We Are History exhibition showcases three of the biggest Prides in the UK and Europe: Brighton LGBTQ+ Pride,Trans Pride and Black Pride. Occupying different spaces and times, the photos are united in the understanding that Pride is essentially a protest and a social space that embodies the life experiences, struggles and desires of its participants. Whilst they also include skimpy underwear-clad dancing muscle boys on commercialized floats, that is a very tiny part of Pride’s story and history.
The first group of photos are taken from The Argus Photographic archive and show
Brighton’s very first Gay Pride Week which took place 3-8 July 1973, organised by the
Sussex Gay Liberation Front [SGLF]. On Saturday 7 July people marched from Norfolk
Square, down to Embassy Court then along the Kings Road to the Old Ship Hotel. They
gave out 2000 leaflets calling for an end to discrimination. Finding these previously unseen
images was like holding hands across time with those who were activists before us and re-
opened long unspoken stories, now seen again in modern light.
The second group exhibition features images from the series “Pride is a Protest” by Brighton-based photographer Gil Mualem-Doron documenting the demonstration during Brighton Pride in 2019 by the "Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrant” group and another pro-refugee LGBTQ+ group. The protest, which was conceived of as a disruption of the cheerful and commercialized Pride, aimed to highlight the plight of LGBTQ asylum seekers in the UK and the marginalization that QTPOC queer, trans and people of colour are still facing, even in what is supposed to be LGBTQ+ safe spaces. The protest reminded the other participants and spectators at Brighton Pride that LGBTQ pride grew out of the Stonewall riots and for a long time has been a protest led by those marginalized communities.
The organisers also targeted British Airways which on behalf of the UK Government deports asylum seekers, amongst them LGBT people, who face discrimination and even life-threatening situations in the countries from which they have escaped.
The third group of images taken by emerging photographer Tolu Elusade are from Black Lives Matter protests in 2020. As with the other photos, they emphasize the duality of protest spaces, not only as a space of protest but also as a safe space in which members of these communities socialize and empower themselves.
We Are History is a prequel to the exhibition We Are Family which is set to open at The Ledward Centre on Friday 25th February featuring more photography, film, performance and illustration. You can book tickets here.
The exhibition was curated by The Socially Engaged Art Salon [SEAS CIC] and the curator Pacheanne Anderson. For more information about these exhibitions please visit SEAS website: www.seasbrighton.org
*‘*‘Images from Brighton Pride 1973 are shown with the permission of Andy Garth, Brighton
and Hove Stuff on behalf of the Argus Photographic Archive and in collaboration with the
Gay Brighton Past group. https://www.brightonandhovestuff.co.uk
facebook:Brighton and Hove Stuff / Gay Brighton Past
The exhibition is supported by Art Council England, Brighton & Hove Communities Fund, and Sussex Community Trust.