Bringing same-sex and gender non-conforming works to the fore tells stories that were once actively suppressed. It also raises questions about whose histories museums represent, writes David Shariatmadari.
'‘Let’s let them know we’re all here,” says Dan Vo, addressing a crowd of at least 100 in a space just off the domed entrance hall of London’s Victoria and Albert Museum. It’s the hottest day of the year so far, and the people fanning themselves with gallery maps have come to join the monthly LGBTQ tour, which Vo, a volunteer, helped set up four years ago. “On the count of three,” he bellows, “we’re just going to shout ‘queer’ – celebrating Stonewall, remembering how hard we fought to be here. One, two, three…” The word echoes off the barrel vaults of the sculpture hall and subsides as we head off in different directions – the tour is so popular that the group has to be split into at least six parties. Visitors are shown 10 or so objects throughout the museum, from a dress designed by Jean Cocteau to a sandstone sculpture of half-female, half-male deity Ardhanarishvara. The guides, who select the objects, are also volunteers, although the tours have been endorsed from on high: “Tristram [Hunt, the museum’s director] does write us very supportive letters,” Vo says. At the end, everyone goes for a drink.' ... Keep reading on The Guardian