LLR Academy


Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People about Race, Rene Eddo-Lodge.
Award-winning journalist wrote about her frustration with the way that discussions of race and racism in Britain were being led by those who weren’t affected by it.

Natives: Race and Class in the Ruins of Empire, Akala
From the first time he was stopped and searched as a child, to his first encounters with racist teachers -race and class have shaped Akala’s life and outlook. He looks at the social, historical and political factors that have left us where we are today.

White privilege: The myth of a post-racial society, Kalwant Bhopal.
Bhopal explores how neoliberal policy-making has increased discrimination faced by those from non-White backgrounds. This important book examines the impact of race on wider issues of inequality and difference in society.
The Good Immigrant, Nikesh Shukla. A collection of 21 essays from Black, Asian and minority ethnic voices. The essays tell what is it to be a person of colour in the UK today

How to be an Antiracist, IbramX. Kendi
Kendi candidly identifies and confronts racism in America by telling the story of his life from his upbringing in Queens, New York, where he was, at best, an indifferent student, to his time as a PhD student at Temple University in Philadelphia and, later, to some of his experiences as a professor.

Brit(ish), AfuaHirsh.
The daughter of a black Ghanaian woman and a White English man; her book is an interrogation of her own identity and an examination of the roots of prejudice, taking to task those progressives who claim they “don’t see colour”.

The Good Immigrant, Nikesh Shukla.
A collection of 21 essays from Black, Asian and minority ethnic voices. The essays tell what is it to be a person of colour in the UK today.

Black and British: A Forgotten History, David Olusoga.
In this vital re-examination of a shared history, historian and broadcaster David Olusoga tells the rich and revealing story of the long relationship between the British Isles and the people of Africa and the Caribbean.

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Small Axe – Steve McQueen – You can purchase the whole series
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Exploring Disability By Colin Barnes
The authors examine, amongst other issues, the changing nature of the concept of disability, key debates in the sociology of health and illness, the politicisation of disability, social policy, and the cultural and media representation of disability. As well as providing an excellent overview of the literature in the area, the book develops an understanding of disability that has implications for both sociology and society.

Pride against Prejudice By Jenny Morris
In Pride Against Prejudice, Jenny Morris challenges with passion, authority, and conviction the reality of being different. Among the topics she covers are: current and historical debates on the quality of disabled people’s lives; the way disability is represented within Western culture; institutionalization and independence; feminist research and community care; and the politics of the disability movement. She asserts that, for too long, non-disabled people have not only defined the experience of disability but have had control over disabled people’s lives. This important book has grown out of an emerging organization of disabled people who are part of a powerful new culture.

  • Other books of interest by Jenny Morris
  • Feminism and Disability
  • Able Lives
  • Women’s Experience of Paralysis and Alone Together

Feminism And Disability by Barbara Hillyer
Most women’s lives are touched by disability, either their own limitations or those of someone for whom they care, and yet to a great extent the feminist and disability communities have failed to form a significant coalition or even to comprehend women’s experiences of disability. Written from Barbara Hillyer’s perspective as a teacher of feminist theory and the mother of a young woman with multiple disabilities, Feminism and Disability explores issues of vital concern both to women with disabilities and to women caregivers: body awareness, community and reciprocity, fatigue, the supposed dichotomy between nature and technology, co dependence, and recovery programs.

Women and Disability: The Double Handicap By Mary Jo Deegan
The special needs of women with disabilities have been disregarded in a wide variety of vital areas. Issues pertain to women as wives and mothers. Studies of the effects on female sexuality of such conditions as renal disease and diabetes are lacking, though the sexual functioning of men with these diseases has been researched. On the economic front, the Federal-State Vocational Rehabilitation system and the regulations concerning disability benefits under Social Security provide less adequately for women than for men. Hopefully, this volume will raise the consciousness of its readers to the special status of women with disabilities as a minority group experiences multiple sources of discriminations.

Disabling Barriers – Enabling Environments By John Swain
In this book the author is analysing the barriers that disabled people encounter in education, housing, leisure and employment. Written by disabled people who are leading academics in the field, the text comprises 45 short and engaging chapters, to provide a broad-ranging and accessible introduction to disability issues.

This revised edition has new chapters on

  • international issues
  • diversity among disabled people
  • sexuality
  • bioethics.

