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Warwick Stonewall 50 Celebration

June 2019


28 June 2019 was the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots. We marked the date by holding a range of events to celebrate the past, present, and future of LGBTQUA+ communities - starting on International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, and Transphobia (17 May) and ending on 28 June (the date the Stonewall riots took place in 1969).

Below you will find information on:

See what people were saying about Stonewall 50 on Twitter using #WarwickStonewall50.



Below you'll find a list of all the event which took place for the Stonewall 50 celebration.


'Out on the Shelves' Exhibition

Monday 10 - Friday 28 June
Floor 1, The Library

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots The Library and Modern Records Centre, in collaboration with the Queer History Reading Group, curated a showcase of the LGBTQUA+ lives and voices in the Library's collections from Stonewall onwards. ‘Out on the Shelves’ was available to view on Floor 1, in the main Library from Monday 10th June to Friday 28th June 2019.

On Wednesday 12 June, Wednesday 19 June, and Thursday 27 June 2019 from 12 - 3pm, the Library invited staff and students to join the curators of the ‘Out on the Shelves’ exhibition. Members of the MRC, Library, and Queer History Reading Group were on hand to answer questions, talk about the collections, and hand out freebies. Everyone was welcome to go along and add their voice by sharing their favourite LGBTQUA+ book, film, TV programme, or messages of love and support on the equali-tree!


Jessica Lynn's Trans Awareness Programme and Personal Journey

Friday 17 May
9.30am - 12pm (Trans Awareness Programme) / 1 - 2.30pm (Jessica's Journey)
R0.03, Ramphal

Jessica Lynn is a world-renowned American trans advocate, educator, and activist. Her experiences as a trans woman and parent led her to dedicate her life to spreading awareness and acceptance for gender non-conforming communities around the world. Over the last several years, Jessica has crisscrossed the globe sharing the story of her journey over 750 times in 25 different countries and is now internationally considered one of the foremost trans speakers due to her dynamic, refreshingly honest speaking style.

Jessica’s presentation coveres her transition and assorted issues both legal and ethical involving gender identity, as seen through her perspective as an intersectional advocate. Jessica’s style is an extremely open one, and she leaves no topic off-limits. Pivoting conversations on her audience’s questions and curiosities is the key to her Q&A series.

On International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, and Transphobia (17 May), Jessica came to Warwick to deliver two sessions – a Trans Awareness Programme and a presentation on her journey.

Jessica Lynn’s Trans Awareness Programme (9.30am - 12pm) - Jessica delivered an interactive trans awareness programme whereby participants develoed a level of understanding and knowledge needed to demonstrate social awareness and an understanding of the issues faced by gender non-conforming communities.

Lunch (12 - 1pm) - Staff and students planning to attend the morning and afternoon sessions were both invited to attend the lunch. Even those unable to attend one of the sessions were invited to come along for lunch and network with colleagues and Jessica.

Jessica Lynn’s Journey (1 - 2.30pm) - At the heart of Jessica’s talk is the loss of her son. Railroaded by a Texas judge with a penchant for bigotry, she lost full parental rights to her young son in a local county custody battle in 2013. Curtis, her son, was 12. Twenty-two pages of court-ordered psych evaluations describe Jessica as a loving parent, and every page was thrown out in court by Judge Scott Becker, who ruled not only to remove her parental rights in full, but to smear her name off her son's birth certificate, like a blemish. Jessica is the only parent in American history —a biological parent with a previously active, supportive role in her child's life — to be removed from their child's birth certificate. An inquiry by the Department of Justice said her case would never be reopened, as did a private investigation out of Houston attorney Phyllis Frye's office, which again found her to be wildly discriminated against. Jessica has presented at many of the worlds most esteemed colleges and universities. Some of these schools include Harvard Law, Oxford University, Stanford Law, Cambridge University, Yale Law, University of Birmingham Law, numerous campuses throughout India, South Africa, and many others, orienting students and staff to issues of gender inequality and the trans community.

