Oral History in the LGBTQ community

I am mainly interested in exploring oral history within the LGBTQ community, particularly with older men and women who have witnessed the changes in the world that have affected their right to equality.  Given that Homosexuality was a criminal offence until 1967, I am curious to better understand how people’s lives have been affected by changes to law, social attitudes, and popular culture.  I would then like to better understand how these people lived prior to the legalisation of their lifestyle.

LGBTQ issues are now a hot-topic issue, particularly with recent releases of films like THE DANISH GIRL and CAROL, and particularly with recent legal and social movements, such as the U.S. Supreme Cpurt ruling, favouring same-sex marriage as being a fundental right.  Clearly, there has been tremendous change in recent years where this community (and the rights of those within) are concerned.  By conducting an Oral Hostory with an older member of the community, I will be able to hear more about his or her life as a closeted (or conversely, persecuted) individual.  Likewise, this person can then relay personal information about how his or her life has changed with the on-going progress of LGBTQ acceptance.

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One Comment on “Oral History in the LGBTQ community”

  1. Graham Smith says:

    Good idea for a project although there have been a fair view in this area especially in Britain. Edinburgh: http://livingmemory.org.uk/rememberwhen/ and Brighton http://www.queerinbrighton.co.uk/category/stories/oral-histories/ hosted but two. There are also quite a few in the US and elsewhere. One interesting project organised by Glen Smith resulted in the following papers:

    Smith G., Bartlett A., King M. Treatments of homosexuality in Britain since the 1950s – an oral history: the experience of patients. British Medical Journal 2004;328:427-9.

    King M., Smith G., Bartlett A. Treatments of homosexuality in Britain since the 1950s – an oral history: the experience of professionals. British Medical Journal 2004;328:429-32.

    The papers drew the following response:http://www.bmj.com/rapid-response/2011/10/30/treating-lesbians-and-gay-men-response-british-psychological-society-lesbi


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