Equality activities and events

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Black History Month

British East and South East Asian Heritage Month

LGBTQ History Month

Black History Month - October 2021

 Black History Month October 2021 main artwork

The Council is marking Black History Month in 2021 in partnership with Cambridge City Council, with the support of a range of individuals and community groups, to help our colleagues and residents learn more about Black history and culture.

You can also find content on Capturing Cambridge.

This web page will be updated throughout the month. 


Preserving the legacy of the Windrush Generation with Patrick Vernon, OBEGraphic showing information about the Preserving the legacy of the Windrush Generation event

This event took place on Monday 4 October 2021 | 6pm to 7:30pm 

The Windrush Generation - people arriving in the UK between 1948 and 1971 from Caribbean countries - came at the request of the British government to help rebuild a broken Britain after World War II. 'Windrush' refers to the ship MV Empire Windrush, which docked at Tilbury (Essex) on 22 June 1948, bringing workers from Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and other islands to help fill post-war labour shortages. After 10 years of campaigning by Patrick and others, a national Windrush Day was adopted on 22 June 2019, to preserve the legacy of the Windrush Generation.


Graphic showing information about event with the Cambridge African NetworkCambridge African Network event artworkLife in the UK: our stories unfold with the Cambridge African Network

Thursday 14 October 2021 | 6pm

A panel comprised of Cambridgeshire's African community members will discuss their personal and family stories of life and coming to/living in Cambridgeshire and the UK. 

The Cambridge African Network is a charity promoting social inclusion and the integration of the African community in the multicultural society of Cambridgeshire.  

A recording will be made available. 


'Dream of a King' - a recorded play and Q&A by Chris TajahGraphic showing information about the 'Dream of a King' event

Available on Saturday 16 and Saturday 23 October 2021 5.30pm-9.30pm

A play set on 4 April 1968 in a Tennessee motel room, four years after Dr Martin Luther King Jr. received the Nobel Peace Prize for his dynamic leadership of The Civil Rights Movement, on the day he was assassinated. This new solo play explores the extraordinary man behind the legend. 

Link to film

Password: Dr3amTa7ah

Link to Q&A

Password: Dre4m7ajah


Seeds of Change event information Mbeu Yosintha (Seeds of Change)

Sunday 24 October 2021 | 4pm

We will be joined on Zoom by some of the young people in Malawi who worked on, and acted in, the film Mbeu Yosintha (Seeds of Change), to talk about life in Malawi and what the film means to them. Mbeu Yosintha was made to help farmers and rural communities cope with the effects of climate change and, in particular, the ever changing rain patterns in South East Africa. The film has already been seen in Malawi by over 10,000 people in rural areas using a pedal-power cinema kit.

The film will be live streamed and followed by a Q&A. 

Join the event

A recording of the film is also available to watch here


The Moors in Europe and Great Britain with Dr. Carol Brown-Leonardi Graphic showing information about the event on Moors

Friday 29 October 2021 | 12 noon

Taking us back to the Early Modern period, Dr Carol Brown-Leonardi, Associate Lecturer in Social Science at the Open University, will consider the reign of Europeans of North African descent (between the year 711 and 1492 AD). 

Join the Zoom webinar.


What's going on in Cambridgeshire?

Cambridge African Network individual event art

HCG - House meets Gospel live music show (Fri 1 October, 7pm, The Junction, Clifton Way)

Women’s Voices For Africa Exhibition and Evening Event - with music from Afro Tema, fashion, food and more (Sat 2 October, 12 noon-5pm (exhibition) 6pm-11pm (evening event), Storey’s Field Centre, Eddington) 

Complicité and Fehinti Balogun: Can I Live? - A hip-hop and spoken word exploration of environmental activism (Mon 18-Sun 24 October, 7.30pm) 

Cambridge African Network: family day event and evening gala - information on the left poster (Sat 30 October, 12 noon-4pm (day event) 6pm-11pm (evening event), Storey's Field Centre Eddington)

Loyiso Gola: Pop Culture - stand up live comedy (Sat 30 October, 8pm, Cambridge Junction, Clifton Way) 

Fiston Lusambo – Online world music workshop with Congolese guitarist (Wed 3 November, 7pm-8pm) 

Kill the Cop Inside Your Head – live spoken word and performance art by Subira Joy (Fri 5 November, 7.30pm, Cambridge Junction, Clifton Way) 

Some of the Black Britons who shaped British History 

Image of Dame Jocelyn BarrowDame Jocelyn Barrow

Dame Jocelyn dedicated her life to fighting racial equality in the UK. She was a founding member and General Secretary of CARD (Campaign Against Racial Discrimination), the organisation responsible for the Race Relations Act 1965 and its amendment in 1968. This, for the first time, made racial discrimination illegal in Britain.

She was the first black female Governor of the BBC and the Parole Board, as well as Founder and Deputy Chair of the Broadcasting Standards Council. Her equal opportunities and educational expertise is reflected in her many Government appointments to a variety of organisations where she was an important black presence.

She was also Governor of the Commonwealth Institute for eight years, Council Member of Goldsmith's College, University of London, Vice-president of the United Nations Association in the UK and Northern Ireland and Trustee to the Irene Taylor Trust providing Music in Prisons.

