium in 2011 following a request to the club from Paul Amann, founder of Kop Outs, the LGBT Fan Group for Liverpool FC.
Paul tells us more –
“At the first Liverpool Supporters’ Committee I put it to the owners that the club had a responsibility to treat homophobia as seriously as racism in line with the ground regulations. I asked that they use inclusive advice on fan behaviour.
The owner’s agreed to the request and changed stadium announcements that very day. A few months later, the new signage was introduced giving a clear statement of the club’s commitment in treating homophobia seriously”.
The sign was kindly donated to the Museum of Liverpool by Paul in 2017.
Leaflet. ‘Bisexual Promotions proudly present: Live Bisexuals on Stage’, 1989.
Live Bisexuals on Stage was one of a series of performance events around the country to counteract biphobia and positively celebrate bisexuality. Jen Yockney, MBE tells us more –
“In the 1980s and into the 1990s the lesbian and gay press erased bisexuality, and many lesbian and gay organisations barred bi people from using services or from volunteering.
This led to separate bi organising to give bisexuals space and a voice, including books, newsletters/magazines and local support organisations. Liverpool Bi Group and later MerseyBis were short-lived groups in the city, while just up the M62 Manchester’s BiPhoria, established in 1994 is still running today”.
Jen is editor of Bi Community News and convenor of BiPhoria, the UK’s longest-running bisexual community project.
Caroline Paige’s RAF Uniform. “For 39 years I hid my true identity from my family and the military until I couldn’t any longer”, Caroline Paige, 2017.
Flight Lieutenant Caroline Paige proudly wore this uniform from 1999 up until she left the RAF in November 2014 after 35 years distinguished service. It was issued to her when she transitioned, becoming the first openly transgender officer in the British Armed Forces.
Caroline was born in Wallasey on the Wirral in 1959 and enjoyed being a cadet at 472 Squadron in Hoylake.
Later, her service in Iraq and Afghanistan earned her commendations for exceptional service. She now teaches battlefield skills to European military helicopter crews.
Caroline is also a Stonewall School Role Model and public speaker. She shares her story to inspire others and raise awareness of transgender inclusion.
April Ashley MBE, by Tim Walker, 2010. “45 years and four months after I became the woman I wanted to be, I had a piece of paper to prove I really am April Ashley. I feel free at last.”
April Ashley, 2005
April Ashley was born George Jamieson, in Liverpool, 1935. Although identified as male at birth, April always felt and looked like a girl. Childhood was a lonely and traumatic time.
By her early twenties she was finally able to accept and reveal her true identity. In 1960 April was one of the first people in the world to undergo pioneering gender reassignment surgery. She later went on to become a Vogue model and an actress.
April is one of the most famous transgender individuals and a campaigner for transgender equality, especially in relation to the Gender Recognition Act 2004. In 2012 she was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE).
This 2010 portrait, by Tim Walker, was first displayed in the Museum of Liverpool’s exhibition, April Ashley: Portrait of a lady. It was later presented to the Museum on Transgender Day of Remembrance, 2015.