Bringing together items from across Brighton & Hove’s rich history, Queer The Pier is a major new exhibition for Brighton Museum & Art Gallery. It celebrates the city’s ongoing reputation as a place where people of all genders, sexualities, social classes, ethnicities and religious beliefs have come to seek pleasure and liberation.
Opening last Fri, with a selection of speeches, performance artists and special guests ,the exhibition is a timely reminder that LGBTQ+ people have always been part of Brighton & Hove’s story.
Visitors can explore the selected experiences of local people from the last 200 years, beginning with a blackmail letter written in 1798 from a solicitor to an army captain, accused of propositioning another man on a coach to Dorking. Donated collections include ephemera from a range of LGBTQ+ community members, including the indictment of John Spershott, the last man to be hanged for buggery in 1835.
By way of contrast, a photo of the Sussex Gay Liberation Front, protesting in front of the war memorial in 1973, is displayed alongside a selection of costumes and drag outfits belonging to local performers and activists.
Queer the Pier is at Brighton Museum & Art Gallery until Feb 2022
Top image Lasana Shabazz – by Rosie Powell