Feedback from this event:

"It was an amazing, emotional, thought provoking morning and I felt privileged to be able to attend and hear Jessica's personal journey first-hand"

"I thought Jessica was an amazing presenter, really impassioned and open and inspiring. It was an excellent opportunity to engage with trans issues and experiences and learn how to be a better supporter/ally"

"It has also reinforced to me the need for support for and acceptance of trans and gender non-conforming people from a young age"

"This was such an amazing powerful event"


Equali-tea hosted by Physics Postgraduate students

Friday 24 May 2019
3.30 - 4.30pm
P5.64 (Physics common room), Physcis

Tea, coffee, and home-baked cakes for charity. All donations to Stonewall. For more information contact e dot osbourn at warwick dot ac dot uk.


‘Prayers for Bobby’ Film Screening and Panel Discussion on Christianity and the LGBTQUA+ Community

Tuesday 11 June
5.30 - 8pm
R0.12, Ramphal

The intersection of religious and sexual identities have a long history of friction, and a not insignificant legacy of exclusion and damage to individuals, families, and communities. Based on the book by Leroy Aarons, itself a true story, 'Prayers for Bobby' tells the moving account of gay rights champion Mary Griffith, whose teenage son died of suicide as a result of her religious intolerance and prejudice. Following the screening of the film attendees were invited to a panel discussion with three openly gay vicars from the UK & USA, and our own LGBTUA+-affirming Anglican Chaplain, Kate Pearson. The panel reflected on the issues raised in the film and tapped into their experience and wisdom in this delicate arena. There was a drinks reception after the discussion where attendees could mingle and speak to the panel further.

Feedback from this event:

"It was a really comfortable environment and great to hear everyone's view on the topic. The panel discussion at the end was particularly interesting and unique"

"Strong movie. Respectful and inclusive discussion"

"Discussion panel was very interested and prompted some good topics. The panel members were brilliant and really well chosen"


Equali-tea hosted by Tabletop Games & Roleplaying Society

Thursday 13 June 2019
12 noon - 10pm
Science Concourse

Getting a group of people together over a cup of tea is a great way to start conversations (and surely one of our national pastimes?). Whether jasmine, Earl Grey or English Breakfast is your bag, all were welcome to this tea-and-bake sale to raise funds for Stonewall to support their work towards acceptance without exception.


'Queer and Muslim' A Discussion Panel

Thursday 13 June
5 - 6pm
The Wolfson Research Exchange

The recent episode in Birmingham schools over the teaching of LGBTQUA+ issues has brought to light the sharp disconnect between mainstream gay rights discourse and Muslim (but also other minority) diasporas in Britain. This roundtable - comprising of queer Muslim organisations and commentators - considered how our politics and pedagogic practices can help bridge this gap, without stigmatising entire communities as 'backward' or undesirable. The panel discussed why it is necessary to foreground queer Muslim movements, struggles and discourses in this debate so as to create a dialectic that can mediate the traffic between their queerness and the specificities of their faith. The event engaged various aspects of queer Muslim discourses: reflecting on their identities, plural histories and ways to negotiate their marginality. Through what means, resources and struggles can such dialectics be harnessed and dispersed - and how can the government, schools, universities and other civil society formations play a critical role in empowering such practices - while being attendant to the intersections of community, immigration and rhetoric of rights that surround it.


Moderator: Amal Malik (History, Warwick).

Feedback from this event:

"The speakers were both excellent, and the facilitator made was very good in their role. The event itself was informal, very inclusive and a very welcoming space, particularly impressive as there were so many difficult and potentially triggering or traumatic things to discuss"

"The environment was so relaxed but equally driven by serious passion and information. I think both speakers did a wonderful job or communicating with the whole room and finding the perfect balance of historical information and personal experience"


The Wizard of Oz

Wednesday 12 - Sunday 16 June 2019
Warwick Arts Centre

Three Spires Guildhall’s latest production, The Wizard of Oz, is a fun-filled family musical full of humour, sentiment and is jam-packed with well-known songs!

Also, see the section on language for more on being a 'friend of Dorothy'.