As well as this, she was National Vice-President of the Townswomen's Guild and was instrumental in the establishment of the North Atlantic Slavery Gallery and the Maritime Museum in Liverpool. She was a Trustee of the National Museums and Galleries on Merseyside and a Governor of the British Film Institute.

In 1972 she was awarded the OBE for work in the field of education and community relations. In 1992 she received the DBE for her work in broadcasting and her contribution to the work of the European Union as the UK Member of the Social Economic Committee.

This is only some of Dame Joselyn's work that made huge changes to British history.

100 Great Black Britons

The Guardian

Black Cultural Archives

Olaudah EquianoImage of Olaudah Equiano

Born in southern Nigeria, Olaudah Equiano was kidnapped aged 11 and sold to a Royal Navy Officer, Lieutenant Michael Pascal, who renamed him Gustavus Vassa. Equiano travelled the seas with Pascal for eight years, during which time he learned to read and write.

He was sold again to a ship captain. Equiano was able to earn money by trading on the side which allowed him to buy his freedom in 1766 where he then spent much of the next 20 years travelling. In 1786 he become part of the abolitionist group ‘The Sons of Africa’, considered to be Britain’s first black political organisation, which campaigned to end African slavery.

In 1789, Cambridge University Press published Olaudah Equiano’s autobiography ‘The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano’, which depicted the horrors of slavery. The book became a best-seller, aiding the abolitionist cause.

In 1792 Equiano married Susannah Cullen and they made their home in Soham, Cambridgeshire. They went on to have two daughters – Anna Maria (born October 1793) and Joanna (born April 1795). Susannah died in February 1796 and was buried in Soham – her gravestone states ‘Susannah Vassa, wife of Gustavus the African, aged 34 years’. Equiano died a year after in March 1797, his burial place is not known. Anna Maria then died aged four and is buried at St. Andrew’s Church in Chesterton. There is a memorial to her on the church wall which reads:

Near this Places lies Interred


Daughter of Gustavus Vassa, the African

She died July 21 1797 aged 4 years

Capturing Cambridge

The Guardian



Image of Mary SeacoleMary Seacole

Born in Jamaica in 1805 to a Scottish soldier and Jamaican mother, Mary Seacole had to overcome many prejudices in her life. Seacole and her family had few civil rights - they could not vote, hold public office or enter the professions.

In 1854, Seacole travelled to Britain and approached the War Office, who declined her request to enter the Crimea as a war nurse. So she funded her way there and established the 'British Hotel' near Balaclava to help look after the sick and wounded soldiers. She also visited the battlefield, sometimes under fire, to nurse the wounded. Here she became known as 'Mother Seacole'.

As her reputation at the time rivalled that of Florence Nightingale, her work in nursing was mostly forgotten for almost a century after her death.

Her memoirs, published in 1857, would be the first written by a black woman in Britain.

National Geographic



Black British Activists:


Akala is a BAFTA and MOBO award-winning hip hop artist, writer, poet, activist and historian. Recently he has been known for his lecturers, seminars, journalism, TV presenting and script writing - gaining him the reputation as one of the most dynamic and literate talents in the UK.

In 2009, Akala launched 'The Hip-hop Shakespeare Company', a music theatre production company which has sparked worldwide media interest since its inception - with previous clients and collaborators including the BBC, Premier League, Sir Ian McKellen, Ed Sheeran, Lady Leshurr and more.

Akala and his manager went on to co-found Immovable Limited in 2015 - a creative publishing hub producing creative content across music, books and TV. Their 2018 adaptation of Akala's graphic novel/poem 'The Ruins of Empire' was produced for the BBC. This follows the course of mans evolution, via astral travel and multiple reincarnations, in an attempt to discover the cause of the rise and fall of empires.

Akala's 2018 published memoir NATIVES is a Sunday Times bestseller, covering everything from the police, education and identify politics to confronting issues of race and class that are at the heart of the legacy of Britain's racialised empire.


Speakers Corner


BBC Performance Live - Akala Presents: The Ruins of Empire

Alice Kinloch:

Alice Kinloch was a South African activist who came to Britain in the late 1890s and helped to found the African Association, although that is usually credited to a man called Henry Sylvester-Williams. The African Association convened the first Pan-African Conference, held in London in 1900. This was the first major event to use the term pan-African and to gather people from all over the diaspora to speak with one voice

Kinloch has been written out of history, and not much is known about her. There is not even any photographic record of her available. However, she played a leading role at the time when few African woman were active in politics or elsewhere.


The Guardian - Alice Kinloch

The Black Plaque Project

Darcus HoweDarcus Howe

Darcus Howe (1943-2017) was a writer, broadcaster and activist who was outspoken in promoting black self-determination.

After his initial experience of racial tension in Britain at the start of the 1960s, Howe became active in the Black Power movement in the US and the Caribbean. On his return to the UK in August 1970, Howe co-founded the British Black Panthers with Althea Jones-Lecointe, a campaign in defence of the Mangrove restaurant founded and run by Frank Crinchlow. The Mangrove was a small piece of decolonised territory in Notting Hill. When the police attempted to close it, Howe organised a march. Although peaceful, this resulted in the biggest Black Power trial in British history.

