This weekend marks the end of our inaugural LGBT+ season celebrating the many great heritage projects, community groups and organisations we’ve funded over the past 25 years.
It has been a privilege to be involved in this inaugural season and to play a small part in The National Lottery Heritage Fund’s support for LGBT+ heritage.
Marginalised people should be given the chance to rewrite and problematise our existing understanding of heritage.
- Lesley Wood and David Sheppeard
The season was timed to coincide with Pride events throughout the UK, and to celebrate 50 years since the Stonewall riots in New York.
It is also a representation of our commitment that the National Lottery players’ money we invest ensures that a wider range of people will be involved in heritage.
Rewriting our understanding of heritage
I hope that like me, you’ve been inspired by some of the incredible stories we’ve shared over the past two months.
Even more, I hope that you’ll be inspired to bring your project forward for support.
What has struck me the most has been the range of voices we’ve heard. Hearing from marginalised groups directly, especially minorities within minorities, is so vital.
I thought it was summed up brilliantly by Lesley Wood and David Sheppeard, two LGBT+ sector leaders collaborating on the National Lottery-funded Building Brighton LGBTQ+ Heritage. They said: “Marginalised people should be given the chance to rewrite and problematise our existing understanding of heritage, even if this makes the sector or institutions feel uncomfortable at times.
“It shouldn't be about trying to fit marginalised people into existing historical paradigms and ideas – the sector can be braver and more radical, because this is what needs to happen if history is going reflect anything like reality.”
Supporting our LGBT+ heritage community
In my opening blog I talked about the importance of the intersection between inclusion and heritage and how our past is critical to our sense of identity and belonging today.
This notion has been brought to life by our brilliant contributors – people who have played a part not just in enriching our heritage, but in literally making history.
We’re looking forward to continuing to support them and the LGBT+ heroes of the future.
Given that the LGBT+ rights movement was kickstarted 50 years ago by a group of black trans women and drag queens at the Stonewall Inn, it seems fitting that our next inclusion focus will explore black and minority ethnic (BAME) heritage.
I’m excited that in a few weeks’ time we’ll be celebrating Black History Month and making the case for why BAME inclusion is so important to the future of heritage. And equally, how heritage can help deliver a more inclusive world for us all.