'Worlding Queerness in Asia' Film Screening

Monday 17 June 2019
5 - 7pm
A0.23, Social Sciences

Celebrating the 50th anniversary of Stonewall, the Queer History Reading Group at Warwick and 'Queer' Asia brought for the very first time to the Midlands a collection of short films focusing on the love, celebrations, and struggles of queer identifying people from Asia and its diasporas. From experimental film to the docufiction, this event was a powerful evening of films that transgressed borders, exposed oppression, and challenged the ways in which we rethink family, love, longing, and desires.


  • A Letter To The Person I Have Met On Tinder (Dir. James Fajardo)
  • Embodiment (Dir. Edwige Pezzulli, Giulia Prizzitano)
  • Chudala (Dir. Maaria Sayed)
  • Balance (Dir. David Thé)
  • A Wonderful Affair (Dir. Tahir Ün)
  • From AM to PM (A Look into Ishaq's Life) (Dir. Alizeb Raees)

Curated by: Dr J. Daniel Luther (Warwick)

As film increasingly dominates the visions of life and being in the world, this panel follows from the seminal work of Dr. Karl Schoonover in Queer Cinema in the World to discuss the ways in which film is bringing into conception queer worlds across Asia and its diasporas. Imagining new ways of being, thinking, and articulating desires and longing, love and struggle, and the violence that is imposed on ways of being queer in the world.


Gendered Intelligence 'Introduction to Trans Awareness' Training

Wednesday 19 June 2019
9am - 12.30pm or 1 - 4.30pm
OC1.07, Oculus

‘Introduction to Trans Awareness’ is an entry-level session that introduces the key information people need to know to support trans colleagues or to work with trans students delivered by Gendered Intelligence.

The session was based around interactive exercises, encouraging participants to get involved in thinking through what trans means and ways to achieve equality and inclusivity in practice.

The session is useful in one or more of the following circumstances:

  • The organisation is committed to equality, but has had little or no contact with trans people and wants to increase understanding of trans issues.
  • People want to develop more confidence about working with trans colleagues, clients or pupils.
  • The organisation would like to make sure everyone has the same core knowledge and understanding of trans issues.

At the end of the session, delegates have:

  • An appreciation of how sex, gender and sexual orientation interact.
  • Improved understanding of trans identities, terms and language.
  • A basic grounding in the key laws relating to trans people.
  • Increased awareness of trans issues and ways to be trans inclusive.
  • Increased confidence in working with trans colleagues/clients/students.
  • Information about helpful resources.

Feedback from this event:

"This was a really excellent, informative and challenging session"

"Really enjoyable, learnt a lot, great presenter"

"Very good space for discussion and given useful information to go away with which is useful to share with my colleagues"


The Stonewall Riots and the Legacy of Marsha P Johnson (Dr Michell Chresfield)

Wednesday 19 June 2019
5 - 6.30pm
OC1.07, Oculus

Trans pioneer Marsha P Johnson is perhaps one of the most well-known but misremembered figures within the Stonewall Riots. Though there have been several cinematic portrayals of Stonewall , Marsha has most often appeared as a supporting figure if at all, a move that has led to accusations of whitewashing and erasure. This talk treated the debates surrounding the cinematic depictions of Marsha P Johnson and the Stonewall Riots as an opportunity to rethink Marsha’s legacy within the riots as well as within the broader movement for gay liberation.

Feedback from this event:

"The interaction and discussion as well as Dr Chresfield's interesting perspective"

"It was very informative and the speaker knew a lot about the topic. It was engaging and relevant"


'English Family Law and the LGBTQUA+ community: How far have we come?' plus legal information drop-in

Friday 28 June 2019
1.30 - 3.30pm (talk from 1.30 - 2pm, legal information drop-in from 2 - 3.30pm)
R1.03, Ramphal

Dr Maebh Harding delivered a talk titled 'English Family Law and the LGBTQUA+ community: How far have we come?', providing a brief overview of the issues and the key legal victories over the last 15 years. There was also then the opportunity to drop-in and ask Dr Harding for legal information on an individual basis (please note that Dr Harding is not currently a practising solicitor and as such is not insured to give legal advice, she did however provide legal information and signpost to appropriate resources).