Crippled: Austerity and the Demonization of Disabled People By Frances Ryan
In austerity Britain, disabled people have become the favourite target. From social care to the benefits system, politicians and media alike have made the case Britain’s 12 million disabled people are a drain on the public purse. In Crippled, leading commentator Frances Ryan exposes the disturbing reality, telling the story of those most affected by this devastating regime. This includes a paralyzed man forced to crawl down the stairs because the council wouldn’t provide accessible housing; the malnourished woman sleeping in her wheelchair; and the young girl with bipolar forced to turn to sex work to survive. Through these personal stories, Ryan charts how in recent years the public attitude towards disabled people has transformed from compassion to contempt: from society’s most vulnerable to benefit cheats. Crippled is a damning indictment of a safety net gone wrong, and a passionate demand for an end to austerity measures hitting those most in need.

From Blind Man to Ironman By Haseeb Ahmad
Haseeb Ahmad started to lose his sight at 10 years old. He knew his eyesight wasn’t normal, but the medical profession failed to diagnose the degenerative eye disease which left him completely blind by the age of 20. This book is a personal journey which will inspire and motivate every one of all ages and backgrounds. It is about refusing to give up in order to achieve your dreams.

Disability Visibility: First-Person Stories from the Twenty-First Century By Alice Wong
According to the last Census, one in five people in the United States lives with a disability. Some are visible, some are hidden–but all are underrepresented in media and popular culture. Now, just in time for the thirtieth anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, activist Alice Wong brings together an urgent, galvanizing collection of personal essays by disabled people in the 21st century.

From Harriet McBryde Johnson’s account of her famous debate with Princeton philosopher Peter Singer over her own personhood, to original pieces by up-and-coming authors like Keah Brown and Haben Girma; from blog posts, manifestos, eulogies, testimonies to Congress, and beyond: this anthology gives a glimpse of the vast richness and complexity of the disabled experience, highlighting the passions, talents, and everyday lives of this community. It invites readers to question their own assumptions and understandings. It celebrates and documents disability culture in the now. It looks to the future and past with hope and love.

Scapegoat: Why We Are Failing Disabled People By Katharine Quarmby
Every few months there’s a shocking news story about the sustained, and often fatal, abuse of a disabled person. It’s easy to write off such cases as bullying that got out of hand, terrible criminal anomalies or regrettable failures of the care system, but in fact they point to a more uncomfortable and fundamental truth about how our society treats its most unequal citizens. In Scapegoat, Katharine Quarmby looks behind the headlines to question and understand our discomfort with disabled people. Combining fascinating examples from history with tenacious investigation and powerful first person interviews, Scapegoat will change the way we think about disability – and about the changes we must make as a society to ensure that disabled people are seen as equal citizens, worthy of respect, not targets for taunting, torture and attack.


LGBTQ+ Resources

Steven Dryden is a Sound Archive and Humanities Reference Specialist at the British Library. Steven co-curated Gay UK: Love, Law and Liberty (2017, British Library) and led a series of student workshops and public lectures at the Department of Women, Gender and Sexuality at Harvard University, USA (2018).

Steven’s primary research interest is in the use of language by heritage institutions. His recent work has focused on the cataloguing of gender and sexual minorities in archive and museum catalogues. Steven develops content for the British Library LGBTQ Histories website and has spoken widely across Europe and the UK

A short history of LGBT rights in the UK – Written by Steven Dryden

This article traces the journey of the LGBT community from 1533 to today, looking at the battles for equality that were fought and legislative changes made.

The Buggery Act of 1533, passed by Parliament during the reign of Henry VIII, is the first time in law that male homosexuality was targeted for persecution in the UK. Completely outlawing sodomy in Britain – and by extension what would become the entire British Empire – convictions were punishable by death.

The Buggery Act 1533

Convictions under the Buggery Act 1533 were punishable by death.
Usage terms Public Domain
It was not until 1861 with the passing of the Offences Against the Person Act, that the death penalty was abolished for acts of sodomy – instead being made punishable by a minimum of 10 years imprisonment.

The Criminal Law Amendment Act 1885 however, went a step further once again, making any male homosexual act illegal – whether or not a witness was present – meaning that even acts committed in private could be prosecuted. Often a letter expressing terms of affection between two men was all that was required to bring a prosecution. The legislation was so ambiguously worded that it became known as the ‘Blackmailer’s Charter’, and in 1895, Oscar Wilde fell victim.

The Criminal Law Amendment Act, 1885

The Criminal Law Amendment Act was used to send Oscar Wilde to prison in 1895.
Usage terms Public Domain
Female homosexuality was never explicitly targeted by any legislation. Although discussed for the first time in Parliament in 1921 with a view to introducing discriminatory legislation (to become the Criminal Law Amendment Bill 1921), this ultimately failed when both the House of Commons and House of Lords rejected it due to the fear a law would draw attention and encourage women to explore homosexuality. It was also assumed that lesbianism occurred in an extremely small pocket of the female population.

