Simon Fanshawe



In this episode, co-founder of Stonewall Simon Fanshawe OBE deliberates his involvement in the formation of Stonewall in 1989 in response to Section 28 of the Local Government Act. Discussing gay rights during the height of the AIDS crisis in the 1980s and the stigma of AIDS that would come to mark the 1980s, Fanshawe notes that Stonewall pushed back against Section 28 through an appeal to the right of free speech. Taking up Stonewall’s recent political trajectory that focusses on trans rights which he characterises as the “Trojan horse for gender ideology,” Fanshawe elaborates how this essentialist ideology has moved against the rights and interests of women and gay men and lesbians while gaining enormous academic traction where the political today has become personal. Fanshawe addresses the paucity of diversity of differing points of view within Stonewall today expanding upon how a community’s struggle for freedom has been subsumed by a highly individualistic narrative where personal identity does not match material reality. Covering the history of camp within gay culture, Fanshawe analyses the drag queen who transgresses social codes simply because there is no pretence of “the real.” In drag there is no affirmation of identity—there is only camp which exposes “the flaw in masculinity” which lies in direct contrast to gender ideology’s “dull conformity that’s demanded by this lack of humour.”