More information about Dr Maebh Harding:

Dr Harding is an Associate Professor in the School of Law she has been teaching English Family Law for over 10 years and is co-author of the leading family law textbook ‘Probert and Cretney’s Principles of Family Law’.

Her research interests revolve around Family and Child Law, Conflicts of Law with a focus on cross border family issues, and Legal History.

Feedback from this event:

"Really interesting and informative talk, Maebh is an engaging speaker and clearly incredibly knowledgeable on this subject"

"The legal advice drop-in was really valuable, I came in with a specific question which I now have an answer to! I feel reassured and she signposted me to some useful additional resources to help me with my issue"


Cruising Utopia: Queer Pedagogies in Higher Education

5 July 2019
2 - 4.30pm
Humanities Studio

IATL is excited to launch their Open Space Learning (OSL) tenth anniversary event series. Over the next two years a series of workshops will celebrate the first decade of IATL at Warwick in 2020, and look ahead to exciting opportunities afforded by Coventry as City of Culture in 2021.

The first workshop of the series, Cruising Utopia: Queer Pedagogies in Higher Education took place on 5 July 2019 in the Humanities Studio.

Email Nese Ceren Tosun for more information N dot Tosun at warwick dot ac dot uk.


LGBTQUA+ History

The Stonewall riots (28 June 1969)

The Stonewall riots were a series of spontaneous demonstrations by members of the LGBTQUA+ community against a police raid that took place in the early morning hours of 28 June 1969 at the Stonewall Inn in New York City.

"On June 28th, 1969, the patrons of the Stonewall Inn fought back against what had become regular, tolerated, city sanctioned harassment by the police department. For the first time in history Gay people refused to accept the status quo of oppression and stood up for themselves and, ultimately, the global Gay community. The Stonewall Inn, and the rebellion here, became the iconic flashpoint that sparked the long, uphill battle towards equality for all members of the Gay community. Often referred to as the “Rosa Parks moment” in Gay history the Stonewall rebellion paved the way for future members of the community to not accept treatment as second-class citizens but rather to expect that the LGBT community be treated as equals in the eyes of both the government and society at large"

Source: The Birthplace (The Stonewall Inn).


Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz (c. late 1600s) letters to Vicereine Maria Luisa de la Paredes

But, [Maria Luisa], why go on?
For yourself alone I love you.
Considering your merits,
what more is there to say?
That you’re a woman far away
is no hindrance to my love:
for the soul, as you well know,
distance and sex don’t count

Can you wonder my love sought you out?
Why need I stress that I’m true,
when every one of your features
betokens my enslavement?

Source: Sapphistries: A Global History of Love Between Women (Leila J. Rupp).


Jalal al-Din Rumi

"Jalal al-Din Rumi was a poet, theologian and Sufi mystic.

Rumi was married and had one son. After his wife’s death, he remarried and fathered two more children. In 1244, Rumi met a man who changed his life. Shams of Tabriz was an older Sufi master who became Rumi’s spiritual mentor and constant companion. After Shams died, Rumi grieved for years. He began expressing his love and bereavement in poetry, music and dance.

Rumi had two other male companions, but none would replace his beloved Shams. One of Rumi’s major poetic works is named in honor of his master, "The Works of Shams of Tabriz." Rumi’s best-known work is "Spiritual Couplets," a six-volume poem often referred to as the greatest work of mystical poetry.

In 'Rumi: The Book of Love Poems of Ecstasy and Longing', Rumi expresses his perception of true love. 'Lovers don’t finally meet somewhere. They’re in each other all along'"

Source: Jalal al-Din Rumi Biography (LGBT History Month).


Roberta Cowell

Roberta Cowell is the first known British trans woman to undergo reassignment surgery in 1951.

Roberta Cowell was a racing driver and World War II fighter pilot. She was born in Croydon and studied engineering at University College London (UCL).

She underwent a secret procedure in order to get a certificate stating that she was intersex. This enabled her to undergo surgery and get a new birth certificate.


