Posted: 14th May 2021
We’re delighted to bring you episode 2 of Pride in Our City – The Podcast!
Pride in Our City – The Podcast brings you a series of introductions and conversations between Podcast host Dan Vo (Dan’s Twitter) and members of the Pride in Our City project team. These local voices will include curators, artists and community members who will be chatting about their involvement in the project and what it means to them to be involved. The Podcast will also take you behind the scenes and keep you in the loop about exciting project updates – including lots of info about our upcoming exhibition… watch this space!
The second episode features Craig Moody ( Craig MESMAC on Facebook) Community Development Worker at Yorkshire MESMAC – Hull, and key member of the Pride in Our City focus group. You’ll hear Craig explain how MESMAC have been involved throughout the project so far, in delivering staff training, contributing content for the digital exhibition and helping to shape the upcoming on-site exhibition. Craig also shares some of his standout moments from the digital Pride in Our City exhibition, including powerful conversations about LGBTQ+ representation in schools, experiences of homophobia and what Pride in Hull means for people today.
About Yorkshire MESMAC
Yorkshire MESMAC is one of the oldest and largest sexual health organisations in the country. They offer free and confidential services to various communities across Yorkshire, including men who have sex with men, people of colour and other marginalised races, sex workers and LGBT+ communities, young people and adults. This includes HIV/STI screening, Condoms and advice on Sexual Health, Sexuality and Gender Identity.
You can find out more about Yorkshire MESMAC and the services they offer on their website here – www.mesmac.co.uk
About Pride in Our City
The Pride in Our City project aims to increase LGBTQ+ representation and inclusion throughout Hull Museums’ research, interpretation, and programming. It is an ongoing project that prioritises co-curation with communities and new understanding of untold narratives.
Now, a focus group of local community advisors and a Lead Creative Artist are working with the Hull Museums team on the next steps of this project, to develop a community-led exhibition, showcasing Hull’s LGBTQ+ history at the Ferens Art Gallery.
Explore the Pride in Our City digital exhibition here: Click Here
Want to keep updated on the Pride in Our City project? Why not sign up to our project mailing list to have updates sent straight to your inbox. Find out more and sign up here: Click Here
Download a copy of the episode transcript here: Click here to download
Dan: Hi everyone, it’s episode 2 of the Hull Museums Pride in Our City Podcast. I’m Dan Vo and over the next few weeks I’ll be sitting down with some amazing local guests who are really involved in this exciting project, who are going to give you a sneak peek behind the scenes. It’s all building towards an exhibition that’s going to be on display at Ferens Art Gallery, which means you’ll be able to come and visit. Which means, yes, for realsies there’s going to be an exhibition you can come see! So as part of this podcast you’re going to meet some of the people who are the organisers, makers and creators as well as our newly appointed artist in residence, Matthew Sedman, so stick with the series to meet Matthew later on.
Today we’ve got Craig Moody from Yorkshire MESMAC, which is one of the oldest and largest sexual health organisations in the country. Craig is on the steering group for Pride in Our City and was heavily involved with the digital exhibition. In fact, if you actually go onto the Hull Museums social media posts around Pride, you’re very likely to come across his videos interviewing local folk, which is something we’re going to be talking about today, but it makes Craig something of a community superstar. So, over to you Craig.
Craig: Hi, I’m Craig Moody from Yorkshire MESMAC. I work for Yorkshire MESMAC as a community development worker specialising in working with the LGBT community. Yorkshire MESMAC is a sexual health prevention and promotion charity. We have a lot of different services across Yorkshire, but I work for the Hull base. So, we work with anybody that’s in Hull around sexual health, sexual health screening, sexuality, maybe helping people come to terms with their sexuality sometimes or understanding their sexuality a bit better. And we do a lot of outreach work into communities.
Dan: Can you tell me what you’ve been doing with Hull Museums and tell me about how the relationship between Yorkshire MESMAC and Hull Museums has sort of developed?
