OUTing the Past Review: Belfast

The Belfast Hub was co-ordinated and organised by Declan and colleagues at Cara-Friend and everything seemed to run so smoothly from their great office set up in the LGBT Centre.

The proceedings started with a civic reception at Belfast City Hall on Friday 16th February.  Over 200 guests assembled in the magnificent rotunda to the sounds of the Belfast Ukulele Jam for drinks. This was efficiently followed by speeches welcoming everyone to the historic occasion by the Lord Mayor Nula McAlistair. Then a speech from myself- outlining the reasons for Schools OUT UK and how we want to usualise the existence of LGBT people in society, people who have very often been forgotten or erased from communities history. We listened to the Belfast Gay Choir and 2 further amusing speeches from politicians of significant standing in the country and final words from Declan of Cara-Friend.

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Saturday at the Ulster Museum:

The day got off to a great start at 10am with over 100 people listening to LGBT History presentations throughout the day. There were 11 varied and interesting presentations in total including: Brian Lacey, author of Terrible Queer Creatures- Homosexuality in Irish History; Tracey, Co-chair of the LGBT Police Federation, Paul with a film of the Police Force of NI marching in this years Pride in Belfast for the first time ever; A presentation from Oswestry about the love letters between the 2 gay soldiers; and another by Orla Egan on the Queer republic of Cork; Our own Jeff Evans on political events and shenanigans in 1980’s Belfast, and Kate with a presentation on the representation of Trans in the media over the last 20-30 years. The majority of the audience stayed for the whole day, for all the presentations and all were enthralled and wanted more next year.

Overall a great event that was enjoyed by all and gave everyone reason to think about LGBT History in a very positive and entertaining way.

Many thanks Belfast and here’s looking to expand in other Irish Hubs next year!!

Steve Boyce
Schools OUT (UK)


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