Let’s Talk About Sex

The latest exhibition in Gallery Oldham’s foyer explores the history of safer sex campaigning in Greater Manchester. The stories of those involved and affected in the past three decades take centre stage in this new exhibition launched to coincide with LGBT History Month. Let’s Talk About Sex is the result of a project by the LGBT Foundation to celebrate and commemorate over thirty years of safer sex promotion in Greater Manchester’s LGBT communities.

The Heritage Lottery supported project delves into the dramatic journey of Greater Manchester LGBT communities fusing art, history and stories of personal lived experiences to highlight stories of campaigning and activism around sexual health over the past 30 years.

Researcher and curator, Mike Upton, has worked with local LGBT communities to record the stories of people involved and affected by campaigns on sexual health and produce an exhibit that showcases the rich histories of campaigns and initiatives that made Manchester a front-runner in the national response to HIV/AIDS.

Commenting on the launch of project, Mike said: “The project is the culmination of almost a year’s work and charts an important part of Greater Manchester’s LGBT history, so it made sense to choose LGBT History Month to launch the exhibit. As someone who has worked in sexual health for several years, I appreciate the impact this has had on the people’s lives over the past three decades – from the activist roots in response to the AIDS crisis, to recent developments such as PrEP. The personal stories of the past three decades form an important part of the project and I can genuinely say that listening and recording the 45 individual stories was a fascinating experience.”

Paul Martin, Chief Executive of LGBT Foundation, added:  “LGBT Foundation is built on a rich history of grassroots activism and community involvement. Sexual health and safe sex promotion has played a significant part in our development and we have continued to provide a listening ear, support and information to individuals who had nowhere else to turn. We are delighted to have with Mike and the local community on this project, which will provide a lasting legacy to the stories people and events that have shaped safe sex promotion in Greater Manchester over the past 35 years.”

Interview clips from the video history project will be available to view on the North West Film Archive pods in Manchester Central Library and online at the LGBT Foundation website 

The exhibition is on display at Gallery Oldham until 24 February. It is also on display throughout LGBT History month at the following venues:

Manchester Central Library, 2 – 24 February

Marketplace Studios, Stockport, 1 – 28 February

Twinkle Bar, Stalybridge, 1 – 28 February

Rochdale Central Library, 26 Feb – 17 March.