OUTing The Past Is Going International!

Today marks the Launch of the Call for Papers for OUTing The Past 2019. Sue Sanders, founder of LGBT History Month, reflects on the past of the Festival, the current expansion across two continents, and the necessity of future work still left to be done.


I am so excited that from little seeds big trees grow. Back in 2005 when it started, LGBT History Month had a hundred events on the calendar; this year we had over 1500. For the inaugural OUTing the Past Festival in 2015 we had a couple of popular presentation days at the People’s History Museum and the central library Manchester, alongside a small academic conference. In 5 years, we have grown to an intercontinental event, with 18 Festival Hub Partners across the UK and Ireland, Norway, Sweden, and New York!

It is a dream come true and made possible by the phenomenal energy of the OUTing The Past team, all unpaid volunteers who are passionate about getting our history and stories out to the world. Stories about lesbian suffragettes, LGBT participation in football, being transgender in the early-to-mid-1970s, Non-Binary Gender Across Time and Space and so many more. The range of stories is so wide and the people giving them are as varied, from renowned academics to people who have lived experience or who have researched a pet passion. If the last years offerings are anything to go by the Hub Partners will have a rich sources with which to populate their Festival Programme.



As I grew up in the fifties, I knew nothing about the amazing people that make up our communities, how they contributed to our lives through poetry, drama, science, theatre, design, music, politics and so much more. We want the knowledge that OUTing The Past is gathering to be made available to all. 

Through the Festival, on our website, and with our many ready-to-use lesson plans on the classroom, we are continuing to ‘usualise’ LGBT lives and experience across the curriculum and for all ages.

The Festival has also supported theatre, my love, and has birthed 5 original pieces of theatre, which have brought to life lost artefacts of LGBT history, and next year we are planning to do the same. We learn about our history through our hearts as we meet the past actors of our collective history.

So, please get talking and thinking about how you can be involved in OUTIng The Past 2019; we are in difficult times, and we need to be able to: 

Claim our Past
Celebrate our Present
Create our Future


–Sue Sanders
Chair, Schools OUT (UK)
Professor Emeritus, Harvey Milk Institute
Joint-Coordinator, OUTing The Past

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