For 55 days Howe and Jones-Lecointe led the defence of the Mangrove nine - themselves, Crinchlow and six others. Against the combined forces of the Special Branch, the Metropolitan Police, the judiciary and Home Office, the nine won their acquittal but also forced the first judicial acknowledgement that there was "evidence of hatred on both sides".

This was only the beginning for Darcus Howe. Read more about him in the sources below.


The Guardian

BBC - Darcus Howe

BBC - Mangrove Nine

Information on an online event on Darcus Howe - a talk by Leila Hassan-Howe on 4th November 2021.

Our 2021 Sporting Heroes 

2021 has been a big year for sport - what with the Euros, Olympics and Paralympics in Tokyo, as well as the 39% viewership increase of Formula 1 events. Here are some key people. 

Image of Kare AdeneganKare Adenegan | Paralympian

A twenty-year-old British paralympian from Coventry who specialises in wheelchair racing.

Kare Adenegan took up the sport in 2012, after feeling inspired by the London Olympic Games, to then only make her debut three years later at the 2015 World Championships in Doha, Qatar. In 2018, she set a world record in the T34 100m in 2018 and then went on to win the 2018 BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year award. At the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics, she won silver in both the women's 100m T34 and 800m T34.

In 2020, Adenegan spoke about representation in Paralympic sport - talking about how only twenty athletics defined themselves as either Black, Asian or minority ethnic out of 264 at Rio 2016. She noted that she found it difficult to know whether the experiences she has had as a female black disabled athlete are because of racism, sexism or ableism. She has also raised awareness of how high percentages of young people from ethnic minority backgrounds are likely to drop-out of sport and that there can be financial barriers stopping minority communities from funding Para sport. She hopes to inspire more BAME Para athletes to join teams.

Adenegan has previously run an Instagram Live series on Race and Disability.



Disability Horizons


Marcus Rashford | Footballer and activist Image of Marcus Rashford

Listen to BBC Radio 4's profile on Marcus Rashford

Marcus Rashford is both an English footballer and activist, who has achieved a fair amount for just twenty three. Born in Manchester, he is of Kittitian descent as his grandmother was born on the West Indies island of Saint Kitts. Rashford campaigns against racism, homelessness and has made tackling food poverty in Britain one of the key issues of the Covid-19 pandemic, raising huge awareness and money for the issue via the FareShare charity.

In 2020, Rashford was in the headlines for single-handedly calling on ministers to offer a guranteed 'meal a day' to all school pupils in England in financially struggling families. He recalls his own hardships during his school days in South Manchester, having received free school meals himself. His activism resulted in two government U-turns on the issue. Decisions which supported thousands of this county's vulnerable young people. He also used his own Twitter account to promote cafes, individual people, charities and local businesses offering support to FareShare to help the impoverished around the country. This does not even cover everything Marcus Rashford achieved during 2020/21 alone.

In the delayed 2020 Queen's Birthday Honours List, he was made an MBE in recognition of his services for vulnerable children during the pandemic.


Black History Month - Marcus Rashford

Manchester United


Image of Sir Lewis Hamilton Sir Lewis Hamilton | Formula 1 driver

Listen to BBC Radio 4's profile on Lewis Hamilton

The first black Formula 1 driver, ever. There are interviews of Hamilton as a child where we talks about experiencing racial abuse as a child but that he would ignore them then beat them on the track.

Over the years he has put pressure on the motorsport industry to make bigger steps in equality and diversity. He has openly critised them for not doing enough, not just due to underrepresentation in the driver pool but also those who work in the garages and as engineers in the factories. In particular, after reviewing the lack of diversity within the end of season photo in 2019, he formed the Hamilton Commission alongside The Royal Academy of Engineering, in the hopes to improve representation of Black people in UK motorsport but understanding the specific barriers to recruitment and progression.

In July 2021, Hamilton made a personal pledge of £20 million to new charity Mission 44 - a charity committed to creating opportunities for young people from under-represented backgrounds by "supporting organisations and programmes that narrow the gap in employment and education systems, through partnerships, collaborations, grant giving and advocacy". He particularly wanted to provide more opportunities for young people hoping to make a career in motorsport.

Outside of Formula 1, Hamilton offered young black designers a seat at the table for the 2021 Met Gala in New York. He points out that underrepresentation in the fashion industry is much the same as in motorsport. Recognising that a lot of young Black brands and designers do not have the same opportunities.


Black History Month - Lewis Hamilton


The Hamilton Commission



Joe Clough | First Black British bus driver in the UKImage of Joe Clough

When hundreds of people travelled from Barbados, Jamaica and Trinidad to work on the London transport network, following a recruitment drive between 1956 and 1970, they were following in the footsteps of London's first Black bus driver, Joe Clough, who drove a London bus from 1910 to 1914.

Born in Jamaica in 1887, Clough was employed as a young boy by a Scottish doctor, Dr R C White, in Kingston, Jamaica who invited him to move to England. In 1906, Clough moved to Britain as his servant and companion who drove Dr White around by coach and horse. However, as new motorcars were becoming increasingly popular, Clough learnt to driver and became the doctor's chauffeur.