Craig: So, it’s been quite a long running relationship really over the last year or so, when Hull Museums decided that they wanted to look at doing the Pride in Our City project, and originally they were wanting to do some physical exhibitions. They decided that first off it was best to upskill the museums and the staff at the museums in LGBT awareness. So, they approached Yorkshire MESMAC to deliver some training to them on LGBT awareness, something that we do for free for professionals within Hull.
Dan: And what sorts of things do you cover in the training?
Craig: So, in our LGBT awareness training, we cover some very basic things about LGBT awareness. So, things like pronouns and how to make sure you’re using the correct pronouns with people and asking people for those pronouns. But also, some of the effects that stigma and prejudice has on the LGBT community and how that may affect them in their adult life as well as in their youth and in their teenage years. And it’s a space to, through workshops, help people to explore maybe some of the things about the LGBT community that they don’t understand and be able to ask questions…
And then following on from that they wanted me to get involved in working with their steering group as somebody who’s got a lot of links with the LGBT community. And then the pandemic happened, and we all went into lockdown and all of those plans just went right out of the window, but with Pride in Hull being cancelled that year we still thought it was really important to have something that the LGBT community could engage with, with the museums.
That’s where all of the video discussions that we did was born from, we sort of came up with the idea of getting people to talk about what Pride in Hull meant to them and why they thought it was so important. A lot of it was done through video interviews that I did with people. And then people also submitted pieces of writing, poetry or even photos that they had that that had some significance to them or brought back some specific memories around Pride in Hull. It was a really great project not only because it’s great to hear why Pride is so important for people, but also because of the lockdown and people weren’t able to go out anywhere and people were quite socially isolated, it was just quite nice to be able to have those conversations with people. And a lot of the time really positive conversations when it seemed like it was in a time where there wasn’t much positivity, and everything was quite difficult.
And then following on from that, it was a massive success. It was more of a success than we ever expected it really, but we actually got some really great interactions, and a lot of people were just really excited to be able to share their stories about what Pride meant to them and about why it’s so important.
Dan: If you go to the Hull Museums page on YouTube, there’s actually 20 of your wonderful conversations with people, and they’re people from the community and it is on Zoom, but it is sparky, and beautiful, and shiny, and it’s really lovely to hear some of the things that you talk about. And you’ve actually picked three for us today.
Craig: I have yes.
Dan: It’s tough to pick your favourites, but you have had to…
Craig: Absolutely. And of course, I don’t have favourites, but there’s three videos and a moment within each of those videos that I felt really passionate about and that I think are definitely worth people going and having to watch. The first one of those was with Chris, who is one of the Roundheads, which is the LGBT inclusive rugby team, and Chris was talking about when we had the 50 queers for 50 years art display within the Pride in Hull 2017 parade.
Dan: Which, of course, marked the 50th anniversary of the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality in England and Wales.
Craig: And that’s why they came up with 50 years. And the whole thing was LGBT 50. And what they did is they created 50 different queer icon with the community, they had the community to come in and to help actually make them, decide who they would be. Things like that. And the one that Chris got was Caroline Duffy, who is a lesbian poet. And the thing that I loved about it was not only how much he loved being involved in that, but the fact that he was able to keep the Caroline Duffy piece and he’s actually put it up in his classroom, he’s a teacher. And in his video, he talks about how just having that peace there has started so many conversations around sexuality and LGBT identity just by the kids in his classroom asking him what it was and why it’s there.
Craig: Do you have any keepsakes or souvenirs you’ve kept to remind you of Pride in Hull and why?
Chris: Yeah, actually, they let me keep the Caroline Duffy
Craig: I was hoping you’d say that!
Chris: It’s massive, it’s a big portrait of Caroline Duffy. It’s amazing. It’s actually up in my classroom, I have it in my classroom at work. So, it’s always a talking point for kids, not only because I teach her poems at school and she’s on the GCSE syllabus, but it then allows a conversation to start naturally about sexuality and, “Where’s that come from? Why do you have that for?” which leads me onto talk about Pride, and that I’ve marched, why do I march. As I say, I just think that it’s so important to be open in terms of these subjects and I think the kids really appreciate it when you treat them like an adult and allow them to ask questions, which… I don’t think people get to ask questions that often and probably for the reasons we’ve already spoken about, people don’t know what to say because sexuality is so tied up with sex it’s sort of a bit taboo, it’s a bit of an embarrassing situation. It’s a bit embarrassing to talk about that. But I think just being open and honest, and respectful… it pays off.
