LGBTQI conference at Bucks


Date: 5th Mar 2018

Rainbow Pilgrims, a Heritage Lottery-funded project exploring the hidden history of LGBTQI migrant and Romany/Travelling communities in the UK, has launched with a 'Freedom to Love' conference at Buckinghamshire New University.

Dominic Arnall, Head of Projects and Programmes at Stonewall, and Leila Zadeh, Executive Director of the UK Lesbian & Gay Immigration Group were among speakers at the event, which focused on migration, identity and faith, during LGBT History Month. 

Speakers also included Pliny Soocoormanee of the Peter Tatchell Foundation; Dr Moira Dustin of Sussex Law School at University of Sussex, and a panel of inter-faith leaders.

Professor Margaret Greenfields

Discussions covered topics from activism in Romani/Traveller communities, to advancing human rights for LGBTQI (Lesbian, Gay Bi, Trans, Queer and Intersex) people, the role of religious leaders in supporting LGBTQI people, and using arts and multi-media techniques like film and music to create debate on key topics and to record personal experiences.

Rainbow Pilgrims aims to discover the hidden history of LGBTQI migrants in the UK past and present and documents connections between faith, sexuality, gender and ethnicity through film and photography. 

The Rainbow Pilgrims online project and touring exhibition will visit Brighton, Manchester and other locations across the UK includes pop-up events, a symposium, cutting-edge learning tools and an archive collection.

Rainbow Pilgrims conference

Professor Margaret Greenfields, Professor of Social Policy and Community Engagement, a member of the advisory board to the project and Chair of the conference, said Rainbow Pilgrims was the first collection collated in Britain to focus on LGBTQI migration history in the context of faith.

Prof Greenfields said: “It is an immense privilege for Bucks New University to act as academic partner in this unique and significant project which enables the voices of migrant, refugee and Romany LGBT+ people to be heard.

“Often members of these hidden groups are excluded or ignored in public discussions on sexual orientation and gender identity and within their own communities, where at times they may face real risk as a result of sexual orientation.

“As such it critically important that the richness and vibrancy of the diverse LGBTQI communities in Britain are revealed, not only to spark awareness but also to enable people to recognise that they are not alone if they chose to come out."

For further information on the Rainbow Pilgrims project see its website at

Photos: Mary Humphrey.


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