Ruth Hunt on Virginia Woolf, LGBTQ history, and Section 28

Ruth Hunt is one of Britain’s leading LGBTQ campaigners. She has played a central role in campaigning for same sex marriage in England and Wales and access to fertility treatment for lesbians. After becoming chief executive of LGBTQ rights charity Stonewall in 2014, Hunt spearheaded the organisation's commitment to campaigning for trans equality. She is credited with transforming Stonewall from an LGB charity to a fully trans-inclusive LGBTQ charity during her tenure.

Stonewall was founded in the UK as a response to Section 28 — a law passed in 1988 by Margaret Thatcher that stopped councils and schools "promoting the teaching of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship." In this episode of History Becomes Her, Hunt discusses how this law affected people who went to school during the time this legislation was in effect and reflected on her own experience growing up in that era. Hunt also talks about about the straightwashing and erasure of LGBTQ history and her love for author Virginia Woolf.

Hunt left Stonewall in 2019, and that year, she was made a Crossbench peer in the House of Lords. She now runs Deeds and Words, a consultancy that works to build inclusive cultures in workplaces. Her book, The Book of Queer Prophets: 24 Writers on Sexuality and Religion, is out now.

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Special thanks to Ruth Hunt and Deeds and Words.


Creator and host: Rachel Thompson

Producers: Maria Dermentzi and Nikolay Nikolov

Editor: Shannon Connellan

Music: Christianne Straker

Illustration: Vicky Leta

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