In 1910, Clough applied to work at London General Omnibus Company (L.G.O.C) and became a spare driver. After passing his test he became a driver for the route between Liverpool Street and Wormwood Scrubs.

When World War I began, he enlisted in the Army Service Corps based in Kempston Barracks, Bedfordshire, in 1915. He then drove an ambulance for four years in Ypres on the Western Front.

in 1919, once the war had ended, Clough, his wife and two children moved to Bedford. He was one of few Black inhabitants there until after World War II. He continued to work in the bus service until 1949 when he bought his own taxi.

Joe Clough passed away in 1976 at the age of 91. Many Bedford locals remember him with great affection.


Black History Month - Joe Clough

Bedford Independent

Image of Janet KayJanet Kay | First Black British female artist to have a reggae number one in the UK

Janet Kay was born in London to Jamaican parents, Clifton and Monica Bogle. As a sixties child, she was exposed to the singing greats - especially Motown.

In 1977, Kay was invited by a school friend to a band rehearsal. It was here that Janet Kay was first discovered by a band member called Tony Gad who introduced her to the reggae legend, Alton Ellis. This resulted in her recording a cover version of Minnie Ripperton's 'Loving You' which became a reggae smash hit spending many weeks at number one in the reggae charts.

She recorded two more reggae chart number ones in the following year, cover versions of 'I do Love You' and 'That's What Friends Are For'.

In 1979, Kay made history by becoming the first British-born Black female to have a reggae song at the top of the British charts. The song 'Silly Games' was a hit in the UK and Europe. Her history making landed her in the Music Guinness Book of World Records.


Black History Month - Janet Kay

100 Great Black Britons


Michael Fuller | First Black Chief Constable in the UKImage of Michael Fuller

Michael Fuller joined the Metropolitan Police Service as a cadet in 1975 where he served in uniformed and Criminal Investigation Department (CID) positions throughout London, with posts at New Scotland Yard including Special Branch. In January 2004 he then became the first Black Chief Constable, where he served for Kent Police until March 2010. Upon retirement, Kent Police was designated by the Police Inspectorate as one of five most improved police forces in England and Wales.

Fuller was also instrumental in setting up the Racial and Violent Crime Task Force. He set up and commanded Operation Trident which successfully reduced gun crime in London. He also supervised numerous murder investigations whilst in command of the Met's West Area Serious Crime Group.

Fuller retired from the police in April 2010, after 34 years, to take up the position as Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of the Crown Prosecution Service. He is the holder of the Queen's Police Medal (QPM) for distinguished police service. He also qualified as a barrister whilst serving as a chief constable and was called to the Bar at Lincoln’s Inn in July 2007. Now, Fuller holds the position of Non-Executive Director to the Home Office, providing advice to the department.

In an interview with the UK's Black History Month group, Fuller discussed how important it is for businesses to celebrate Black History Month and merit the contributions that Black people have made to the success of this country and ensure that Black employees are valued and seen.



Black History Month - Michael Fuller

Black History Month - Devon and Cornwall Police




Cambridge African Network - Ghanaian 'Fireman' performance 


Cambridge African Network - Ghanaian 'Efua Sey' group performance 

Other recommendations 


  1. Rocks - a determined teenage girl struggles to take care of herself and her younger brother after her mother's abrupt departure. Netflix.
  2. Burning an Illusion - a young British-born woman of colour searches for security in her life and hopes to achieve it through marriage; however the false arrest and merciless beating of her boyfriend by the police forces a turning point in both their lives. BFI player.
  3. Jemima and Johnny - a white boy and a Black Jamaican girl have a day out in a city where racial hostility prevails. BFI Player.
  4. Been So Long - a British musical set in London. During a night out on the town, a hard-working single mother encounters a charming yet troubled stranger. Channel 4. 


  1. Generation Revolution - Introducing the powerful stories of London's new generation of black and brown activists and exploring the successes and unexpected challenges these inspiring young people face. Motivated by the desire for a more equal future, they embark on the rewarding but difficult path that must be trodden in their struggle for liberation. BFI Player.
  2. Hair Power: Me and My Afro - the story of how hair shapes Black people's experiences in modern Britain. Academic and writer Emma Dabiri explores how Afro textured hair has often been hidden, disguised, plagiarised and stigmatised. Channel 4
  3. The Truth About Police Stop and Search - Jermain Jenas examines the controversial police tactic of stop and search with video recordings of several Black males interacting with police. Channel 4
  4. Sticks and Stones - Ashley Walters explores how and why racially offensive language has become such an ingrained part of our lives. Channel 4


