Hastings Museum & Art Gallery is celebrating LGBT History Month with an exhibition highlighting the little-known history of East Sussex’s LGBTQ+ communities called LGBTQ+ = Me. This is an exhibition co-curated by young people identifying as LGBTQ+ who have been exploring the experiences of queer people in East Sussex from past generations. The display shares some of the stories the group uncovered and reflects on their own experience through zines, artwork and film.

Kim Forward, lead councillor for culture said, “This is an important exhibition which is the culmination of over seven months of collaborative working between a group of young people and some arts, cultural and museum experts. They have uncovered hidden histories and new stories about being LGBTQ+ and living in East Sussex…As well as artwork, posters and film, there are interviews between younger and older LGBTQ+ people about their experiences which explore how attitudes have changed.

Jack Holt, 16, from Hastings, said: “I enjoyed the project very much. It was fun learning about other people’s experiences, and I enjoyed learning how to use audio recording equipment and giving interviews.”

James Parks, 22, from Seaford, said, “I didn’t know anything about the events of Stonewall or any of the artists we looked at, so my biggest takeaway from this project was learning about all the different people involved in this movement.”

Rylan Hallewell, 17, from Eastbourne, said, “I’ve also learnt a lot about LGBT history and how we’ve progressed over the years. I have a better understanding of what LGBT people have gone through and how to be more comfortable in your sexuality and gender expression.”

The exhibition opens at Hastings Museum & Art Gallery on 18th February and runs until 3rd May. The project has been funded the National Lottery Heritage Fund and delivered in partnership with the young people, Hastings Borough Council, East Sussex County Council, De La Warr Pavilion, Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft, Towner Gallery and Charleston Trust.

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