Proud to Represent LGBTQ+ Lives

Furniture, Textiles & Fashion
June 27, 2016

London saw its first Gay Pride rally in 1972. Since then Pride has developed and grown to become an annual and widely attended event.

First London Gay Pride rally in 1972. Photograph by Brian Hart, part of the Campaign For Homosexual Equality (CHE) archive at Bishopsgate Institute

Last weekend members of the V&A’s LGBTQ Group joined forces with colleagues from the Museums Association, Royal Museums Greenwich, the Natural History Museum, Tate, Horniman Museum & Gardens, the Jewish Museum, London Metropolitan Archives, the National Archives and the Science Museum. Our 150-strong group made history as we officially marched for the first time under the banner (literally!) of UK Museums and Archives.

Just some of the museum, library, archive and gallery colleagues we marched alongside
Just some of the museum, gallery and archive colleagues we marched alongside

Each of us had our own personal reasons for marching but together we wanted to collectively promote museums and archives as LGBTQ-friendly spaces. As the photograph above suggests, it was a fun day and it was lovely to get such positive responses from the crowd as we marched.

To help identify and visually unite the group we decided to don matching t-shirts for the day. Having been volunteered to design them, I suggested letting people to personalise the backs of them to highlight particular objects or individuals related to their collections (or whatever they felt like!). On the day I was delighted to see my basic sketches of a vitrine, a frame and a book appear filled with a variety of creative additions.

How some colleagues from other institutions chose to decorate their t-shirts

Some of our group will explain the reasons for their particular design choices in future blog posts.

Pride 2016 V&A 01
Maggie showing off her patchwork handiwork (you’ll be able to read more about this in a future post)

Thanks to the work of others in the group, we were able to hand out flyers as we marched along. These highlighted aspects of our different collections – a new one on me was the Natural History Museum’s inclusion of Franz Nopcsa von Felső-Szilvás ‘nicknamed the dinosaur baron of Transylvania … a notable historic gay paleontologist’. For the V&A, we opted for the striking Charles James dress, which is on display in Gallery 40.

The specially produced Pride flyer
The specially produced Pride flyer


We have to admit that our friends at Historic Royal Palaces were winners with their humorous banner, which raised a few eyebrows and a lot of smiles
And it was great to receive some enthusiastic feedback on social media too – thank you!


About the author

Furniture, Textiles & Fashion
June 27, 2016

I am an Assistant Curator working on the development of the new Europe 1600-1800 Galleries. My interests are wide-ranging but subjects I have particularly enjoyed exploring for this project include:...

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