Edinburgh's Radical Bookshop

It's a sin: Queer British History, Our Stories


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Like many in the community, I stayed up into the wee hours watching, and sobbing, though It’s a Sin. The intimate, joyful, heartbreaking TV portrayal of the AIDS and HIV epidemic in 1980s London, as experienced by one group of friends, and based on true stories. Screen celebrations of the queer community have a powerful cultural impact - shows like Pose have opened so many doors to LGBTQ history, and community.

Like any historical TV drama, It's A Sin is imperfect  - some glaring omissions (such as fact not a single HIV positive woman featured, and there was next to no trans representation ) are upsetting. But I hope that like Pride before it, the show will make room for new conversations about Britain's queer history, forgotten chapters, and enduring trauma.

I hope it makes space for reflection on persistent  prejudice and stigma. I hope it hold up a mirror to anti-trans activists inflicting on our trans siblings the lies used to persecute and stigmatize the gay community: that they are would-be sexual predators, deviants, unnatural and immoral, perverts.

These scenes were lived by many in our community, survived by our community- we see you, we love you.

If, like me, you want to spend a little more time in our history, here's a little further reading. And of course, do stay informed on where we are now - HIV Scotland for instance,  have loads of resources!

Through LGBT History Month (Feb) we donated 10% of sales from this category to HIV Scotland, please consider supporting them directly too.

And on March 11th we celebrated Gay Bars at a virtual launch of Jeremy Atherton Lin's Gay Bar hosted by Bob Orr, co-founder of Lavender Menace - Scotland's original LGBT Bookshop.

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