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Queer & Indecent

08 September – 12 September 2021

An archival tale of a community pushed to the margins.

Queer & Indecent, an archival exploration of the historical lack of access to public spaces that queer people have faced. Simultaneously, it is a celebration of queer space, community, and expression amidst adversity.

Part of the The Palace International Film Festival (PIFF) 2021 programme hosted at St Anne’s House, Bristol’s LGBTQIA+ film festival experienced through multi-disciplinary performances, workshops and panels from local Bristol and international queer artists, happened at St Anne’s House, Bricks supported by Bristol City Council and Film Hub North and Hub South West.

In 1967, the Sexual Offences Act was brought into legislation, partially decriminalising sex between men (a law previously known as the ‘Buggery Act’, implemented by Henry VIII in 1533).

Despite, or perhaps in spite of this apparent progression, public spaces became more dangerous and hostile for gay people, as remaining anti-gay laws such as the ‘gross indecency’ law of 1885 (which did not receive a full UK repeal until 2013) were policed more aggressively.

Under public order and breach of the peace laws, LGBTQI+ people continued to be arrested for public displays of affection until the 1990s. After the 1967 reform, the number of convictions soared by 300% by 1974, in that year alone. Not long after, hysteria around the AIDS crisis combined with Thatcher’s ‘family values’ campaign manifesting in the likes of Section 28 further aided mass homophobia.

Curated by Kate Fahy

The concept was born from a fascination with ideas around space (especially queer space), and fuelled by anger towards recent legislation that is particularly oppressive towards the trans community; debating and denying access to public spaces and services. I believe that understanding the past gives clarity to the present, and the exhibition really speaks to that.-Kate Fahy