A NEW initiative is being launched in Wales to help local museums, archives and libraries showcase, share and celebrate local LGBTQ+ history and culture in their collections, Welsh Government ministers have announced today.

The Welsh Government is funding a series of LGBTQ+ Language and History training sessions to support organisations in Wales to be more inclusive and better represent LGBTQ+ heritage and literature in their collections.

The new initiative supports the Welsh Government’s LGBTQ+ Action Plan which sets out plans to:

• tackle inequalities experienced by LGBTQ+ communities

• challenge discrimination

• create a society where LGBTQ+ people are safe to live and love

Prominent Welsh Historian and author Norena Shopland and Equity Educator and founder of Pride in Education Laila El-Metoui have designed and are delivering five interactive bespoke sessions to equip staff with the skills and knowledge necessary that will enable a greater visibility of often hidden or undiscovered LGBTQ+ heritage.

The training will provide effective learning points and practical tools to enable staff to move forward with a fully inclusive, truly representative programme.

Deputy Minister for Arts and Sport, Dawn Bowden said:

“We want to do all we can to ensure our local museums, libraries and archives work with our LGBTQ+ communities in Wales to showcase, share and celebrate their history and stories.

“There are some wonderful examples of these organisations working with LGBTQ+ communities – like Llandudno Museum and Glamorgan Archives – but we are keen to ensure local venues across the country are more representative of the community in their collections, resources, events and exhibition programmes. This new initiative we’re announcing today is the start of that process.”

Deputy Minister for Social Partnership, Hannah Blythyn said:

“The society we have today and the progress we have made is all built on the hope and determination of so many before us. Wales’ LGBTQ+ history has contributed so much to our stories as a nation and I am so pleased that these stories will have this new opportunity to be told.

“We’re working to make Wales the most LGBTQ+ friendly nation in Europe. This announcement today marks another step towards achieving that.”

Norena Shopland said:

“Over the last ten years the showcasing of sexual orientation and gender identity history (often referred to as LGBTQ+ history) has greatly increased. However, this increase tends to be driven by a small number of individuals and organisations. A lack of familiarity with the subject; little understanding of historic language use, application and recognition; fear of causing offence; and LGBTQ+ people rarely visiting local museums or archives, are some of the main reasons causing difficulties in researching, recognising, and promoting LGBTQ+ history.”

Laila El-Metoui said:

“Too many organisations still live in the shadow of Section 28 and it is of the utmost importance that LGBTIQA+ heritage is showcased and celebrated, knowing our past helps us understand our present and will inform our future. You cannot be what you cannot see, it’s time to bring hidden stories to the light. We are grateful to the Welsh Government for being a driving force behind Queer Heritage representation.”