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LGBT activists get ready for Holocaust Memorial Day

LGBT activists get ready for Holocaust Memorial Day

Holocaust Memorial Day on 27 January marks the 67th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz conceptration camp. Across Britain, people will be taking time to remember those who suffered persecution during the Nazi regime.

Gypsies, Jews, ethnic minorities, disabled, gay and lesbian people, political opponents and others were targeted for persecution and discrimination by the Nazis.

An estimated 50,000 gay men received severe jail sentences while between 10 – 15,000 were deported to concentration camps. Lesbians also suffered at the hands of the fascist regime. They were not allowed to play a role in public life and their community networks were destroyed.

This year's HMD has several events organised to remember the scores of gay and lesbian people who suffered at the hands of the fascist regime.

There will be two Speak Up, Speak Out events taking place in London and Manchester respectively. In London, chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission Trevor Phillips along with speakers from Camden Council, Wiener Library and the Camden LGBT Forum will talk about the issues facing lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, ethnic and faith minorities and how these groups can join together.

In Manchester, a similar discussion will be held on 26 January by The Lesbian & Gay Foundation and The Albert Kennedy Trust.

Communications manager of The Lesbian & Gay Foundation Andrew Gilliver says of the event: 'In 2012, Manchester’s LGB&T community knows only too well the problems that can come from not speaking up about hatred and discrimination, and we would like to make sure our communities can pay tribute to those who have gone before us, and at the same time help to raise awareness of the issues that still affect us today.'

In addition, an exhibition exploring the Speak Up, Speak Out theme, with contributions from the Suffolk LGBT Network will also be held at the Waterfront Building, University Campus Suffolk.

In Brighton, the Jubilee Library will host The Third Sex in the Third Reich, an exhibition which traces how the Nazi Party affected the lives of gay and lesbian people during and after their reign.

A series of short, hourly meditation sessions will be held by The Anchor in Salford in remembrance of the many groups victimised by the Holocaust, with a led session being held at 2pm for the gay, bi and trans community. A series of short Holocaust Memorial films from The Legacy of Hope project will also be screened.

The Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement will also host a 40 minute meditation in honour of the last gay man to survive the Holocaust at St Paul's Church, Bristol.