UPCOMING EVENT: Sexuality Studies Program Open House


Please join the Program in Sexuality Studies for an Open House in our newly-revamped lounge space in Smith Building.

We have redesigned the space to be more inviting and to house our fledgling library, donated by alum, Phillip Poovey. We will have good food and drinks and even a few door prizes.

Event Details:
Location: Smith Building, Third Floor
Time/Date: Tuesday, October 8, 4-6PM

Upcoming Event: The ‘challenge of the century’: transnational LGBTQ activism and the birth of Britain’s radical HIV/AIDS movement, from Thatcher to the 1990s.

 The ‘challenge of the century’: transnational LGBTQ activism and the birth of Britain’s radical HIV/AIDS movement, from Thatcher to the 1990s.

The Triangle Global British History Seminar of the Carolina Seminars presents:

George Severs, U. Cambridge, and U California, Riverside

Oct. 11, 4-6pm, National Humanities Center

From Mr. Severs:

This paper examines the history of Section 28 of the UK Local Government Act 1988, which forbade local authorities in the UK from ‘promoting homosexuality’. Section 28 was spoken of in the gay press as the “challenge of the century,” sparking the largest movement of lesbians, gay men and their allies in British history. Despite this, very little scholarly attention has been paid to Section 28, and that which has is often blinkered by assumption.

I take on two major misunderstandings about the Section’s history: that it was the brainchild of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, and that Section 28 had no impact. Though many people in the academy and the media speak of Section 28 as “Thatcher’s Clause,” my research shows that, in fact, Thatcher had no part in its drafting and in its passage through parliament. Her broad assaults on left-wing Labour-controlled councils have been confused with direct support for Section 28, which has served to blind us to the wider cast of actors at work in this story. Moreover, because no council was ever charged with contravening Section 28, many have written it off as an ineffectual piece of legislation. I argue, however, that looking at the last rung of the legal ladder is not a fit model for determining the impact of the law. Instead, I demonstrate that Section 28 was implemented across several councils, with lesbian and gay groups stripped of their funding and ostracised from the local council. Yet the main impact Section 28 had was in creating a large, diverse movement of resistance to it. I chart the history of this international movement, and show how it directly spawned the radical HIV/AIDS movement of the 1990s.

To request a copy of the pre-circulated paper, please write to Prof. Susan Pennybacker (pennybac@email.unc.edu)

This event is co-sponsored by The Triangle Legal History Seminar, The Transnational and Global Modern History Seminar, Department of History (UNC-CH), Program in Sexuality Studies (UNC-CH), and the Center for European Studies (UNC-CH).

FELLOWSHIP OPPORTUNITY: Rural Youth Empowerment Fellowship Program

RYE 2019 Fellowship

The Rural Youth Empowerment Fellowship Program, hosted by the statewide LGBTQ non-profit organization Equality North Carolina, is seeking applicants for their 2019-2020 Fellowship cohort. The deadline for all applicants is 11:59pm on Monday, September 23, 2019.


    • Applicants are between 18-28 years old;
    • Living in rural NC;
    • Strong interest in developing a community-based social justice project serving their communities.

Equality North Carolina is committed to cultivating a diverse cohort of fellows. As such, they especially welcome applicants from underrepresented backgrounds, including but not limited to: black and brown folks, people with disabilities, DACA or undocumented folks, individuals from lower income backgrounds, first generation college/community college students and recent graduates, and/or people living with HIV/AIDS.

For more information, please visit their website here. The application link can be found here. If you have any questions, please email fellowship@equalitync.org.

Upcoming Event: LGBTQ Representation and Complexity in Cinema with Filmmaker Rhys Ernst


Join us for a conversation with filmmaker Rhys Ernst on Thursday, August 29 at 5:30pm in Toy Lounge (4th floor of Dey Hall).

Rhys Ernst is a filmmaker and artist. He was a Producer and Director on Amazon’s Transparent and created the title sequence for the series. Ernst was nominated for a 2015 Emmy Award for directing and producing the webseries Transparent: This Is Me, which won a Special Recognition GLAAD Award. In 2016 he teamed up with Focus Features to create the online series, We’ve Been Around. In addition to the 2014 Whitney Biennial, Ernst has shown work at Sundance, Oberhausen, and The Hammer Museum; he has won awards at Outfest, Chicago International Film Festival and the LA Transgender Film Festival; and he was a Point Scholar, a Project Involve Fellow, and was awarded with the 2015 Point Foundation Horizon Award and the ACLU Liberty Award for his work on transgender representation in the media. He received a BA from Hampshire College and an MFA from CalArts. He just wrapped his feature film, Adam, produced by James Schamus and Howard Gertler, which premiered at the Sundance 2019 Film Festival.

You can find more details about this event on our Events page.