Craig: So, in that clip, Chris talking about how it really pays off… and it really does. It gives young people an option to maybe talk about sexuality or ask questions about sexuality that they might have. Knowing that they’ve got a teacher that they can talk to is really powerful for kids, because it might be the only person that they feel like they can trust to open up with about their own experiences of sexuality.
Dan: It was a beautiful choice, and next up?
Craig: So, in the next video, we’ve got Liam who is also one of the Roundheads and in his video he talks about some homophobia that he’d experienced recently while he was out doing shopping. This was a really important moment for me because he talked about how he didn’t challenge it in that moment and that he kind of struggled with that a little bit. And I think that’s something that happens quite a lot with the LGBT community is we face some sort of prejudice or stigma or hate, and some people are really confident and comfortable in challenging that head-on, but for a lot of us, it’s really difficult to do that. And it might be that we don’t feel safe, or it might be that we’re just completely caught off guard. And quite a lot of the time when I’m talking to people, I hear the same sorts of things of, “somebody said this to me, somebody did this, and I didn’t challenge it, and I feel really bad about that,” and I think the one thing that people can take away from this video is that you don’t always have to be the person that’s challenging hate, especially when it’s directed towards you. I think the important thing is that you’re safe and you’re OK, and if you’re feeling bad about not challenging something don’t feel bad because at the end of the day, it’s a really hard experience for any of us to go through within the LGBT community. And sometimes the best thing for us is to just keep going and make sure we’re able to keep going. Also, if you do feel like you want to do something about it, then you can come and contact Yorkshire MESMAC, we can give you some support around what’s happened. And if you want, we can also help you in speaking to the police about potentially reporting a hate crime.
Craig: Why do you think Pride is so important for our city?
Liam: I mean, I’m lucky enough not to have experienced, sort of, hate or homophobia too much throughout my adult life. Certainly, in school I used to receive a lot of comments and bullying. You kinda just grow a thick skin to it. Well, I did anyway, I’m not saying everybody is that way. But it was only the other day, I was actually shopping in the supermarket. And, of course, with social distancing and things like that, there was this guy literally breathing down my neck. I just literally, politely asked him if he would take a step back. And while I won’t repeat fully what he said, because it’s not exactly PC, but he essentially responded with a few swear words and called me “gay boy” which, you know, kind of took me aback really, because I thought we’d come so far, and I’ve never really experienced that in adult life before maybe only once or twice.
So, it was kind of a surprise to still, sort of, see that it goes on, especially in our home city as well. Which is why I think it’s important again, you know, that we have Pride. So, the people that do show hate, or maybe don’t understand the LGBT community, it gives them a chance to, sort of, rethink their wrong stance on how they treat people.
Craig: So then following on from Liam and something that was quite a harrowing experience, we’ve got Dan next, as the last one that I’ve chosen, and Dan’s video is absolutely amazing. And what they talk about is why Pride is so important for them and how pride makes them feel. And the big takeaway from that is one of the amazing things about going to Pride in Hull or any Pride event is that you’re able to be your true, authentic self. And it’s a safe and comfortable space to do that.
And for a lot of us, we don’t feel like we’re able to be our true, authentic self in our daily lives. And for many of us Pride is that one day of the year, or that one event, where we can go be ourselves, be unapologetically queer, and it’s OK and that we are loved and that we’re surrounded by people with similar and shared experiences.
Craig: Why do you think Pride in Hull is important to our city?
Dan: It’s important to our city because it’s not just some festival where people can go and get drunk and have a good time, like as well, like yeah, you can do that, but like at the same time, you’re celebrating who you are and you’re able to be there without any judgment, whereas on the streets nowadays, like, a lot of people tend to get judged for how they dress or how they present themselves. But at Pride, like, you don’t have to worry about being judged or anything. Yeah. That’s why I think it’s important.