Marsha P Johnson

Marsha P. Johnson was an American gay liberation activist and self-identified drag queen. Known as an outspoken advocate for gay rights, Johnson was one of the prominent figures in the Stonewall uprising of 1969. A founding member of the Gay Liberation Front, Johnson co-founded the gay and trans advocacy organization S.T.A.R. (Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries). A popular figure in New York City's gay and art scene, Johnson modelled for Andy Warhol, and performed onstage with the drag performance troupe, Hot Peaches. Known for decades as a welcoming presence in the streets of Greenwich Village, Johnson was known as the "mayor of Christopher Street“ (the street that the Stonewall Inn is on). From 1987 through 1992, Johnson was an AIDS activist with ACT UP.


LGBTQUA+ language

Friend of Dorothy

The expression 'friend of Dorothy' has been used as slang for gay men since at least the Second World War. The origin of the term is not known for certain, but it is thought to most likely derive from the Oz books by L. Frank Baum, which centre around a young girl called Dorothy. In 'The Road to Oz' when Polychrome (the daughter of the Rainbow) meets Dorothy she says "You have some queer friends, Dorothy", to which Dorothy replies "The queerness doesn't matter, so long as they're friends".

Source: So What Does It Mean to Be a 'Friend of Dorothy?' (Pride).


"Until 1967, homosexual sex was illegal in England and Wales. To avoid imprisonment, gay men used Polari, a language that the Oxford English Dictionary says is “made up of Italianate phrases, rhyming slang and cant terms.” It had sprung up in the 1700s and 1800s as a secret language vagrants, itinerant performers, sailors and “gypsies” – many of its words, in fact, derive from the Romany people scattered across Europe".

You can see a list of polari words here - take a bona vada!

Source: Polari: The code language gay men used to survive (BBC Culture); The secret language of polari (National Museums Liverpool).

The Hanky Code

"The Hanky Code is a traditional form of signalling to others what your sexual preferences and interests are. Gay men used this code to communicate with each other in the noisy and distracting environment of gay bars".

Source: The Hanky Code (The Closet Professor).


Violets and the colour purple have often been used as a code between women who love women. In the 20th Century lesbian and bisexual women gave each other violets to indicate their romantic feelings. The symbolism of the flower derives from the poem 'No Word' by Sappho, in which she describes a lover wearing tiaras of violets:

If you forget me, think
of our gifts to Aphrodite
and all the loveliness that we shared

all the violet tiaras,
braided rosebuds, dill and
crocus twined around your young neck



We've curated a list of resources we will help you learn more about LGBTQUA+ History.


LGBTQUA+ Safe Space

Throughout Term 1 and 2 of academic year 2019/20, the Flexi-Grid in the Rootes Building is booked out as a safe space for LGBTQUA+ communities every Monday from 9am - 10pm. Use this space to meet others, hold society meetings, or just for a bit of quiet space.


Stonewall 50 reading list

The Library in collaboration with the Rainbow Taskforce , has put together a reading list which showcases just some of the Library resources available and highlights a selection of the books, articles, and films which were and continue to be influential in the formation of LGBTQUA+ culture, identity, and movements.

The list is not comprehensive, and you can help to include a wider range of voices on the Library's shelves by sending in suggestions of materials which are missing, resources which might be useful, or literature and films which have personal significance. Email or submit a book suggestion form.

You can find the Stonewall 50 reading list here.



One From the Vaults by Morgan M Page

A trans history podcast bringing you all the dirt, gossip, and glamour from trans history!


NB by Caitlin Benedict & Amrou Al-Kadhi for the BBC

You might have heard the term non-binary. This is how it feels. Join Caitlin and Amrou as they ask the big questions about gender & identity.


Prejudice and Pride by Clare Balding for the National Trust

A six-part podcast series presented by broadcaster and author Clare Balding, which explores the lost and hidden LGBTQ stories from collections, gardens and landscapes the National Trust cares for. Published to mark the 50th anniversary of the partial de-criminalisation of homosexuality.


Making Gay History by Eric Marcus

Intimate, personal portraits of both known and long-forgotten champions, heroes, and witnesses to history brought to you from rare archival interviews.


