Behind the scenes at Queer Britain
We speak to the co-founder of the UK’s first LGBTQ+ museum about the challenges of bringing it to life, and how brands can support queer communities without rainbow washing
This year marks the 50th anniversary of Pride in London, an annual event that sees the LGBTQ+ community and its allies out in full force in the heart of the city. While it is undoubtedly an occasion for celebration, understanding the history behind Pride is also vital. The very first Pride parade took place in New York City in 1970 in the wake of a violent police raid in a gay bar, which sparked a series of demonstrations and riots and effectively kickstarted the Gay Liberation movement.
In the UK, queer history has become more prominent in mainstream spaces in recent years – be it in the form of TV dramas such as Channel 4’s It’s A Sin or exhibitions including Tate Britain’s Queer British Art. The sad dichotomy of advances in LGBTQ+ visibility and acceptance, however, is the rise in homophobic and transphobic hate crimes. Reports of sexual orientation hate crimes recorded by UK police forces in 2021 rose from an average of 1,456 a month from January to April to 2,211 from May to August alone, according to the Guardian.
Top: Ad campaign for Queer Britain from M&C Saatchi; Queer Britain space in London
It is against this backdrop that Queer Britain, otherwise known as the UK’s first LGBTQ+ museum, opens its doors in London’s King’s Cross. Set to be the largest of its kind in the world, the museum will reflect every race, gender, and orientation under the LGBTQ+ umbrella in a bid to preserve histories that have been ignored or destroyed – while offering a permanent space for communities to come together.