LGBT+ History Month 2023

February is LGBT+ History month. The LLC was asked to arrange a display of books  to highlight  some of the material we have –  there’s  more material on LGBTQ+ histories/identities available online via  Library Search,  in books,  journal articles, and databases across all subjects.

The titles can be viewed on the Recommend a Resource Libguide  as well as below.

If there’s a title/author you think should be represented in our collections,   email with the details.

LGBT History Month February 2023. Book display - Main Library Foyer. Photo: Y.McK
LGBT+ History Month February 2023. Book display – Main Library Foyer. Photo: Y.McK

LGBT History Month Scotland  website


Some primary sources for LGBT+ History

Our Story Scotland

Outside of the LLC/University of Dundee, the website ‘Our Story Scotland , recording the stories of the LGBT community in Scotland‘   is  a current  oral history research project for LGBT+ voices, you can contact them if you have a story to contribute.  Recordings (and videos) have been archived with the National Library of Scotland, (NLS)  in the ‘OurStoryScotland‘ collection, email for further information.

Their ‘Guide to Lesbian, Gay , Bisexual and Transgender Research  Resources‘  identifies other areas of the NLS  collection relating to LGBT history.

The National Lesbian and Gay Survey (1986-2002)  /Mass Observation

‘Our story Scotland’    references the original Mass Observation project,  which began in 1937 as a means of recording ordinary lives using diaries contributed by volunteer  ‘Observers’.  The Mass Observation project continues to record life in Britain; the archives hold – among other material – the ‘National Lesbian and Gay Survey (NLGS)’ (1986-2002) collection, created by Kenneth Barrow –  a  diary project focussing on homosexual lives in the late 20th century. Participants recorded their daily lives,  and were asked to record  their experiences of  ‘coming out’,  homosexuality and the law,  & other topics.  The collection is housed in the Keep, in Brighton,  there’s also an online catalogue.

National records of Scotland

The National Records of Scotland (NRS) have  a blogpost titled ‘LGBT History Month – Scrap the Section!‘  highlighting some of the resources they have for LGBT+ history – for example on  Section 28,  part of the Local Government Act 1988. which prohibited local authorities from intentionally promoting homosexuality. (Section 28 was abolished in Scotland in 2000).    It’s illustrated  with  materials published at the time in the National Records collections by  Gay rights/advocacy groups campaigning against Section 28; these objects bring a sense of liveliness to historical research.   NRS  also hold the records  of ‘Outright Scotland’  (1969-1983) which began in 1969 as the ‘Scottish minorities group’ supporting the rights of Scottish lesbian, gay and bisexual people.   They  also hold court records, (homosexual acts between consenting adults was illegal in Scotland until 1980), court records may include witness testimony and other documents submitted to the courts.  Links to the National Records of Scotland catalogues &  research guides can be found here

National Archives

The National Archives – the official archives for the UK Government, and England and Wales,  have published a guide to looking for records  on ‘Sexuality and gender identity history‘ . in the National Archives & other sources.  Section 4.3 gives a  list of historical terms used at different times relating to sexuality and gender identity – for instance  character defect, deviant, pervert, sapphism, etc referring to sexuality; hermaphrodite, masquerading, female husband, cross-dressing etc referring to gender identity.  It’s a reminder that  looking at original  documents requires using the vocabulary of the time, whether they’re official records, or personal papers such as letters or diaries.







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