History is Gay by Gretchen Ellis and Leigh Pfeffer
History is Gay is a twice-monthly podcast where two queer nerds use their passion for social justice, history, and storytelling to examine the overlooked and underappreciated queer ladies, gents, and gentle-enbies from the unexplored corners of history. Because history has never been as straight as you think.


On Being Different: What It Means to Be a Homosexual by Merle Miller

Originally published in 1971, On Being Different is a pioneering and thought-provoking book about being homosexual in America. Just two years after the Stonewall riots, Miller wrote an essay for the New York Times Magazine entitled "What It Means To Be a Homosexual" in response to a homophobic article in Harper's Magazine. Miller's writing, described as "the most widely read and discussed essay of the decade," along with an afterword chronicling his inspiration and readers' responses, became On Being Different — one of the earliest memoirs to affirm the importance of coming out.


Sapphistries: A Global History of Love Between Women by Leila J. Rupp

From the ancient poet Sappho to tombois in contemporary Indonesia, women throughout history and around the globe have desired, loved, and had sex with other women. In beautiful prose, Sapphistries tells their stories, capturing the multitude of ways that diverse societies have shaped female same-sex sexuality across time and place.


Orlando by Virginia Woolf

'The longest and most charming love letter in literature', this book playfully constructs the figure of Orlando as the fictional embodiment of Woolf's close friend and lover, Vita Sackville-West.


Trans Britain: Our Journey From the Shadows by Christine Burns

Over the last five years, trans people have seemed to burst into the public eye: Time declared 2014 a 'trans tipping point', while American Vogue named 2015 'the year of trans visibility'. This apparently overnight emergence, though, is just the latest stage in a long and varied history. Trans Britain chronicles this journey in the words of those who were there to witness a marginalised community grow into the visible phenomenon we recognise today.


Queer History Reading Group

The purpose of this reading group is to provide a forum for scholars – at all stages of their careers and representing a variety of self-defined identities – to discuss queer history in an intellectually rigorous but supportive context. It will do this through a series of grouped and thematic readings dealing with LGBTQUA+ history, theory as well as approaches and pitfalls to its writing.


Paris is Burning

A chronicle of New York's drag scene in the 1980s, focusing on balls, voguing and the ambitions and dreams of those who gave the era its warmth and vitality.


Love, Simon

Simon Spier keeps a huge secret from his family, his friends and all of his classmates: he's gay. When that secret is threatened, Simon must face everyone and come to terms with his identity.



U.K. gay activists work to help miners during their lengthy strike of the National Union of Mineworkers in the summer of 1984.




PinkNews covers politics, entertainment, religion and community news for the gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans community in the UK and worldwide.


This Way Out

This Way Out is the only internationally distributed weekly LGBTQ radio program, currently airing on some 200 local community radio stations around the world. The award-winning half-hour magazine-style program features a summary of some of the major news events in or affecting the queer community (NewsWrap), in-depth coverage of major events, interviews with key queer figures, plus music, literature, entertainment — all the information and culture of a community on the move!



Nuala Devenny, The Rainbow Project Stonewall and Me; My Journey to where the revolution began

Garance Franke-Ruta, The Atlantic (24 January 2013) An Amazing 1969 Account of the Stonewall Uprising

American Experience Stonewall Inn: Through the Years

myGwork Why LGBT-Inclusive Education Matters



Channel 4 (June 2017) Raised By Queers: Kieron Richardson Becomes A Parent!

Actor and gay dad Kieron Richardson explores same-sex parenting and introduces his twins.


BBC Three (May 2017) Queer Britain

Presented by YouTuber and journalist Riyadh Khalaf, Queer Britain gets under the skin of queer culture and shines a light on the challenges faced by the LGBTQ+ community.

You may also be interested in:

ED&I Newsletter

Staff Networks - including LGBTQUA+ Staff Network

Policies - including the Trans and Gender Reassignment Policy

LGBTQUA+ Initiatives - including Trans Web Portal and pronoun badges

Taskforces and SIC - including the Rainbow Taskforce

Charters - including Stonewall UK Workplace Equality Index (LGBTQUA+ equality benchmarking exercise)

Attending an event in a building you're not familiar with? Find the location of gender-neutral toilets on campus here.