St John's College Oxford

LGBT+ History Month Conversation

Date 13 February 2018

St John's students recently organised the first LGBT+ History Month Conversation, with Honorary Fellow Angela Eagle MP.

By Robert Britten

Honorary Fellow Angela Eagle MP spoke to students and staff of the College and the wider university last Thursday about political progress in LGBT+ matters, and why we should not be complacent about what has been achieved to date in the UK and worldwide.

The MP, who has been in legislation for 26 years and who came out as a lesbian in 1998, spoke on a variety of LGBT+ issues. Reminding her predominantly student audience of the implications of Section 28, which until 2003 prevented local authorities, including schools, from promoting homosexuality, she gave a sense of the huge progress made since, but she also noted that LGBT+ people in the UK are still dealing with the legacy of such legislation. Pointing to the UK Government’s inaction in the face of Bermuda’s recent same-sex-marriage repeal, as well as to the ongoing events in Chechnya, she reminded her listeners of the many concrete realities for LGBT+ people outside the UK and Western Europe.

Audience members asked numerous questions, on the situation that LGBT+ asylum seekers have found themselves in, on Brexit and its implications, on divides in the LGBT+ community itself over the question of pragmatic step-by-step progress or radical demands. Angela Eagle showed herself a pragmatist embracing progress, but continuing to press for more. 

photo Bruno Marinič

Angela Eagle LGBT+ Student Conversation