Today is International Holocaust Remembrance Day, a day to mourn those who died at the hands of those who let hatred and ignorance prevent them from seeing our shared humanity.
I remember reading Gore Vidal’s excellent essay Pink Triangle and Yellow Star when I was much younger and finding it such a revelation. I thought at the time that while some people despised me for one thing , were I around in Germany in the Nazi era as someone also of mixed parentage I was a shoo-in for Auschwitz. When my thoughts progressed from that I realized that if there was nothing wrong with being of mixed parentage or just being fundamentally different because of who you are – I think you see where I am going with this. This led me to know that civil rights are civil rights no matter what group you are talking about. I see no difference between any of the struggles.
Apropos to that this evening I discovered Project Triangle in Merseyside. Other than Ferry Across the Mersey I didn’t know much about Merseyside but I am really impressed that the Merseyside Police were the first to fly the rainbow flag at their stations. Then to read that there was a five-day cultural exchange trip to Auschwitz and Warsaw for 12 young LGBT and young LGBT Polish people is just wonderful and tied everything together for me. Welcome to Project Triangle.
In the words of the project:
In September 2009, 12 young Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender people from Merseyside took part in a five-day cultural exchange trip to Auschwitz and Warsaw working with a group of young Polish LGB & T people from the Campaign Against Homophobia (KPH).
The exchange provided the group with an appreciation of the Holocaust and fate of many LGB & T people and the impact on European and LGB & T social history as well as challenging past and present issues around hate crime.
The young people took part in making a short 30-minute film documenting their experiences and thoughts around the themes of the project, along with ideas and aspirations for the future.
The resulting film has been developed into an educational resource pack for schools and colleges, enabling teachers to tackle homophobia and all forms of hate crime in schools. The pack has been endorsed by NUT, Sir Ian Mc Kellern and Chief Constable of Merseyside Police. Since returning the group have provided hate crime workshops for teachers, pupils, youth workers, young people, housing associations and other employers. In the summer of 2010 they produced their own film “Sex Drags and Rock n Roll” documenting their efforts to raise awareness of homophobia and hate crime and promote equality and diversity. Directed by 19 year old Jess Wignall, the film has been chosen for the 2010 BFI London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival.