Pride in our Past

The Box

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Over the course of today we’ll be sharing posts that highlight Plymouth’s LGBT history.

Homosexuality isn’t a new phenomenon. Same sex relationships are as old as humanity and have impacted on the way people have lived their lives throughout history.

Did you know that in civilisations such as Ancient Rome, homosexuality wasn’t named or regarded as a lifestyle? The social standing of someone’s partner was more important than his or her gender. Sex between men was mainly concerned with notions of power.

Latin did not include words that directly translated into ‘heterosexual’ or ‘homosexual’. As a result, people couldn’t be labelled into categories, groups or subcultures related to their sexual choices.

Since 2000, Plymouth’s LGBT community has become more visible and has established itself more publicly in the city. The wide range of events and activities the community has organised have helped draw attention to the diversity that has always existed here.

A man holding a Plymouth Pride poster on Royal Parade
Human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell participating the 2012 Pride in Our Past project

In 2011-12 an award winning project saw the Plymouth and West Devon work in partnership with the Plymouth Pride Forum to record the history of the city’s LGBT community.

The ‘Pride in Our Past’ project was funded by The National Lottery Heritage Fund and was created through the realisation that some of the older members of the community had witnessed a change in attitudes during their lifetime that was unlikely to be repeated in history.

At its annual conference in June 2012, the Community Archives and Heritage Group awarded the ‘Pride in our Past’ project their ‘Most Inspirational’ award. The judges praised the way the project had ‘gathered the voices of and given a voice to often-ignored communities’.

Find out more about the archive of LGBT life the project created.

Read the National Archives Case Study.

Another key outcome from the project was an exhibition at the former Museum and Art Gallery. Did you visit it? What did you learn? How did it make you feel? Here’s small gallery of images that were taken while it was on display.

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