The Let’s Talk About Sex project explored LGBT Foundation’s work in Greater Manchester to de-stigmatise same-sex relationships, challenge myths around HIV and promote safer sex.
Story-sharing was central to the project. Volunteers were trained in oral history recording and helped 45 people record their diverse experiences, now available online.
I remember walking down the road, and these people in the window just shouted “AIDS” at me, and laughed…that makes you feel more terrified than you already are.
Participant Andrew Gilliver's memories of the 1980s
In one film, Andrew Gilliver describes the stigma he faced as a teenager during the 1980s: “Anybody who was perceived to be gay, not only were you a target – because you were perceived as a ‘filthy gay’ spreading this disease – but also, it was a cheap laugh… I remember walking down the road, and these people in the window just shouted “AIDS” at me, and laughed…that makes you feel more terrified than you already are [about HIV/AIDS]."
Nine volunteers helped create a pop-up exhibition to showcase these stories, which also included imagery from sexual health campaigns stored in the Manchester Archives. This travelled to five venues and is available as an online exhibition.
The project created a supportive environment to help people share memories around this under-explored part of LGBTQ+ heritage. In highlighting the historic struggle to counter negative stereotypes, the Foundation continued to widen the conversation about LGBTQ+ rights.