  1. Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man | Emmanuel Acho - Won an Emmy this year for Outstanding Short Form Nonfiction or Reality series. Find the podcast here.​​​​​​
  2. Anthems - has a collection of powerful speeches, stories and manifestos, written and spoken by influential Black people in the UK. Each episode deals with a different topic: from occupying space and finding a sense of belonging, to respect and gratitude. These thought-provoking and inspiring personal tales celebrate the human experience, and give you a chance to understand someone else's world. We recommend: Bernardine Evaristo, author of 'Girl, Woman, Other'.
  3. About Race | Reni Eddo-Lodge - Author of 'Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race', Eddo-Lodge wanted to take this conversation a step further. This one-off series discusses anti-racism, activism and the events that have led to today's political landscape. Find her podcast here.
  4. The Black History Buff Podcast | Kur Lewis - this podcast covers "the full historical tapestry of the African Diaspora". Lewis is a British man who started the podcast when he began to teach his son about his past and discovered that much of the information available was either inaccessible or biased. You can learn about carefully researched Black history from around the world in 10-30 minute bitesize episodes. Find his podcast here.
  5. Mixed Up | Emma Slade Edmondson and Nicole Ocran - the hosts describe this as "a podcast for mixed race people everywhere and for anyone looking for a deeper insight into race and identity". Find their podcast here.
  6. Today in Focus | The Guardian - Britain's rich history of black literature. Find the podcast here.


  1. Kindred: The ground-breaking masterpiece | Octavia E. Butler (Amazon) - the first science fiction written by a Black woman, Kindred has become a cornerstone of black American literature. This combination of slave memoir, fantasy, and historical fiction is a novel of rich literary complexity (Goodreads).
  2. Americanah | Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Amazon) - a love story of childhood sweethearts at school in Nigeria whose lives take different paths when they seek their fortunes in America and England - but it is also a dissection of modern attitudes to race, spanning three continents and touching on issues of identity, loss and loneliness.
  3. 100 Great Black Britons | Patrick Vernon & Angelina Osbourne (Amazon) - a celebration of the extraordinary contribution of key figures of African or Caribbean descent to British life over many centuries, written in collaboration with the 100 Great Black Britons campaign founded and run by Patrick Vernon OBE (Goodreads). Vernon is also hosting our 'Preserving the legacy of the Windrush Generation' event on Monday 4 October.
  4. Black and British: A short, essential history | David Olusoga (Amazon) - when did Africans first come to Britain? Who are the well-dressed Black children in Georgian paintings? Why did the American Civil War disrupt the Industrial Revolution? These and many other questions are answered in this essential introduction to 1800 years of Black British history: from the Roman Africans who guarded Hadrian's Wall right up to the present day. This book is appropriate for both children and adults. (Goodreads).


  1. Celebrating Britain's rich Black history | Paul Reid at TEDxBrixton - Paul Reid, Director of The Black Cultural Archives, gives a short talk on the project which collects, preserves and celebrates the history of Black people in Britain. The work of the archives challenges the conventional slavery narrative of Black people's involvement in Britain. YouTube

Other videos

  1. Trevor Noah | interview for Guardian Live - comedian Trevor Noah discusses his book, Born a Crime. Sharing anecdotes of family and religion growing up 'coloured' in apartheid South Africa and becoming host of The Daily Show. Watch here.  
  2. Whose Remembrance? | Imperial War Musuem. The film highlights the efforts which historians, museum professionals and community workers are making to discover how the peoples of the former British Empire were affected by the two World Wars. The film showcases the findings of the project and serves to act as a discussion prompt and catalyst for future research into this theme. Watch and read more here

British East and South East Asian Heritage Month - September 2021

British East and South East Asian Heritage Month

BESEA History Month events

Workshops and demonstrations at Storey's Field Centre, Eddington | Saturday 25 September | 1:30pm to 4pm

Cambridge East and South East Asian Heritage Month Celebration event: get up close to performances from musicians and dancers showcasing Thai, Chinese and Japanese creative arts. Workshops include Shotokan Karate, Chinese block printing, East Asian painting, Origami card making and more. Tickets (£5 adult/£3 child) are available via ticket source

Webinar | Tuesday 28 September | 7:30pm

At this free online event, Lawrence Lok, Regional Coach Development Officer at the Football Association (FA) - whose focus is on diversity and inclusion in grassroots football - will look at the challenges people of East and South East Asian descent face in the football world. 



  1. Catfish and Mandala: A two-wheeled voyage through the landscape and memory of Vietnam - Andrew X Pham
  2. Falling Leaves Return to their Roots - Adeline Yen Mah
  3. In the Country: stories - Mia Alvar
  4. Mixed/ Other: Explorations of Multiraciality in Modern Britain - Natalie Morris
  5. Nothing ever dies: Vietnam and the memory of war - Viet Thanh Nguyen
  6. Magnolia - Nina Mingya Powles (poetry)
  7. The Good Immigrant - Nikesh Shukla
  8. The Best we Could Do: An Illustrated Memoir - Thi Bui


  1. Parasite (Korean) -Amazon Prime
  2. Okja (Korean) - Netflix
  3. Spirited Away (Japanese) - Netflix
  4. The Third Murder (Japanese) £4.49 on Amazon to rent
  5. On the Job (Philippines) - Netflix
  6. The Farewell (Chinese/American) - £3.49 on Amazon to rent
  7. Hero  (Chinese) - £3.49 on Amazon rent to rent
  8. In the mood for Love (Hong Kong) - Amazon Prime, Sundance channel
  9. Marlina the murderer in four acts (Indonesia) - £4.49 on Amazon to rent
  10. Dear Ex (Taiwan) - Netflix
  11. Burning (South Korea) - £3.49 on Amazon to rent
  12. My neighbour Totoro (Japanese) - Netflix
  13. Shirkers (Singapore) - Netflix
  14. Raya and the Last Dragon - Amazon 


Podcast: But where are you from? - A fun and uplifting podcast exploring life, culture, politics as East and South East Asians in the UK by besean (Britain's East and South East Asian Network) The podcast is available on Apple, Google and Spotify.


