LGBT History Month events


We’re excited to announce a week of events run jointly by the Queer London Research Forum, the University of Westminster Staff LGBT network and University of Westminster Student LGBT society, as part of LGBT History Month.


MONDAY 17th February: The Ageing Queer populations of London

(7pm, The Boardroom, 309 Regent Street)

This panel discussion will explore the challenges, opportunities and difficulties facing London’s ageing queer populations. How do older queer populations experience London and how do they read it differently? In part, the event will also consider how soap operas offer a frame through which London’s ageing queer populations might understand the city and its issues. Speakers for the event include Kate Hancock (Opening Doors London), Dr. Nicola Humberstone (Age UK Camden) and two speakers – Sonny van Eden and Matt – from FTM London.

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Kate Hancock is the Women’s Development Coordinator for Opening Doors London and a member of the older LGBT community in London. She has been working with ODL for two years. For many years she worked in therapeutic communities in mental health charities and charities working with people who had been homeless. For most of her adult life she has been involved in feminist and LGBT movements and politics. She will “talk about Opening Doors London, about how the project came about and developed, what we do and the difference we hope to make within the older LGBT community in London. Whilst we aim to reduce social isolation for older LGBT people and increase awareness of the needs of our community, we also aim to have a good time”.

Dr Nicola Humberstone’s PhD, entitled Older People, Sexuality and Soap Opera, was awarded in 2010 by Middlesex University. She is the Patient Experience Co-ordinator for Community Health Services of Barts Health, and a sessional worker for the Age UK Opening Doors Project. Dr. Humberstone will use “textual analysis of key moments in soap operas, and soap opera talk, and propose that soaps are queer spaces for talk about LGBTQ lives and issues and that EastEnders in particular elicits older people’s memories and experiences of queer London”.

Our speakers from FTM London are Sonny van Eden and Matt. Matt is a 39-year-old FTM from Surrey. He teaches guitar for a living, running a small guitar school on the Surrey/Hants/Berks border. His hobbies include martial arts and he has run his own judo and ju jitsu clubs, having competed in judo many years ago up to National level. He used to enjoy scuba diving and is also a fully qualified horse riding instructor. As a teenager he was a Police Cadet (and HATED having to wear a skirt for it!). Matt has known he was transgendered since he was 3 or 4 years old, but only decided to explore the possibilities in July last summer. He made his final decision to transition in August/September, and medically started this process in October and he is loving nearly every minute of this exciting journey. Matt will “explain his experiences from the point of view of being new to the trans scene and how London has played a part in that. He used to infrequently visit London, but now seems to be in London a fair bit for various trans related things (FTM London, meeting other guys, the Port recording, meeting up with the chair person of the Gender Trust).”

Sonny van Eden’s gender identity is currently fluid, however he primarily identifies as a trans guy and has been using testosterone to try to achieve a desired self-identity. He is attempting to create a comfortable personal reflection through the unity of art, science and well-being. Sonny graduated from Central St. Martins School of Art & Design with an MA in 2003 where he fell in love with art and the freedom of expression and questioning this affords. Currently he volunteers for a mental health charity and had a great opportunity to be the lead researcher on England’s first Transgender Health Needs Assessment in Hertfordshire. Sonny will “talk about transitioning as an older guy and his concerns over health care, and touch on how London and the Trans scene has given him a tribe and the space to become himself.”


TUESDAY 18th February: University of Westminster Queer Film Night screens Touch of Pink (2004)

(7pm, New Lecture Theatre, 4-12 Little Titchfield Street, *Please note that this event is in a different building*)

Following a screening of the film described by the New York Post as “a clever and big- hearted gay screwball comedy”, and by the Toronto Star as “a true romantic comedy”, will be a Q&A with the films director Ian Iqbal Rashid.

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Ian Iqbal Rashid’s career began in television, writing for the hit BBC television series This Life, for which he won a Writer’s Guild of England award. After other television work, he went on to write and direct two award winning short films, Surviving Sabu and Stag.

In 2004, Ian wrote and directed his first feature, the British-Canadian co- production, Touch of Pinkwhich premiered at Sundance and was bought by Sony Picture Classics after a heated bidding war. The film won many festival prizes and eventually had a successful theatrical release.

In 2008, Ian directed How She Movea dance film that also premiered at Sundance, and after another bidding war, was bought by Paramount Vantage. The film was nominated for the Sundance World Cinema Grand Jury Prize and eventually opened at number 10 at the US box office.

In 2014 he will direct his own script, American Englisha mother-daughter comedy set between the US and UK. He is also developing the award-winning novel Remedy into a musical for Screen Siren and Aria Films.

On the television side, Ian is developing two series for Sienna Filmsproducers of Touch of Pink and How She Movea half hour comedy, Chutney Chicksand a full hour comedy-drama, Heartfield.

Ian is the author of three volumes of poetry. A fourth will be published in 2015. He and has written stories and series for BBC Radio Four, the most recent of which was the 2011 serial Leaving Normala comedy-drama starring Imelda Staunton and Meera Syal for Women’s Hour. His many awards and prizes include the Aga Khan Award for Excellence in the Arts.

Born in Tanzania, Ian grew up in Canada and now lives in the UK. He has dual British and Canadian nationality and works regularly in both countries.


FRIDAY 21st February: London’s Queer Literatures

(7pm, Room 451, 309 Regent Street )

For this event we will be joined by three writers whose work engages intricately with the relationships between London and queerness, all of who will be reading from their work. We’re excited to welcome Jonathan Kemp (London Triptych, The Penetrated Male Body), Neil McKenna (Fanny and Stella, The Secret Life of Oscar Wilde) and others (tbc).

Jonathan Kemp is a writer & academic. His first novel, London Triptych, won the Authors’ Club Best First Novel Award. His most recent book, The Penetrated Male, is an examination of the representation of the penetrated male body in literature. He teaches at Birkbeck College, University of London.

Award-winning journalist and editor, Neil McKenna has also worked as an editor for Channel 4. Working extensively in the gay press he is known for initiating the campaign for gay law reform in the Isle of Man and leading the fight against Clause 25. He is the author of two ground-breaking books about male homosexuality and AIDS in the developing world: On the Margins (1996) and The Silent Epidemic (1998). His debut biography, The Secret Life of Oscar Wilde, was published to wide acclaim and became a national bestseller.


The reading will be followed by a wine reception.


Places for all the events are free, but limited, and so please register by emailing clearly stating which event you’d like to attend.


These events are running as part of the programme organised for LGBT History Month by the University of Westminster Staff LGBT Network, the University of Westminster Student LGBT Society and the Queer London Research Forum. For a full programme of all University of Westminster events, including 2014 Student Pride which is being hosted by the University of Westminster, please click the link below.


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