Hello and welcome to the History page!
This page wants to capture the timeline of the history of the Deaf LGBTIQA+ community in the UK, and is built up on continuing research.
We will keep adding to this page every time we get useful information, and especially when we have more capacity/resources.
1967 – Homosexual sex was made legal for men over 21yr.
Before 1978 – lots of deaf people lived in the closet, hiding their sexuality in the deaf community.
1978 – Brothers and Sisters Club was founded – although in London it was originally for all the UK. This club celebrates its 40th anniversary in October 2018.
1982 – Central Rainbow in Birmingham founded, dormant since 2009 but hopes to revigorate itself.
1976 – Kings and Queens set up in Manchester, later changed to Triangle club in 1983/84, closed in 2009 approx.
1985 – The ascent of the HIV/ AIDS programme led to such a programme set up by a consortium of Deaf organisations. This was known as AIDS AHEAD. Many Deaf gay men became volunteers and Deaf gay men chaired the organisation. Due to some concerns over funding, AIDS AHEAD, eventually became a part of the British Deaf Association (BDA) Health Promotion Unit.
- Three Clubs meeting was to share information between B&S Club, CR & TC annually from 1985 till 1989.
- B&S Club hosted the meeting in 1985 as it was Geoffrey Queen’s idea.
- Then at Manchester in 1986 then at Birmingham (RNID Centre at Egbastion) in 1987.
- Back to London in 1988.
- At Cardiff (at Lesley Davidson’s house) in 1990. I do not remember where in 1989.
1986/7 – Punch and Judy Club – Brighton – closed a few years later.
1989 – Deaf Lesbians and Gay Groups (DLAGGS) established – closed in 2002:
- Formed in 1989 to organise Deaf L&G Awareness Workshop at BDA Centenary Congress in Brighton in 1990.
- It had raised around £500, mostly by Gay Times & Pink Paper and a private donation by a well-known actor.
- DLAGGS changed its aim to publication of DLAGGS Newsletter starting in 1990 and finished in 2002.
- DLAGGS was not a club or social organisation. Just an organisation to raise Deaf L&G awareness and sharing information on the Deaf L&G scene in UK, Europe & World.
1988 – Section 28 was made law – stating that a local authority “shall not intentionally promote homosexuality or publish material with the intention of promoting homosexuality” or “promote the teaching in any maintained school of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship”.
1989/90 – Dragons club set up in Wales, folded 2015.
Early 1990s – South London Deaf Gays – ran for a few years then folded.
1992 – There were 15 deaf gay and lesbian clubs set up in the UK.
1993 – Deaf MESMAC was set up – to specifically support deaf men who have sex with other men. Its programme covered workshops, training courses, creating sexual health materials for Deaf users and organising counselling for Deaf male clients. Deaf MESMAC, in addition, arranged the care programme of Deaf people with HIV/AIDS. Funding priority became reduced later and this eventually stopped.
1994 – Gay Sign Variant was recognised and taught as part of sign language teaching – a big achievement for British Deaf Gay and Lesbian people.
1995 – “Biscuits” set up for bisexual and curious people and friends. Ran for a couple years then closed.
1997-2000 approx – Brothers and Sisters Deaf Youth set up. Ran for a couple years.
1999 – There were only 3 deaf gay and lesbian clubs running.
2000 – Scotland repealed Section 28.
2001 – Age of consent lowered to 16yr for gay and bisexual men.
2002 – Deaf Sisters was set up – meeting every year until 2012 – similar to Deafab but for women only.
2003 – rest of UK repealed Section 28.
2004 – Civil Partnerships Act approved.
2004 – Gender Recognition Act approved.
2008 – “Deafab” first set up – an annual weekend gathering that has closed in 2018 with its final event in Bristol June 14 weekend – founded by Richard Carter and Ian Glover:
- 1st – Bristol – Navy theme
- 2nd Bristol – Cowboy theme
- 3rd – Bristol – Hawaii theme
- 4th – Bristol – School theme
- 5th – Cardiff – Where’s Wally theme
- 6th – Belfast – Neon theme
- 7th – Birmingham – Silver theme
- 8th – Manchester – Chav theme
- 9th – Leeds – Disney theme
- 10th – Bristol – Rainbow theme
2013 The Marriage (Same-Sex Couples) Act is passed.
Early 2018 – Facebook Deaf LGBTQ set up by Richard Carter – with over 600 members joined in 5 months duration.
July 2018 – Deaf LGBTIQA set up website – funded by deaf LGBTIQA people! And in tandem and positive support of the Facebook group.
Have a look here, for a copy of a presentation by Simon Hesselberg and Iain Poppett in 1999 at WFD Melbourne.
This page is a work-in-progress, and does not fully demonstrate the historical timeline of the Deaf LGBTIQA+ community.
If you would like to contribute to this page, please contact us at Hello@deaflgbtiqa.org.uk and we will be grateful for your time and support.