LGBTQ+ in Gloucestershire

Project team: Katie McGuire and Joe Evans

In a new series of posts, History students at the University of Gloucestershire will be outlining progress on new research projects for the 2019 Gloucester History Festival.

Our project focuses on the rights of the LGBTQ+ community and how these have changed over time. Our work involves interviewing charity representatives to understand the contemporary level of support for the Gloucestershire community in order to evaluate the level of progress over the past few decades.

Joe is working with several different charities. Katie is looking through all of the Gloucestershire Gay and Lesbian Community (GGLC) monthly Newsletters dating back to the 1970s to understand what services were available for the community then. The newsletters are useful because they show how the gay community felt at any particular time.

Katie has also conducted an interview with a man with a military background to discuss how being gay affected his experience. Further research has involved an extensive trawl through local newspapers to ascertain the reaction of the Gloucester community to new legislative initiatives, such as Section 28, which proposed a prohibition on all mentions of homosexuality in education. Other legislation resulted in a lowering the age of consent for gay men from 21 to 18, introduced civil partnerships and, eventually, marriage. These topics are widely discussed in the Newsletters and the community debates can be linked to those in local and national newspapers.

Our ultimate aim is to understand how far the LGBTQ+ community has come as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of Stonewall in 2019. Stonewall is a charity that actively campaigns for the equality of lesbian, gay, bi and trans people across Britain.