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Kickstarter, Angela and Luchia, Invisible Women, lesbians, documentary, Manchester, distribution costs, The women’s story, particularly the story of regional working-class women, has largely been ignored.

Invisible Women is a short documentary aiming to tell the untold story of the North West of England’s LGBTQ past over the last 50 years through the lens of two women’s incredible journey of activism and rebellion.

Angela and Luchia have spent the last half a century fighting for their rights as women and as lesbians.

Their work revolutionised Manchester and transformed the lives of thousands of women and yet no record of them exists in the city’s archives. Their story risks disappearing from history.

So 2018 – the year that marks the centenary since some women won the right to vote and the 30th anniversary since Thatcher enacted Section 28 – is the year to bring the invisible women out from the shadows of history.

To see the trailer, click here.

The story starts in Manchester, in 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.

Luchia is at her lowest ebb when she 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.

And when the police ask Angela and Luchia to start looking after battered wives, Manchester’s first women’s refuge is formed.

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 women to reunite and transform the city once again.

This film matters because although 2017 witnessed a rich variety of programmes and films that explored the 50 years since the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality the vast majority of the work focused almost exclusively on the experience of white, middle-class gay men from London.

The women’s story, and particularly the story of regional working-class women, has largely been ignored.

While the film is ostensibly about Angela and Luchia’s personal and political journey, director Alice Smith and producer Joe Ingham are using the relationship to explore Manchester and, in particular, the forgotten and, 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. Angela and Luchia are still very much fighting for their rights and the rights of LGBTQ people in Manchester.

The Kickstarter raised the initial target to cover the edit costs, but finance is still needed to get this film out into the community, to schools and festivals. So any further money will now be used to do this important task.

Please do keep donating and sharing to make this happen.

Thank you!

And if you are in Birmingham on 13 November you can see the documentary at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery in Chamberlain Square. For details click here.

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