  1. The ancient, earth-friendly wisdom of Mongolian nomads - Khulan Batkhuyag
  2. What I learned about freedom after escaping North Korea - Yeonmi Park
  3. My escape from North Korea - Hyeonseo Lee
  4. The family I lost in North Korea, and the family I gained - Joseph Kim
  5. Escaping the Khmer Rouge - Sophal Ear
  6. The gender fluid history of the Philippines - France Villarta


LGBTQ+ History Month - February 2021

LGBTQ+ History Month takes place during February, and in 2021 we hosted a number of live events and shared some recommended reading and watching.

Established in the 90s in America, the month is intended to educate school children on LGBTQ+ history and the community’s continued struggle to achieve equality for all. In the UK, it was initially set up by SchoolsOUT (an LGBT Q+ charity and support network) in 2005, and has since evolved to be a nationally recognised observance across the UK by schools, organisations and public bodies. The month came shortly after the abolition of Section 28. For more on this, watch our recommended video for Wednesday 17 and the webinar on Thursday 18.

The week 2 live event - Mythbuster and allyship with the LGBTQ+ community with Morwan Osman and Zainabb Hull - offers a really useful introduction to some of the terminology. You can catch up on the event by watching the recording below. The Stonewall Glossary is another excellent source of information. 

Thank you to Encompass for partnering with us and helping us to welcome voices from within the LGBTQ+ community. Please note that, as with any external speakers, there may be some opinions expressed that are not necessarily held by the Council.

LGBTQ+ historical profiles

Edward Morgan Forster (born Henry Morgan Forster) was an English novelist, essayist, librettist and critic. His most notable works were A room with a View (1908), Howards End (1910) and A Passage to India (1924). He was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature on
at least 13 separate occasions, however he did not win one.

His novels were noted for having a more colloquial tone and had a vein of social commentary on hierarchy, humanity, truthfulness and liberty. Between 1910 and 1913, he wrote Maurice, a novel believed to reflect his own homosexual life, which at that time was deemed illegal. The book wouldn’t be published until the 1970s after Forster had passed.

One of Forster’s most famous essays, Two cheers for democracy, later renamed What I believe, was published on the eve of WWII, and displayed his increasing prominence as a ‘Liberal Humanism’ public voice.

During his life Forster travelled extensively exploring life in Greece, Italy and stopping in Pomerania (1905) to learn German, where he wrote a short memoir describing the stay as one of the happiest times in his life. He visited Egypt, Germany and India between 1914 and 1917 and was stationed at Alexandria, Egypt assisting the British Red Cross. Whilst Forster was open with friends about his homosexuality, he remained closeted to the public.

He is believed to have had a number of lovers throughout his adult life, most notably Bob Buckingham (a married policeman) and Mattei Radev, a Bulgarian picture framer and art collector. So close was Forster’s relationship with Buckingham, that he passed away from a
stroke whilst staying with Buckingham and his wife. Forster’s and Buckingham’s ashes were ‘mingled’ and scattered.

During his time at University at King’s College, Cambridge, he became a member of the Apostles society – a discussion group, which went onto form the ‘Bloomsbury set’, a famous group of writers, intellectuals, philosophers and artists, of which he was also a member. In 1946 he was made an honorary fellow at King’s College, Cambridge and went on to spend his later years (1961+) based at the College in Cambridge, setting up residence.


Britannica: E M Forster, Wikipedia: E M Forster and British Library: E M Forster

Ernest Boulton and Frederick Park were middle class Londoners who performed on stage dressed as women, where they were known as ‘Fanny and Stella’.

Boulton and Park were both homosexual and enjoyed wearing women’s clothing. Together they formed a theatrical performance duo wherein they would perform traditionally female roles in touring productions. They continued to dress in female clothing off stage and were known to go shopping, to eat in restaurants and to take in shows whilst dressed in women’s attire. It is believed that they watched the 1869 Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race in full drag.

In 1870 both were arrested on the charge of 'conspiring and inciting persons to commit an unnatural offence'. They were held on remand for months before trial and subjected to invasive physical examinations from a police surgeon. Whilst on trial the prosecution and police were unable to show that either had engaged in an 'unnatural offence' (sexual activity), furthermore the defence was able to show that neither had hidden the fact that they were dressing in woman's clothing, moreover that they had done so for entertainment purposes. At the time, cross-dressing, particularly for acting purposes, was not against the law and therefore the defendants were quickly found not guilty.

Fanny and Stella continued to perform after their trial, however it appears that they performed separately, but both appeared to have travelled as far as New York. Boulton passed away in 1904 in London from a brain tumour whilst Park passed away aged just 33 in 1881.

