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LGBT collections

Administrative/Biographical History

Since the decriminalisation of homosexuality in 1967, there has been significant progress towards LGBT equality on both legal and social fronts. The archives in this collection cover papers of key individuals and campaign groups such as Peter Tatchell and Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners.

Key UK legislation:
• 1553: Although already proscribed under Canon Law, ‘buggery’ was first made a criminal offence
• 1861: The Offences Against the Person Act consolidated this provision, together with the further offence of ‘indecent assault’, which had emerged within common law during the 18th century
• 1885: The Criminal Law Amendment Act was passed making any act of ‘gross indecency’ between men a criminal offence, whether it occurred in public or in private
• 1898: ‘Cruising’ streets, parks or urinals was criminalised as the offence of ‘importuning’ through the Vagrancy Act and the Criminal Law Amendment Act (1912)
• 1921: The House of Lords rejected a proposed new offence of acts of gross indecency between women under the Criminal Law Amendment Bill
• 1957: The Wolfenden Committee recommended that private homosexual acts between consenting adults should no longer be a criminal offence
• 1967: Following campaigns from gay political organisations the Wolfenden recommendations were enacted into law
• 2001: The age of consent was lowered to 16 in England, Wales and Scotland for gay men and became equal for all
• 2009: The age of consent for gay men in Northern Ireland was lowered from 17 to 16

 

Sources

Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB) 1920-1991
The CPGB collection contains many references to the LGBT community mainly in connection with the Lesbian and Gays support the Miners campaign. For other Communist Party records please see www.a2a.org.uk and search the online catalogue.
CP/IND/MISC/21/09 Chris Birch papers – Lesbian & Gay Advisory Committee (London District) – Correspondence and minutes of meetings 1984-1986 especially relating to support for the miners. Also articles from the CP press on gay liberation. Also includes some miscellaneous LDCP / CP leaflets.
CP/ORG/MISC/2/4 Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners – copy correspondence of LGSM secretary Mike Jackson, mainly with other solidarity groups; includes Dulais Valley Miners Support Group; Notts Women’s Support Groups; Newham Monitoring Project; Black Delegation to the Miners; City of London Polytechnic Gay Society.
CP/ORG/MISC/2/3 Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners – TS minutes (incomplete) of weekly meetings 15.7.84 (inaugural meeting) to 18.11.84 includes some minutes of Dulais Valley sub-group
CP/ORG/MISC/2/6 Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners – leaflets and duplicated materials of LGSM and other solidarity groups with a few photocopied press cuttings
CP/ORG/MISC/2/5 Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners – scrapbook with cuttings and copy correspondence of LGSM secretary Mike Jackson; correspondents include Tony Benn; Black Delegation to the Miners; Gay CND; Steve Bell; GLC Gay and Lesbian Working Party; NALGO Metropolitan District Lesbian.
CP/CENT/EC/15/11 EC materials 1976 – Agenda and minutes; correspondence with Middlesborough CPGB and with PUWP concerning sentencing of price rise demonstrators in Poland; report of Mongolian congress; EC statement on Gay rights; other documents.
CP/CENT/EC/15/13 EC materials 1977 – Agenda and minutes; Gordon McLennan’s notes; correspondence, including with John Hoffman on Gay rights
CP/CENT/SUBJ/01/03 Communist Party central subject files: Gay Rights – Leaflets and documents on gay rights, some of them sent to the CPGB gay rights committee
CP/CENT/SUBJ/01/02 Communist Party central subject files: Trials and defence committees – Collection of pamphlets and leaflets relating to state persecution of workers, left activists and other worthy elements, including the Rosenbergs, Gerhart Eisler, Gay News, Soledad brothers etc. Does not include materials produced by ICWPA, International
CP/CENT/INT/28/01 International Communist Movement Material – CP of Netherlands Gay Conference (1986), papers re CP Netherland plus resolution of its 29th congress (1985), copies of CPN Leden Krant etc, report on 27th congress of Dutch CP (1980), etc
CP/YCL/16/12 Young Communist League – YCL and gay questions (Mark Ashton’s correspondence etc.)
CP/LOC/SCOT/1/3 Scottish District CPGB – Scottish Bulletin (a few only) 1929, 1946, 1952-54, 1983; with Gay Rights Bulletin no 1 1989

Lesbian & Gays Support the Miners (LGSM) 1984-1985
Minutes, correspondence, press releases, fliers, accounts and financial records, ephemera and Labour movement song sheets.

GB 0394 TAT – Peter Tatchell papers, press releases, posters, fliers and cuttings relating to Peter Tatchell and the Outrage! Organisation

Michael Steed papers, Campaign for Homosexual Equality (CHE) Executive Committee, accounts, correspondence, newsletters/bulletins and conference reports, election material, West Yorkshire CHE groups. Northern Ireland Gay Rights Association (NIGRA),

Pamphlets boxes / Books / Leaflets: 320.62 NATIONAL SECULAR SOCIETY Gay Humanist Group Constitution (1981) and 329.72 LIBERAL PARTY, Liberals & Gay Rights (York Area Gay Society, 1978)

Journals:
Gay Humanist. Newsletter of the Gay Humanist Group (Dec 1984/Feb 1985)
Gay Noise (Aug-Nov 1980, 20 Nov 1980, 15 Jan, 12 Feb 1981)
Gay News (1-262; 1972-1983)
Gay Weekly (1-17; 1976-1979)
Out magazine (1976-1977)
Lunch magazine (1972-1973)
Broadsheet, monthly magazine of Campaign for Homosexual Equality (CHE) (1977-1982)

Individual Accessions:
Acc 1435 – Black Lesbian and Gay Support Group leaflet
Acc 1440 – Manchester Lesbian and Gay Chorus, programmes, leaflets, flyers, posters and photographs
Acc 1473 – Lesbian Immigration Support Group leaflet
Acc 571 – Gay Humanist Group papers
Acc 1425 – Digital copy of Mark Ashton’s paper on LGSM “A brief history of Lesbian and Gay Involvement in the Miners’ Strike 1984-1985” by Mark Ashton, prominent member of LGSM, 1986
Acc 191 – Misc leaflets on South Africa, Gay Rights, the Irish Question, Worker’s Revolutionary Party (WRP) and 1971 Industrial Relations Act