I was prompted to write this by a recent visit from our graduate trainee Katie Mann. Katie was looking for archive images and inspiration for her exhibition in the Library highlighting LGBT Month. Our archives concerned with peace campaigns and nonviolent protest often overlap with gay and lesbian activism, as in these examples which I showed Katie.
This image is from the Peace News Archive, an immense collection of information and photographs on campaigns, countries and themes of interest to those creating the newspaper, including a file of fantastic photographs of lesbian and gay protests from the early 1980s. This one shows marchers on a Lesbian and Gay Pride March 1985 and is very evocative of the styles and politics of the era.
As in its way is this striking little booklet, from the Archive of Jacquetta Hawkes, part of a file of correspondence concerning her work for the Campaign for Homosexual Law Reform and the Albany Trust. Throughout her life Jacquetta (like her second husband, J.B. Priestley) campaigned against injustice, using their star power and connections to influence political decisions, in favour of often controversial causes. For instance, the couple played a key role in the creation of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.
I suspect that our large collections of peace-related pamphlets and ephemera, which we hope to catalogue this year, will yield further stories and pictures of LGBT campaigns … watch this space!