Their legacy lives on, with reference being made to them in Lord Arthurs Bed, a 2008 play by Martin Lewton; Fanny and Stella: The Shocking True Story, written by Glenn Chandler and performed in 2015; and Stella, by Neil Bartlett in 2016. A Blue Plaque is installed on the house where Boulton and Park lived in Bloomsbury, London.

Recent studies of the case have shown that it was a factor in the introduction of the 1885 Labouchere Amendment, making male homosexual acts punishable by up to 2 years hard labour, effectively criminalising gay men.


Wikipedia: Boulton and Park and The British Newspaper Archive

Jackie was a news reporter, actress and lesbian rights activist, particularly during the 1960s to 1980s.

Born in London in 1926, Jackie spent her youth at a boarding school in Wycombe Abbey before moving onto St Leonards School in Fife. After school she became an actress, travelling to London to attend the Arts Theatre Club where she would perform in a variety of productions, before moving on to be a successful TV presenter and news reporter.

Whilst on a lecture tour of Northern America, Jackie embarked on her first lesbian affair, before going on to marry author Peter Forster. Their marriage was short lived.

On reflection, Jackie said: “I didn’t see myself as being a lesbian, or her, because I didn’t look as I imagined they did, and nor did she. We weren’t short back and sides and natty gent’s suiting. I got the image from The Well of Loneliness, like we all did. There were drug stores around the states, with these pulp books, lurid stories about lesbians who smoked cigars and had orgies with young girls. I thought, where are these women? We never met anyone we knew who were lesbians. There were no other books that I found about lesbians, no films that we ever saw: nothing at all.” 

In 1964 she returned to Britain to work for Border Television. In the 1960s Forster joined the Minorities Research group and wrote for their journal Arena Three and promoted the group and magazine at the Gateways Club, a lesbian nightclub in Chelsea, London. 

In 1969 Forster came out publicly and joined the Campaign for Homosexual Equality (CHE), going on to serve on the executive committee. Forster also took part in the first Gay Pride in 1971, and the following year went on to found Sappho – a social group and publication. The publication ran from 1972 until 1981, however the group continued regularly for years more. Forster went on to become a member of the Greater London Council’s Women’s committee, and between 1992 and her passing in 1998 she was an active member of the Lesbian Archive and Information Centre Management Committee.

In 1997 the BBC made a programme about her life as part of its The Day That Changed My Life series. The Independent has created a more in-depth look of Jackie’s Life and impact on the LGBTQ+ Community, which is available on their website.


From the Closet to the Screen, by Jill Gardiner, 2003; Wikipedia: Jackie Forster and British Library: Jackie Forster remembers the founding of Sappho

Lily Parr was the first female football player to have her career recognised with a statue on display at the National Football Museum.

Born in 1905 to a working class family, Lily Parr showed an interest in football from an early age. During WW1 she was spotted playing for a local team (St Helen's Ladies), and was recruited to play for Dick Kerr Ladies Team, Preston. Known not only for her skills on the pitch, but also her large appetite and constant smoking, it is alleged that Parr requested part of her pay at the factory to be paid in cigarettes.

During her first season (aged just 14) Parr scored 43 goals for Dick Kerr Ladies Team. Dick Kerr played against both male and female teams with Parr scoring an estimated 1,000 goals, winning 758 matches out of 828 (lost 24, won 758, drew 46) during her career at Dick Kerr. Parr played in one of the earliest recognised women's internationals, against a French team in 1920, where Dick Kerr's team won 4-0. Parr finally retired from professional football in 1951 and continued with her employment as a nurse at Whittingham Mental Hospital, until she retired.

It was whilst working at the hospital that Lily met Mary and the two began a relationship as an openly gay couple. Parr lived with her partner Mary for the remainder of her life, in Goosnargh, Preston until she passed away from breast cancer 1978 aged 73.

In June 2019, Parr's football career was recognised with a statue of her on display at National Football Museum, making her the first female football player to be commemorated in such a way.


Wikipedia: Lily Parr, National Football Museum, and Fifa.

Mark Ashton was known as a young gay rights activist.

He grew up in rural Ireland, before moving to London in 1978. Between 1982 and 1984, Mark joined the Lesbian and Gay Switchboard and actively supported the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. He went on to feature in a local documentary Framed youth: The Revenge of the Teenage Perverts, filmed by the Lesbian and gay youth video project.

In 1984 he and a friend formed the Lesbian and Gays support the Miners (LGSM), during the Miners' strikes in the mid 80s. After the strikes Mark went on to become member of the Communism Party of Great Britain and also stood as a general secretary of the Youth Communism League (1985-1986).

In 1987 Mark was admitted to hospital in London, diagnosed with HIV/AIDS. He sadly passed away 12 days later from Pneumocystis Pneumonia, aged just 26.

Mark's legacy, however, lives on. The Mark Ashton Trust was set up in his memory and raised £20,000 by 2007, wherein it became the Mark Ashton Red Ribbon Fund (as part of the Terrence Higgins Trust) and has since raised over £38,000. His memory and these funds seek to raise awareness and support for those with HIV. Plaques in his memory are installed at Terrence Higgins Trust HQ and above 'Gay's the word' bookshop in London. Mark is also commemorated with a square of the HIV/AIDs memorial quilt.

