Invisible Women: LGBTQ Revolutionaries
Bringing to life Manchester's LGBTQ history through the story of two incredible unsung heroes
Angela, wearing what was new then - a lesbian badge.
Invisible Women is a short documentary that doesn't quite exist - but we can change that.
Through the lens of two working class women’s incredible journey of activism and rebellion, this documentary hopes to tell the untold story of the north west’s LGBTQ history, but the team behind it need our help to make it a reality.
Mancunian's Angela and Luchia have spent the last half a century fighting for their rights as women and as lesbians. Their work has revolutionised Manchester and transformed the lives of thousands of women, yet no record of them exists in the city’s archives.
Their's is a story that risks disappearing from history - but not if director Alice Smith (BBC 4, PBS, National Geographic, Discovery Channel) and producer Joe Ingham (The People's History of LGBT Britain, BBC 4, and Is Love Racist, C4) can help it...
WHY THIS FILM MATTERS
The year 2017 witnessed a rich variety of programmes and films that explored the 50 years since the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality. However, the vast majority of that work focused almost exclusively on the experience of white, middle class gay men from London - women’s stories, and particularly the story of regional working-class women, has largely been ignored.
While Invisible Women is ostensibly about Angela and Luchia's personal and political journey, Alice and Joe use the two women's relationship to explore Manchester and, in particular, the - up until now - untold story of the north west’s LGBTQ past through a working class lens of rebellion and activism which is still alive today.
LUCHIA AND ANGELA'S STORY
Manchester, 1969. Luchia Fitzgerald, a teenage lesbian runaway from Ireland struggles to survive on the streets of Manchester. She’s arrested and sent for a lobotomy to cure her of her “deviant sexual tendencies”. Luchia escapes the lobotomy to seek solace in the New Union, a pub at the epicentre of Manchester’s underground gay community.
At her lowest ebb, Luchia hears a female student at the next table giving voice to every frustration she felt - Luchia pulls up a chair to listen. That student was Angela and this chance encounter sparked a relationship that has endured fifty years of euphoric highs and earth-shattering lows in the struggle to change life for all women.
Under Angela’s wing Luchia is educated and politicised through the burgeoning women’s lib movement of the 1970s. The pair fall in love and form the Manchester branch of the GLF (Gay Liberation Front). Together they experiment with activism, beginning by painting, “Lesbians are everywhere” in yellow across Manchester.
The couple then progress to helping form a rock band, opening a printing press, and squatting a house that would become the city’s first women’s centre inspiring other local women in the process. When the police ask Angela and Luchia to start looking after battered wives, Manchester’s first women’s refuge is formed.
Above: Luchia and Angela handing out leaflets in 1970.
As their work gains a momentum of its own and changes lives beyond the city, Angela and Luchia’s love affair begins to falter. The GLF disbands, the band splits up, and the printing press closes. It’s the 1980s and things are moving backwards not forwards...
Set against this landscape of apathy comes a bombshell: Thatcher’s repressive Section 28 bill. It is this attack against their hard-won rights that forces the two women to reunite and transform the city of Manchester once again.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
Until now Alice and Joe have entirely self-funded the project using their own camera kit to shoot. They've been supported by Manchester's Peoples' History Museum, Manchester Central Library, Contact Theatre and the Bishopsgate institute in London who have all offered either free filming locations or archive material.
Now, the pair have a provisional premiere date: Manchester Pride, 24 – 27 August 2018, but in order to complete the film in time they need funding to license archive material, pay for the edit, and commission a score. Feeling inspired..?
Watch a preview of Invisible Women and view the film's Kickstarter page here. And remember, every little helps. #InvisibleWomen 🐝
This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal of £2,500 by 15 July 2018.
Only reading DIVA online? You're missing out. For more news, reviews and commentary, check out the latest issue. It's pretty badass, if we do say so ourselves.