The Plymouth LGBT Archive is an award winning community archive that is shining a light on the rich life and histories from the Plymouth LGBT communities past and present. Gaining a prestigious national award from the Community Archive and Heritage Group (CAHG) it was announced at the Sixth CAHG Annual Conference held on 27th June 2012 that Pride in Our Past has won in the the Most Inspirational Community Archive category.
The Plymouth LGBT Community Archive has been born from the Heritage Lottery Funded Pride in Our Past project that launched in 2011 to investigate lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender history in Plymouth. Working in collaboration with the Plymouth and West Devon Record Office and the University of Plymouth to create an archive to access, frame and interpret this often unconsidered aspect of Plymouth’s history.
The primary navigation of the archive follows the themes used in the Pride in Our Past exhibition that was on show at the Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery between 28th April and 30th June 2012.
Homosexuality is not a new phenomenon. We start our Journey in Roman times ‘before the labels’. Same sex relationships are as old as humanity and have impacted on the way people have lived their lives throughout history.
Find out about the times when homosexuality was considered criminal or a disease.
We have also uncovered positive media coverage of Mark Weston who as a female (Mary Weston), won the javelin throwing at a British Women’s Athletic Association meeting at Stamford Bridge in 1929. In 1936 Mary officially became Mark his Harley Street Surgeon stated “Mark Weston, who has always been brought up as a female, is male and should continue to live as such.”
A rise in police activity against homosexuals in the early 50s caused the creation of more secretive gay subcultures gay people sought out spaces where they felt safe to express themselves. In Plymouth the back bar of the Lockyer Tavern was the most well known and spoke about bar that was part of the underground scene.
Read about the changing times in the military from a Plymouth man who was Proud to Serve and was sacked from the navy for being gay through to navy personnel marching in London Pride.
Read about the tragic and brutal Murder of Terry Sweet , that shocked the Plymouth gay community in 1995.
Gay identity in the 1990s was defined in opposition to legislation such as Section 28 that sparked wider debate about homosexuals and their place in society.
21st Century Pride
Since 2000, Plymouth’s LGBT community has become more visible and established itself more publically in the city. A wide range of activities and events, including candlelight vigils, protests and celebrations have helped to do this – drawing more attention to the diversity that has always existed here in Plymouth.
The first decade of the 21st century saw not only the welcome abolition of the oppressive Section 28 of the Local Government Act 1988 after many LGBT campaigns but also the introduction of ground breaking legislation ensuring many equal rights for LGBT people. Civil Partnership and Adoption Laws are now enabling LGBT people to enjoy many of the same rights and privileges that the straight community have long taken for granted.
The archive is also indexed by relevant year /decade and can be searched by keywords, articles are cross referenced by category and tags.