Dan: I think the clips that you’ve chosen, Craig, have just been lovely. I’d love to find out why you think these conversations are important, especially when it comes to Hull Museums and how it sort of fits into the overall picture for Pride in Our City.
Craig: I think these conversations are so important, because for us as LGBT and queer communities, being able to just have these conversations and share our experience is a great way to let off some of that negativity that we might’ve been holding on for a long time, or to be able to share those great positive experiences that we’ve had about being a member of the LGBT community.
I also think it’s really important for the wider community to be able to hear these things. Quite often, things are thrown around and saying that, you know, now that we’ve got things like equality, we don’t need Pride or everything’s OK for the LGBT community, but it’s not, we do still face a lot of issues. We do still face a lot of hate and I think by having these conversations, it’s helping to educate the wider community on why we need things like Pride and why it’s important to keep pushing for our equality and our rights. And I think the extra added value of having these within the museums is that a lot of kids will go to the museums when they’re at school, you know, they’ll go on school trips and having things like Pride in Our City, seeing that as a young person could be that little beacon of hope for that young person who is struggling with their sexuality or struggling with their gender identity to tell them that they are not alone and that there’s not something wrong with them. And I think that’s so important.
So, I’ve now met Matthew Sedman, who is the lead artist on the Pride in Our City project for Hull museums and Ferens Art Gallery. And I really can’t wait to explore this. I’d like to see all of these stories built into this live exhibition, and there’s only so much that they’re going to be able to do. But I think the one thing that I would look to see is for there to be some continuation of this as well. You know, I can’t wait to see the live exhibition, I really do think it’s going to be amazing. I think the most important thing is that there’s always some continued presence in terms of LGBT communities within the museums.
By including LGBT communities within the museums, something that isn’t necessarily seen as an LGBT space, means that it’s going to get people thinking when they’re just going about their day-to-day lives, exploring through museums and exploring through art galleries. And I think that’s going to have such a powerful impact on society as a whole.
Dan: And definitely an impact on the people you work with at Yorkshire MESMAC.
Craig: Thinking about some of the younger kids that I work with at Yorkshire MESMAC, I’d love to hear from them that they’ve gone into a museum and they see this thing and it’s helped them to realize that they are normal, and they should be celebrated. And I’d love to see how that can build that confidence within that young person. When you have a young gay kid and you give them confidence in being who they are and being able to be their true, authentic self, that means that they are going to flourish in the rest of their life. And it’s not something that holds them back. And that’s an amazing thing because it means that that person knows that they have a place in society, they’re able to contribute to our society, and they’re able to get the most enjoyment out of their life that they should be able to, and that we all should be able to.
Dan: Well that’s a lovely thought to end on, so thank you so much Craig.
This has been the Pride in Our City podcast for Hull Museums you can find us on social media on Twitter as @Hull_Museums. The podcast was produced by me and edited by Samuel Gunn. I’ve been Dan Vo, you can find me @DanNouveau on Twitter. And Craig, I’m just going to drag you back in to tell everybody how they can get in touch with Yorkshire MESMAC.
Craig: So if you want more information Yorkshire MESMAC and about what we’re doing, check out our website MESMAC.co.uk, follow us on social media @YorkshireMESMAC. And if you’re in Hull and you need some support or you need to test, then just give us a call on 01482 291 190.
Dan: Thank you Craig. Now if you liked what you heard, do rate, review and subscribe, there are plenty of chats coming up so stay tuned and if you want to get involved, please or find out more about Pride in Our City it’s very easy to do.
I’m going to actually do it with you right now. So, I’m just going to grab my iPad and I’m going to type in humbermuseums.com and if you just have a quick look on the website already you can see so many links to Pride in Our City. There’s the podcast episode one with Lauren Field you can listen to, there’s a little get to meet me, Dan Vo, blog post, and there’s also a little bit about the digital exhibition as well. But the most important one is Pride in Our City how to get involved, you can see that little link there, you can click on that and fill in your details and join the mailing list. But, if the website does change, all you need to do is go to that very top bar that says search and just put in Pride in Our City. I’m also going to give you our email as well, just to give you another way to get in touch with us, so it’s firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks very much and I’ll see you again soon. Bye!