The Campaign for Homosexual Equality

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CHE Annual Conference 2016

CHE's 44th Annual Conference was held at the London Friend office, King's Cross, 21 May 2016.

Terry Sanderson (left) with CHE EC members Nettie Pollard and Ross Burgess
Terry Sanderson (left) with CHE EC members Nettie Pollard and Ross Burgess

The main speaker was Terry Sanderson, long-standing gay activist and president of the National Secular Society. He described growing up as a gay teenager in Rotherham: he was very isolated until he discovered CHE, and founded the Rotherham CHE Group. He met Keith, his life partner, at the Durham CHE Conference in 1981, and will be eternally grateful to CHE for this. Terry had brought along copies of his new book The Adventures of a Happy Homosexual, and they were snapped up.

After the break for refreshments we heard a talk from Stefan Dickers, Library and Archives Manager at the Bishopsgate Institute, which has a large collection of LGBT-related material, and is keen to obtain more. The CHE Executive has decided that from now on its archives will be deposited at Bishopsgate, rather than the Hall-Carpenter Archives, and the Conference passed an emergency motion noting this change of policy.

We also heard from Fergus O’Brien who is working on a BBC programme to commemorate the 50th anniversary of decriminalisation, and is inviting gay men to contribute their recollections of life before 1967.

Stefan Dickers
Stefan Dickers

Peter Scott-Presland reported on progress with Amiable Warriors (he hopes to have Volume Two ready for publication next February), and Nick Billingham gave us his thoughts on the threatened repeal of the Human Rights Act.

Tony Fenwick, Chief Executive of Schools Out and LGBT History Month, gave a big thank you to CHE for supporting the 2016 LGBT History Festival. The festival, held in six different places, had significantly exceeded targets. He outlined plans for LGBT History Month 2017, and its pre-launch in London at the end of November.

The Annual Report and Accounts were approved. We also passed an emergency motion, proposed by Nettie Pollard, supporting the appeal by Gayle Newland who was given an 8-year prison sentence for sex by deception – she had a long-term relationship with a woman who thought Gayle was a man.

The Conference approved the Annual Report for 2015-2016, and the accounts (included in the Annual Report) for the year ended 31 December 2015.

Two emergency motions were drafted during the Conference, and agreed by the members present.