Tom Robinson

4th Allan Horsfall Lecture: Tom Robinson

Musician, radio presenter, and activist

Large Lecture Theatre, Redmonds Building view map & directions


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This year’s Allan Horsfall Lecture will be given by the musician, radio presenter and activist Tom Robinson.

The event marks the launch of the OUTing the Past '18 conference, which is part of the festival of LGBT history. The aim of the annual Horsfall lecture is to highlight both an aspect of past attitudes towards sex and gender (what might be called LGBT history) and current day campaigns towards sex and gender equality. Past lectures have featured Stuart Milk, Professor Charles Upchurch, Peter Tatchell, Professor Susan Stryker and Diana Souhami.

Allan Horsfall was a British gay rights campaigner and the founder of the North West Committee for Homosexual Law Reform, which later became the Campaign for Homosexual Equality.

The lecture formally kicks off the OUTing the Past (OTP) Festival Conference of LGBT History that brings together leading scholars and Human/LGBT Rights activists from around the world.

This Academic Conference (aka OUTing the Past) marks the final weekend of LGBT History festivities and features scholars and activists from the UK, US, France, Germany, Portugal, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Ukraine, and Bulgaria. The activist panels will address and hear from LGBT/Human Rights activists in and among diasporic communities from Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, and Germany.

Just a decade after the legalisation of homosexuality in the UK, Robinson released the anthem ‘Glad To Be Gay’ as a single, which rocketed into the Top 20 and brought LGBT life into the popular media limelight. An unabashed critique of oppression, both political and social, Robinson’s hit has evolved over the decades, and has been rewritten to challenge topical issues. First aimed at the hypocrisy surrounding London Gay Pride in the ‘70s, the song has also spoken to the media frenzy that surrounded AIDS and the continued oppression and marginalisation of LGBT people.

Accepting the lectureship Tom said:

"Having met Alan Horsfall a number of times at CHE campaigning events during the mid 1970s, it's an honour and a great pleasure to accept this invitation. It offers a welcome opportunity to reflect on how far public discourse on LGBT rights has moved on since those early days when terms such as 'gross indecency', 'blasphemous libel' and 'pretended family relationships' were everyday currency among UK legislators.  It's also a chance to recall how the early queer pioneers inspired by the Stonewall riots of 1969 coined 'gay' as a term to embrace every shade and nuance of LGBTQI identity. Back then Gay Liberation was conceived as an all-inclusive struggle to free everyone oppressed by the rigid norms of heterosexual masculinity. My own song ‘Glad To Be Gay’ was written in that same spirit and I look forward to performing it in memory of Alan at the end of my talk."