Sir Ian Mckellen backs gay heritage trail and new phone ‘app’

This Is Lancashire: Sir Ian McKellen Sir Ian McKellen

A NEW ‘app’ uncovering Burnley’s hidden history in the fight for gay rights is set to be launched at Towneley Hall later this month.

Part of a National Lottery- funded project, eight significant spots around the town centre feature in the Burnley LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Transgender) heritage trail.

And a smartphone version of the trail will be unveiled as part of this year’s LGBT History Month, at Towneley, on February 15.

The lottery initiative has been backed by Burnley-born gay rights activist Sir Ian McKellen, who wrote: “Gay people have been encouraged for centuries to be alienated from each other and society in general, by cruel laws restricting their lives.

“The uncovering of individual and collective experience, which would allow people to feel they belong to a genuine community, would benefit them, of course, and society as a whole.”

The trail includes Burnley bus station, where driver Mary Winter was sacked for wearing a Lesbian Liberation badge in 1978, to the former Thorn Hotel, a popular gay hangout of the 40s and 50s, to the town hall and library, where meetings were held over plans to open a gay nightclub in the Co-operative buildings in 1971.

The launch event, called ‘Uproar Over That Club’, will give insights into the 1971 campaign, and feature Michael Steed, of the Campaign for Homosexual Equality.

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