The film Pride, released in 2014, dramatised the work of the LGSM in influencing politics and supporting the welsh mining community. It's believed that the London LGSM raised around £22,000 in 1984 and inspired up to 11 other LGSM branches nationally.


Wikipedia: Mark Ashton, The Guardian

Born Mary Louise Edith Weston, Mark was born with atypical genitals due to Disorder of Sex Development (DSD), and was assigned female at birth and initially raised as a girl. 

Mark was given the nickname ‘The Devonshire Wonder’ due to his skills on the athletics field, most notably in javelin, discus and shot put, throughout the 1920s. Mark was the 1929 National Champion for Javelin and Discus throw, and won the National Champion Title for Shot Put in 1925, 1928 and 1929.

In 1936, Mark underwent sex reassignment surgery at Charing Cross Hospital and changed his name to Mark. After his surgery in 1936, Mark retired from competitive sport and began work as a masseur. He married Alberta Bray and they went on to have three children. Mark’s older brother Harry, born Hilda, also transitioned during the 1930s, however sadly Harry died of suicide in 1942.

Since Mark’s passing in 1978, he has inspired articles, studies and discussions about the ‘sex changeability’ in 1930s Britain, but also the masculinity of sports women. Previously medics and academics in the 1930s felt that athleticism and an interest in sport were male characteristics, and that muscles developed through sport were signs of male sex characteristics. More information about this can be found in the research paper The Spectre of 'Man-Woman Athlete’: Mark Weston, Zdenek Koubek, the 1936 Olympics and the uncertainty of sex by Clare Tebbutt.


Wikipedia, Canterbury Christ Church University Library, People Pill and ResearchGate


Born Laura Maud Dillon, Michael (Laurence Michael Dillon) became the first person in the United Kingdom to transition by undergoing phalloplasty.

Michael studied at St Anne's College, Oxford graduating in 1936. By 1939 he was living and dressing comfortably as a man and sought medical assistance from a doctor, who prescribed testosterone pills.

As part of the prescription, however, Michael was to speak with a psychiatrist who gossiped about Michael's transition and therefore resulted in him abruptly relocating to Bristol, where he was widely accepted as a man.

Due to an underlying medical condition, Michael was admitted to hospital where he caught the attention of a plastic surgeon, who agreed to perform a double mastectomy (the first of Michael's
surgical procedures), and also put him in contact with renowned plastic surgeon Harold Gillies.

Gillies, having performed reconstructive surgery on genitalia during the war and on Intersex persons agreed to help Michael. During 1946 and 1949, whilst Michael was enrolled as a medical student
at Trinity College, Dublin, Gillies performed approximately 13 surgeries on him for sex reassignment.

After graduating as a physician in 1951, Michael's identity was questioned again after two competing genealogical guides queried his lineage. Shortly after Michael moved to India and began his spiritual journey, during which time he explored Buddhism and decided to become ordained as a Buddhist Monk. Michael became Sramanera Jivaka, however the monastery would not allow Jivaka to become fully ordained due to his transition, so Jivaka joined the Tibetan branch of
Buddhism. Once Jivaka's visa ran out, he was forced to leave the monastery, and spent his final years with declining health in Dalhousie, India where he passed away in 1962 aged 47.


Wikipedia: Michael Dillon, Tricycle and Bristol Museum

Robert Graves was a renowned poet and writer, writing more than 120 books during his lifetime. Most notably ‘I, Claudius’ (1934) and an autobiographical classic on World War I, ‘Good-Bye to All That’ (1929).

Graves began his literary career during his school days at Charterhouse School, London, and continued to write and exchange poetry with friends and lovers throughout his military service in WWI. Graves would continue to write and publish a number of works throughout his life, working with other writers such as ‘T.E. Lawrence’ a respected archaeologists, writer and diplomat. Much of Graves work would be influenced by mythology, classics and science fiction. In 2012, it was revealed that Graves had rejected a CBE award in 1957.

During his life, Graves had both male and female lovers, describing some of his amorous attachments as ‘Pseudo-homosexual’, he also admired women with more masculine traits and went on to marry Nancy Nicholson. Whilst married Graves developed an intense relationship with Laura Riding and the three formed a relationship titled ‘the trinity’ increasing to ‘the holy circle’ to include Geoffrey Phibbs, whom Riding also had a romantic/sexual relationship with.

After this relationship deteriorated, Graves married Beryl Hodge, which caused some issue as he was still married to Nicholson. Graves continued to take on young lovers and muses during his marriage to Hodge.

Graves passed away from heart failure in 1985, aged 90. He was buried in Deia, Majorca, where he resided for many years, however a blue plaque is installed on three of his former homes, in Wimbledon, Brixham and Islip.


Britannica website: Robert Graves and Wikipedia: Robert Graves.


June is Pride month - a month to celebrate LGBTQ+ communities around the world.

Pride is usually celebrated with lots of parades and marches but this has not always been possible during the pandemic. 

If you would like to learn more about supporting the LGBTQ+ community during Pride month, you are welcome to access any of the content we created during LGBTQ+ History Month in February.

Or if you would like to find out what future events may be taking place for Pride, please visit the dedicated Pride events website. Or, for Cambridge specific information, follow Cambridge Pride on Twitter


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