I will be presenting the findings of a research project on the Shropshire Lesbian & Gay Switchboard at an event as part of the Shrewsbury LGBT History Festival. Tickets can be booked via the festival's website:
Inspired by London Switchboard (anonymous telephone advisory service for the LGBT community), a group of volunteers set up a Shropshire Switchboard, to provide a vital lifeline for local isolated rural LGBT communities. Learn about the 20-year history and hear from some of the original volunteers.
Time & Location
02 Apr, 10:30 – 11:30 Shropshire Wildlife Trust, 193 Abbey Foregate, Shrewsbury SY2 6AH, UK
About the Event
Ran from volunteers’ spare rooms, and with little support or training, the Shropshire Switchboard is a story of mutual aid in the face of misinformation, prejudice and struggle. Volunteers took calls from young gay people looking for safe spaces to meet; from wives, mothers, husbands and fathers who hid their true sexuality from their families; and gay men who sought sexual health advice during the HIV AIDS crisis. The Switchboard took thousands of calls during its 20-year operation, and forms a significant part of Shropshire’s LGBT history. This event will present the findings of a year-long research and oral history project on the Shropshire Lesbian and Gay Switchboard, and will feature archive material and extracts from interviews conducted with former volunteers of the Switchboard. During the panel discussion, some of the founding members of the Switchboard will share their own memories and answer your questions about what life was like as a gay man or woman on the frontline of Shropshire’s LGBT community during the 1970s, 80s and 90s.