After the brutal murder of Jody Dobrowski on Clapham Common in 2005, Wandsworth LGBT Forum was one of many forums groups established across London in response to that appalling crime. The intention was to establish a dialogue between the Police, local authorities and the LGBT Community about the incidence and impact of hate crime; to raise awareness, build trust and develop joint strategies to tackle it.
Since then, Wandsworth LGBTQ+ Forum, now Queer Wandsworth, has moved on to establish a broad programme of advocacy, health and cultural activities for LGBTQ+ people of all ages. Queer Wandsworth has embraced provisions of sexual health, primary care, cancer and mental health services and promotion of cultural and inclusion projects in partnership with other organisations such as the Furzedown Project and Clapham Picturehouse.
In the process, we have built close working relationships with many organisations across the borough not least with our councillors. In addition to the campaigning, we run social activities as a key tool of community engagement.
Seventeen years since we were formed and there is still much much more to be done. We need your support to do it so please get in touch and see how you can make a difference in your community.
I have moved to London to pursue my undergraduate degree in Anthropology and Sociology followed by a Master of Arts in Human Rights, Culture and Social Justice.
I acutely identify with the work that I do, with Human Rights issues such as sexuality, race, gender, migration and nationality being the focus of my academic and personal projects.
A being is never one-dimensional, and as Kimberlé Crenshaw teaches, we live at the intersection of all our different identities (2017).
Being a migrant, non-binary and Queer allows me to experience the world in a specific way - that I see as a privilege as much as it is seen as a disadvantage by society. I use this to my advantage and to the benefit of anyone who does not see themselves represented, anyone whose protests against discrimination have been crushed to a whisper and forgotten by being an activist in my community and making sure to bring as many voices to the table when it comes to advocacy projects.
I am a facilitator for Good Night Out Campaign, on organisation which supports nightlife spaces and organisations to better understand, respond to, and prevent sexual harassment and assault, by providing specialist training, policy support and an accreditation programme.
I have achieved a level 3 Self Defence Training qualification from the British Martial Arts and Boxing Association, and a Level 2 award in Self Defence and Conflict Management (QNUK – RQF). Since 2020 I have been delivering self-defence classes to women, ethnic minorities, and gender non-confirming people.
I’m a member of the LGBT+ Independent Advisory Group for the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) at New Scotland Yard. We advise on and monitor police issues that affect LGBT people who live in, work in, study in or are visiting London.
I live in Tooting and can be found tucked in a corner reading a book or smiling at your dog hoping you’ll allow me to say hello to them.
There is not much I hate, with the exception of a healthy disdain for coriander.
"The unexamined life is not worth living"
I have lived and worked in Wandsworth since 1971 and joined the Forum about six years ago. Since then I have seen the Forum go from strength to strength under the previous team of which I was a member. We are now building a new team to carry on the work of advocating for the LGBTQ+ community in Wandsworth under our new banner and logo "Queer Wandsworth". There is much to be done !
My particular interest lies in the area of health care for LGBTQ+ people especially in relation to sexual health, cancer care, primary care and mental health support. We have made considerable progress but there is much to be done
"Transphobia is the feminism of fools"
I first got involved in queer politics way back in September 1974 when a group of us from
the GLF (Gay Liberation Front) zapped a conference on psycho-sexual disorders at
Bradford University organized by psychiatrists and medical practitioners. Our direct action
took over the conference and we came out loud and proud to challenge the medicalization
of homosexuality. In the following month I moved to Brixton and became involved in the
squatted South London Gay Community Centre and the subsequent squatting of a queer
community nearby on Railton and Mayall Roads eventually occupying ten houses back to
back with a shared garden.
The concentration of mostly gay men around the centre and living in the squats released an
astonishing amount of collective creativity. I took part in Brixton Faeries, the theatre group
we formed, and we scripted and performed about four or five plays, sketches and even a
Christmas cabaret for pensioners and girls guides! Our collective presence also
encouraged many people to abandon the closet and enjoy a bit of sunshine in life.
As a group we took part in many campaigns and created some of our own. These included
anti-fascist/racist demonstrations and solidarity with working class strike action among
others. We helped to organize the 1976 Gay Pride Festival and started, from one of our
squats, the National Gay News Defence Committee. Locally we picketed a branch of WH
Smith for banning Gay News as well as joining the national demonstrations. We protested
outside neighborhood pubs from which we had been barred for coming out.
Later I helped to form the Queers Against the Cuts group to alert queer people about how
public spending cuts disproportionately affect us and how to fight back against them.
Bringing things up to date I now conduct the Queer Walking Tour of Brixton which alerts
people to our radical past and I have created the website revoltinggays.com which gives a
fuller picture of that time in the 1970s and early 1980s which otherwise would remain
hidden from history. I am also involved in the GLF originals meetings keeping the flame of
radical politics alive.
I live in Wandsworth, near Battersea Rise, which gives me the opportunity to visit the
Breakfast Club where Opening Doors holds a social gathering for older queer people. My
partner, Tony, organizes picnics and walking tours via OD which I help with and attend.
I am a new committee member of Queer Wandsworth joining the group a few months ago.
As part of my contribution to the group I would like to trace a Queer History of Wandsworth
in a similar vein to the Queer History of Brixton from which I have many photographs that I
would like to use in a slide show for Wandsworthians. I also participated in a successful
Night Time Strategy workshop to work out ways of making night life in Wandsworth safer,
more abundant and attractive for queer people and others. More attention needs to be paid
to hate crime prevention which means closer liaison with all involved in this and three
cheers for Oasis and the Furzedown project queer coffee morning.
Hobbies? I am retired so plenty of time for reading and writing, gossipy sessions in the pub
(for a better world to live in of course), traveling on my senior rail card and freedom pass to
various towns and cities I have never been to.
What do I not like? Capitalism! But that is a very big topic.
Favourite quote: << Surround yourself with people who make you happy. People who make
you laugh, who help you when you’re in need. People who genuinely care. They are the
ones worth keeping in your life. Everyone else is just passing through.>>
I am an Italian artist and creative director working to empower communities through art and design.
Drawing and painting are my best ways of expression and I apply them to many different aspects of my professional and personal life.
My multidisciplinary background in marketing, visual arts and design helps me develop creative strategies to improve the wellbeing of minority and local groups in London. For this reason, I work as Chief Creative Officer at Katherine Low Settlement, a much loved charity in Battersea, Wandsworth where we help elders, children and families from refugee backgrounds to be stronger than ever.
The impact that my work does on people is rewarding and fulfilling and it is the reason why I recognise my work as valuable.
At the base of it, there is an idea of love, unity and kindness because at the end “Love is enough” to create something important and long-lasting. I joined Queer Wandsworth as committee member in 2022, sharing my skills to communicate better and bolder the messages and the causes the organisation stands for.