New book celebrates Island LGBTQ+ lives

Paul Armfield, Caroline Diamond, Franco Figueiredo-stow, Peter Harrigan

StoneCrabs Theatre have celebrated LGBTQ+ History Month at Carisbrooke Castle and the launch of their Out On An Island project’s book and exhibition.

Recently Carisbrooke Castle museum’s curator, Rachel Tait, welcomed everyone to the exhibition which will be on display at the museum until July 31. The exhibition features an LGBTQ+ timeline of events of historical importance both locally and nationally. There are portraits of some of the 20 people who were interviewed for the project; these oral histories form the foundation of the book. Exhibition memorabilia includes passports from Phaedra Kelly who coined the term ‘Gender Transient’ and Wightout LGBTQ+ newsletters printed at St Mary’s Hospital in the 1990s.

Peter Harrigan of Medina Publishing introduced the book saying: “We’re dealing with oral history and written history, lots of images, with a lot of research; it was a really challenging project and working with StoneCrabs we learned a lot. StoneCrabs drove us with their enthusiasm and in these 319 pages we have a treasure. This book is a first in modern literature of regional oral history on this subject, and we should be proud to be celebrating its publication. I am very proud to have published it.”

Paul Armfield, of Medina Books in Cowes, said: “It is all recorded candidly and bravely and I am honoured that we have been entrusted with the publication of this inspiring and important book. We are passionate about documenting the cultural heritage of the Island, and this book, and the last book we published, do that.” IW Pride trustee, Andy Newman appealed for volunteers to help with this year’s Pride event on Saturday July 16. Anyone interested should go along to the Riverside Centre in Newport, on Friday 25 March, between 12.30 and 6.30pm.

The book can be purchased at Island bookshops and via For more information contact