Diva Debate – Forbidden Lives



Forbidden Lives

Join author Diana Souhami (The Trials of Radclyffe Hall, Mrs Keppel and Her Daughter), Nigerian activist and LGBT Equality Advocate Aderonke Apata, The Rt Hon. The Baroness Barker and Valentino Vecchietti, intersex activist, lesbian, and independent academic and writer Stephanie Theobald (Trix, Biche) as they discuss forbidden lesbian and bi women’s lives from the past to the present with DIVA editor Jane Czyzselska.

Panellist Bios:


Jane Czyzselska is the editor of DIVA magazine and also a qualified counsellor. She frequently hosts debates and writes for DIVA and other publications on issues of sexuality and gender, and was voted 27th in the 2015 Independent on Sunday’s Rainbow list.


Diana Souhami is the author of many biographies of lesbians including Gertrude and Alice, Gluck: Her Biography, The Trials of Radclyffe Hall, the bestselling Mrs Keppel and Her Daughter, and Natalie and Romaine. She is three times winner of the US Lambda Literary Award for best gay writing and has also won the Whitbread Prize for Biography.

The Rt Hon The Baroness Liz Barker
Liz is the CEO of ThirdSectorBusiness a management consultancy which specialises in charities and social enterprises in the UK and internationally. Liz has been a Liberal Democrat Peer since 1999. She was health spokesperson till 2010 and is now spokesperson on charities and social enterprise. Having worked on the Adoption and Children Act, the repeal of Section 28 and the Civil Partnership Act, Liz came out during the Same Sex Marriage Bill second reading. She is Vice-Chair of the APPG on Global LGBTI Rights, frequently raising LGBTI issues and is the first person to hold a debate on LBT women’s issues in parliament.

Stephanie Theobald’s new memoir, Sex Drive describes a road trip across America in search of her lost libido. It is radical in its honesty about sexuality and self-pleasure and BBC Arts dubbed her earlier this year, “a fearless female outlaw who is walking the walk and talking the talk.” She has published four previous novels and is a regular contributor to the Sunday Times, the Guardian and Elle. www.mysexdrive.org

Aderonke Apata is a Human Rights Activist, Feminist and LGBT Equality Advocate who has a BSc in Microbiology and subsequently a Masters of Public Health and Primary Care. Winner Positive Role Model for LGBT National Diversity Award 2014, where she was described as “an unstoppable force in fighting for justice”, she is number 41 & 67 on the RanbowList2014 & RainbowList2015 respectively as one of the most influential LGBT people in the UK. Aderonke was named LGBT Heroine of the year 2015 by DIVAMagazine in recognition of her achievements in the LGBT community. Aderonke is the founder of African Rainbow Family, an LGBT group that supports LGBTIQ asylum seekers and people of African heritage in UK and campaigning for the Repeal of the toxic Nigerian Anti-LGBTIQ Law. She also started Manchester Migrant Solidarity, a self help group offering practical supports and building a powerful political voice against the systematic mistreatment of migrants in the UK.
Subsequently, Aderonke was appointed a Patron of Proud2BeProject in Totnes that support LGBT+ people.
As part of Aderonke’s commitment to challenge issues facing minorities and internalising the space and gap in services available for LGBTIQ asylum seekers experiencing domestic violence, she was appointed a Trustee Board member of Broken Rainbow UK the domestic violence charity and ReachOUT Leeds, a charity that supports LGBT Refugees and Asylum Seekers. Aderonke’s fight against barriers for equal access to the political system, her ongoing campaign for equality has been recognised when she was elected as the BAME Officer, National LGBT Labour in 2014. This is to call upon all BAME LGBTs in the UK to raise their voices and demand accountability of politicians.

Valentino Vecchietti is a writer, independent academic, and intersex activist. Their recent short graphic comic, IN-OUT: Gender Through The Brexit Lens, which was a collaboration with illustrator Aindri Chakraborty, (a member of Kadak collective) was exhibited at the Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan, Bangalore, India, for Gender Bender 2016. The story is an intersectional piece which examines gender identity, and the politics of binary. The protagonist takes us through the parallels between the Brexit IN-OUT referendum and their own lesbian, intersex, identity. In their academic work they are published in Transgender Identities, in which they co-authored the chapter (In)Visibility in the Workplace: The Experiences of Trans-Employees in the UK. In their activist work they have exhibited at Channel 4 as part of the Memorandum of Understanding, and have advised production companies. They have given presentations for the British Film Institute, as well as Q&A’s and panel discussions. They have also contributed to Diva magazine, and are currently working on a project which seeks to increase the visibility of Intersex people through public engagement.

Venue & Booking

VenueUnity Theatre
DateThurs 3 November
Tickets£5 / £4 conc
AddressUnity Theatre, 1 Hope Place, Liverpool, L1 9BG
Book Tickets