By Jemima Sims
Library Assistant in the Main University Library
Founded in 2004, LGBTQIA+ History month is upon us, and the theme is “Behind the Lens”. In February 2023, the UK will celebrate the people behind the scenes of stage and screen, such as costume designers, composers, playwrights, screenwriters, make-up artists and many more. Queer actors and actresses are gaining more visibility than ever, however the people off-screen are often unknown, and their contributions are huge.
The University Library have put together a display, a reading list and some social media posts to celebrate these talented and creative people, beginning with some of the most exciting costume designers in history; Adrian, Orry-Kelly and Patricia Field.
During LGBTQI+ History Month, the Library is blogging and sharing resources on social media to further shed light on the content we have which may be of use in research or for general interest purposes. In preparation for this, we conducted a brief survey of our databases and, in particular, I wanted to see if some of our less obvious databases also contained pertinent content on LGBTQI+ subjects and issues.
Martin Luther King, Jr., reminded us that “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” Change takes a long time, but it does happen and that fight for change also needs people behind it to fight for what is right and fair and to end discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. What we need to avoid, is for the change to be a negative and regressive pulling back of hard fought-for rights.
For 2022, the Library has a great new reading list which includes many new titles that have just arrived in the Library. In addition to new titles, there are also examples of other books and resources which link to the theme ‘Politics in Art: ‘The Arc Is Long’
“The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
This year’s theme is Politics In Art: ‘The Arc Is Long’ taken from Dr Martin Luther King jnr’s quote “The arc of the moral universe is long but it bends towards justice”. The community has faced many setbacks over the years and is still striving for full equality. LGBT+ History Month is all about ‘claiming our past, celebrating our present, creating our future’ so when we celebrate it, we should always be mindful that celebration of successes is always situated within the context of ongoing discrimination. There is a continuing fight for equality which needs to be acknowledged. LGBT+ History Month should not be just a performative gesture with a few rainbows and a tweet saying ‘Happy LGBT+ History Month’.
February is LGTBQ+ history month in the UK and library blog is celebrating by featuring posts about resources for exploring LGTBQ+ lives in the past, present, and future. This first post in our series is about one of our online archives. We would love to hear your comments and questions about the posts: please tweet us @GCWLibrary, email us at email@example.com, or tell us your thoughts in the comments section at the end of the post.
Adam Matthews Explorer (AM Explorer), is one of the library’s newer databases, and contains a huge range of online archives organised around a wide range of themes. Queer histories A collection that might be of particular interest for exploring LGTBQ+ histories in the nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first centuries centuries is Sex and Sexuality. The archive collects the research papers, notes, and interviews of people who have researched sex, sexual behaviour, sexuality from an academic and medical perspective, such as Alfred Kinsey and Norman Haire; and archival collections which focus on lived experiences of individual people.
Even if you have some experience researching for your studies, working with an online archive can sometimes be overwhelming! There are a range of ways to explore the collection in order to find material you are looking for or interested in. You can search for specific names or keywords–if you are searching for particular words and phrases keep in mind that our vocabulary around sex and sexuality has changed a lot (and continues to do so), so you might find it helpful to take a look at the research tools section for ideas. If you are interested in browsing specific topics, like gender identities or art and literature, there’s a feature that lets you browse by topic. And if you struggle to locate material that is relevant to your research or interests, do contact your subject librarian–we’re here to help!