The Rise of LGBTQ+ Presence in Heritage Organisations

It is often said that the LGBTQ+ community is woefully underrepresented in heritage institutions. The Museum’s Association’s blog in 2011 reported that,

‘In spite of equality legislation, most museums have done little or nothing about representing the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community in their public programming, according to Richard Sandell, head of museum studies at the University of Leicester.’

Taking London as a sample, this, happily, seems to be changing. The V&A has multiple LGBTQ+ events and tours throughout the year, The British Museum is drawing attention to its ‘Same sex desire and gender identity’ artefacts, and even religious organisations are participating with the Jewish Museum hosting the ‘Through a Queer Lens: Portraits of LGBTQ+ Jews’.

Always ahead of the game, archives were getting in on the action decades ago with the establishment of organisations such as the Hall-Carpenter Archive, The Lesbian Archives Collective, and The Lesbian and Gay News Media Archive. At London Metropolitan Archives (LMA) work with the LGBTQ+ community goes from strength to strength. The Speak Out exhibition is in development at LMA will be opening on 4 May, inspired and directed by the voices of LGBTQ+ contributors.

After so many years it seems that the huge history of the LGBTQ+ community is starting to be recognised, and, more than that, appreciated.




One thought on “The Rise of LGBTQ+ Presence in Heritage Organisations

  1. It will be interesting to see how institutions celebrate 27 July next year, fifty years after the passing of the Sexual Offences Act 1967 which was the first breakthrough towards equal rights in England & Wales.


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