In the post-war period, transgender identities started to become visible. In 1946 Michael Dillon published Self: A Study in Endocrinology. The book, which in contemporary terms could be described as an autobiography of the first transgender man to undergo phalloplasty surgery, recounted Dillon’s journey from Laura to Michael, and the surgeries undertaken by pioneering surgeon Sir Harold Gillies. Dillon wrote: ‘Where the mind cannot be made to fit the body, the body should be made to fit, approximately at any rate, to the mind.’

In May 1951 Roberta Cowell, a former World War II Spitfire pilot, became the first transgender woman to undergo vaginoplasty surgery in the UK. Cowell continued her career as a racing driver and published her autobiography in 1954.

Meanwhile, a significant rise in arrests and prosecutions of homosexual men were made after World War II. Many were from high rank and held positions within government and national institutions, such as Alan Turing, the cryptographer whose work played a decisive role in the breaking of the Enigma code. This increase in prosecutions called into question the legal system in place for dealing with homosexual acts.

The Report of the Departmental Committee on Homosexual Offences and Prostitution, better known as the Wolfenden Report, was published in 1957, three years after the committee first met in September 1954. It was commissioned in response to evidence that homosexuality could not legitimately be regarded as a disease and aimed to bring about change in the current law by making recommendations to the Government. Central to the report findings was that the state should focus on protecting the public, rather than scrutinising people’s private lives.

Wolfenden Report, 1957

The Wolfenden Report recommended that ‘homosexual behaviour between consenting adults in private should be no longer a criminal offence’.

It took 10 years for the Government to implement the Wolfenden Report’s recommendations in the Sexual Offences Act 1967. Backed by the Church of England and the House of Lords, the Sexual Offences Act partially legalised same-sex acts in the UK between men over the age of 21 conducted in private.  Scotland and Northern Ireland followed suit over a decade later, in 1980 and 1981 respectively. The Sexual Offences Act represented a stepping stone towards equality, but there was still a long way to go.

In 1966 The Beaumont Society was set up to provide information and education to the general public, medical and legal professions on ‘transvestism’ and encourage research aimed at a fuller understanding. The organisation is now the UK’s largest and longest running support group for transgender people and their families.

In the wake of the Stonewall Riots in New York in June 1969 over the treatment of the LGBT community by the police the UK Gay Liberation Front was founded (GLF) in 1970. The GLF fought for the rights of LGBT people, urging them to question the mainstream institutions in UK society which led to their oppression. The GLF protested in solidarity with other oppressed groups and organised the very first Pride march in 1972 which is now an annual event.

Gay Liberation Front Manifesto

The 1971 Gay Liberation Front Manifesto proclaimed that ‘Homosexuals, who have been oppressed by physical violence and by ideological and psychological attacks at every level of social interaction, are at last becoming angry.’

When the GLF disbanded in late 1973 the Campaign for Homosexual Equality (CHE), based in Manchester, led the fight for equality by legal reform. Age of consent equality however, did not come until 2001 in England, Scotland and Wales, and 2009 in Northern Ireland.

The fight for sexual equality however, was far from over. Section 28 of the Local Government Act 1988, introduced by the Conservative Government under Margaret Thatcher, banned local authorities from ‘promoting homosexuality’ or ‘pretended family relationships’, and prohibited councils from funding educational materials and projects perceived to ‘promote homosexuality’. The legislation prevented the discussion of LGBT issues and stopped pupils getting the support they needed. Section 28 was repealed in 2003, and Prime Minister David Cameron apologised for the legislation in 2009.

In 2004 the Civil Partnership Act 2004 allowed same-sex couples to legally enter into binding partnerships, similar to marriage. The subsequent Marriage (Same-Sex Couples) Act 2013 then went further, allowing same-sex couples in England and Wales to marry; Scotland followed suit with the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Act 2014. Northern Ireland enactment the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation etc) Act 2019, making same-sex marriage legal on 13 January 2020.

The Gender Recognition Act 2004, which came into effect on 4 April 2005, gave trans people full legal recognition of their gender, allowing them to acquire a new birth certificate – although gender options are limited to ‘male’ or ‘female’. Between July and October 2018 the UK Government consulted the public on reforming the Act. As of 1 September 2020 no report from the consultation has been published.

The Equality Act 2010 gave LGBT employees protections from discrimination, harassment and victimisation at work. The legislation brought together existing legislation and added protections for trans workers, solidifying rights granted by the Gender Recognition Act.

The LGBT community continues to fight for equality and social acceptance.