Fetish, kink, queer nightlife and LGBTQ+ activism are just a sample of the themes explored in Rebel Dykes, the ground-breaking documentary currently screening in select cinemas across the UK.
Described as “an evocative time capsule” by The Queer Review, the film tells the unheard story of a community of lesbians in 1980s London who went on to radically change the world. The documentary, released last month, follows the Rebel Dykes, the eponymous lesbian collective, in their pursuit of art, music, politics, sex and a mission for LGBTQ+ equality.
A combination of archival footage, animation and interviews, the film draws attention to lesbian life in post-punk London in all its rebellious leather-clad glory. Its 92-minute runtime offers a radical insight into an underrepresented community during a tense political climate for queer people.
It was during this era that the LGBTQ+ community faced threats to their rights, with HIV/AIDS censorship and the introduction of Section 28 by Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative government. This British legislation prohibited the so-called “promotion of homosexuality” by local authorities.
Siobhan Fahey, originally from Liverpool, is the film’s producer. A Rebel Dyke herself during the 1980s, the film is largely inspired by her lived experience after she ran away to London to start a new life in her teens.
The idea for the documentary initially came out of a history project Fahey started back in 2014. With the help of queer directors Harri Shanahan and Siân A. Williams, it later evolved into a feature film.