IDAHO 2007

"Queer Fucker!" planted on Tottenham Court Road.



During the IDAHO event organised in association with Camden LGBT Forum ‘The Pansy Project’ evolved yet again; the way the Forum embraced the project and interpreted it in their own way enhances for me what the project is: A way of dealing with the constant hate still directed at large swathes of gay people.

After the plantings at each location Lou would read a list of the abuse that had been received in the nearby area; the information collated with the help of the police is testament to the veracity of the incidents that have been reported, as you can see on the main site and here on the blog. It never ceases to amaze me that people still feel able to express this hatred without shame.

However the way in which the assembled group reacted to the reading of this torrent of abuse was very moving a mixture of reluctant acceptance and restrained anger. The event and ‘The Pansy Project’ generally enabled a context for a response that seemed calm and gentle and as we as a group left each collection of pansies in the world I felt very moved.

For me it is important that the pansies are unmarked, if each pansy was marked it would somehow alter their reading; the queerness of them at the base of one tree here and there adds to the peculiarity of the work. It would alienate a wider audience if they were labelled an anti-homophobia statement, this way the work will gradually reveal itself to the curious passerby. (Above a picture of me photographing a pansy, and below Lou Hart reading the list of abuse; pictures Chris Buckley)


IDAHO plantings

"Fuck off and die Faggots!" planted on Tottenham Court Road, in the shadow of Centre Point.

For the recent IDAHO event I was involved with a two projects I was delighted to be able to show a selection of photographs at Tooks Chambers. The opening was on the evening of the 17th May and was an interesting event with some speakers and a chance to see 11 photographs of pansies from Margate to New York. The exhibition is open until July 13th when a closing event will take place, including an auction of the photographs that will help raise funds for global charities dealing with homophobia.

Above a participant planting an additional pansy at Tottenham Court Road

This event was preceded by a planting session in association with Camden LGBT Forum. The forum had collated a list of 100 locations with the help of the local police. I and a group of volunteers then went across Camden planting 100 pansies at five locations which operated as a symbolic hub for the abuse that had been experienced. All the locations are viewable at the main website here are few more images of the plantings and the participants getting involved. Below is 'Gays the Word' in Bloomsbury the famous lesbian and gay bookshop, we planted pansies near to the shop to mark the ongoing spitting, graffiting and verbal abuse the shop and it's employees have experienced over the years.


IDAHO } Tooks Chambers } Camden LGBT Forum

On May 17th Tooks Chambers, ( 8 Warner Yard, Warner Street, EC1R 9EY) LAGLA and Camden LGBT Forum present Paul Harfleet’s Pansy Project as part of a two month series of events to mark IDAHO (International Day Against Homophobia). On May 17th Paul will be marking 100 locations where homophobic abuse has been reported with 100 pansies; one pansy will be planted at each site located across the borough of Camden. Every pansy will be photographed and placed on his website: www.thepansyproject.com.

This will coincide with an exhibition of photographs showing at Tooks Chambers the series of pictures mark where Paul Harfleet has experienced homophobic abuse in the streets, each picture shows a pansy which has been planted and entitled after the abuse received an example of which is shown above. At a closing event on July 13th the exhibition will be supplemented by pictures taken during the 100 pansy planting event. Money raised from a subsequent auction will be donated to organisations that help the victims of homophobia across the world: JFLAG (Jamaica), Mozaika (Latvia), Aswat (Palestine) and GALZ (Zimbabwe).

Tooks Chambers was founded on 1st May 1984 at the height of the Miners' Strike. Much of the early work of members was defending miners wrongly accused of riot and affray. From that beginning, Tooks has grown to be a large modern and efficient chambers offering services across a wide range of civil and criminal law, but it is still driven by the profound belief in human rights and civil liberties for all www.tooks.co.uk. Camden LGBT Forum undertakes a range of projects designed to improve services for LGBT people in the borough, notably in connection with homophobic, biphobic and transphobic harassment and hate crime. The forum works in collaboration with the police and the council where appropriate to tackle problems faced by the LGBT communities. www.camdenlgbtforum.org.uk. LAGLA is the Lesbian and Gay Lawyers Association for England and Wales. Although most of our members are in London we have members all over the country. We have regular parties where members can meet other gay and lesbian lawyers and make contact in a social informal atmosphere. We also organise lectures, seminars and conferences. www.lagla.org.uk