Redbridge Rainbow Community, in partnership with Eastside Community Heritage, were recently awarded a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund. Working alongside the LGBT+ community in Redbridge, Changing Minds comprises a series of exciting heritage activities that will aim to change hearts and minds by creating a better understanding both of LGBT+ history and of those from our community living with mental health problems.
Changing Minds seeks to record and preserve the experiences of LGBT+ people living and working in the London Borough of Redbridge, and living with mental health problems. Homosexuality was considered a mental illness under law until 1968, after the introduction of the Sexual Offences Act of 1967 (which decriminalised same sex activity between consenting adults in England and Wales). Transsexualism was not declassified as a mental illness in England and Wales until 2002, much later than was the case for LGB people. Despite these changes in the law, offering some protection from prejudice and discrimination, mental health challenges are faced by many LGBT+ people in society today – with a much higher diagnosis rate of mental illness being apparent in people who identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual or Transgender. In order to document the changing issues affecting the mental health of LGBT+ people, we will interview people who were born from the 1950s until 1997 so that a realistic picture of changing times can be viewed.