The Gay and Lesbian Humanist Association (GALHA) celebrates its 30th birthday at a free public event on Friday 10th July 2009, starting at 6:30pm at Bishopsgate Institute, 230 Bishopsgate, London , EC2M 4QH – www.bishopsgate. org.uk. This venue has been chosen for the event because GALHA’s archives have recently been added to the historical and radical collection of the Bishopsgate Institute’s Library.
The event will include an exhibition about GALHA’s work, reflections and recollections of GALHA founding members about the organisation’s early years, and talks exploring the historical context of LGBT campaigning. Speakers will include celebrated human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, and Member of the European Parliament, GALHA Vice President Michael Cashman.
In addition, the CHE/Derek Oyston Award in conjunction with GALHA will be presented to the winning campaigner who has made a particularly outstanding contribution to the LGBT community. This new annual award which is seen as a replacement for the Mike Rhodes Award will consist of a £1,000 cheque. The winner’s name is being kept a closely guarded secret, but those in the know are expressing the view that it will be a very popular choice.
GALHA is also pleased to welcome the Campaign for Homosexual Equality to this event to celebrate their own 40th Anniversary.
GALHA secretary David Christmas, commented. “This is expected to be a fun event, but it also has a very serious point. Both GALHA and the LGBT Community in general have achieved even more than we could have dreamt of in the dark days back in the 70s and 80s when people like Mary Whitehouse tried to use the law to bully us into silence.”
“However, while we may have seen off the bigots of thirty years ago, our very success has provoked a new generation of religious fundamentalists who are determined to roll back gay rights across Europe and North America, and to ensure that gay people continue to be denied freedom and equality in other parts of the world.”
“The next 30 years will probably determine whether gay equality becomes a permanent fixture across the globe.”
“However GALHA is about much more than exposing the intellectual and moral flaws of religion. Through our program of regular events and activities, and our campaigns, our aim is to build a community in which gay people with no religious beliefs gain a sense of belonging, and contribute to building a better, fairer and happier society.”
We look forward to welcoming a wide range of gay people and humanists to this event, to find about GALHA and our approach to life.