Powerful ‘Always Been Here’ billboards appear across the UK to mark inaugural Trans+ History Week

A series of powerful billboards in major cities across the UK will make trans history visible to the public and mark the inaugural Trans+ History Week.

The first-ever Trans+ History Week, which is a QueerAF launchpad project, will take place from Monday 6 May to Sunday 12 May and will be a period of time dedicating to learning about and celebrating history of trans, non-binary, gender-diverse, and intersex people.

Through a series of articles, podcasts and a lesson workbook created using academic research principles, Trans+ History Week aims to provide the British public and wider global community with a millennia-old history of trans+ people and gender-diverse communities.

Throughout the week, twenty emerging trans+ creatives – who have been supported, given audio equipment to keep, and mentored by QueerAF across multiple commissioning schemes – will also share their stories.

Their work is set to spotlight global trans+ history including the Hijra communities of India, the first-ever transgender conference in the UK and the portrayal of trans+ individuals in TV and film.

Trans+ History Week will also declare 6 May – the launch day of the event – as the official Trans+ History Day, the date which marks the 91st anniversary of the Nazi raid on the world’s first trans clinic; the Institut für Sexualwissenschaft (Institute of Sexology) in Berlin. Days later, the clinic was the site of one of the Nazi’s largest and most infamous book burnings.

The large, vertical billboards – which have a colourful, collage zine aesthetic – have the words ‘ALWAYS BEEN HERE. ALWAYS WILL BE” written in large font. They will appear in cities such as Manchester, Liverpool, London and Newcastle and will feature a QR code which people can scan for more information.

Marty Davies, founder of Trans+ History Week CIC) said: “Everyone is talking about Trans+ people, but few Trans+ people are able to tell their own stories. That’s what Trans+ History Week is here to do.

“Exactly a year ago, I found out I’d been denied important history about myself and my community. Learning that one of the most famous Nazi book burnings was at a trans clinic was a huge surprise to me. But it made me wonder why – if it’s an image we all saw in school, what else was denied to us?

“If we deny people their history, we deny them their humanity. Writing about this moment set me on a path to learn more and make our history accessible to everyone. 

“We have created space for all of us to stand joyfully in our present with our hands wrapped around our past. Using this knowledge to steel us as we carve out a better future.” 

Jamie Wareham, founder of QueerAF CIC, said: “Watching a QueerAF article about one of the first and most infamous Nazi book burnings taking place at the world’s first sex and gender clinic and quickly becoming a regular tool used to shut down ‘transgender trend’ chatter online was fascinating.

“It was immediately evident we needed more stories, told in the same way – to do the same. That meant investing in Trans+ talent. The success of the first article, and the content since is a testament to the power of trusting people with lived experience to guide creative projects.

“We’re humbled to have powered the launch of Trans+ History Week into a Trans+ led and owned social enterprise as our first ever launchpad initiative as part of our mission to model the change we want to see in the industry, as the UK’s only regulated, non-profit LGBTQIA+ publisher.”

Trans+ History Week kicks off at a main event, in London on 7 May with a live podcast recording with the stars of Netflix’s Sex Education Felix Mufti and Anthony Lexa.

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