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February marks LGBTQ+ History Month and Ulster University and Queen’s University Belfast are partnering on a new research project to uncover the untold stories of LGBTQ+ life from the early 20th century until the 1982 decriminalisation of homosexuality in NI.

Researchers for the ‘Queer Northern Ireland: Sexuality before Liberation’ project are keen to hear from the public about the hidden histories and are particularly interested in:

  • Are you gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender? Or were members of your family, friends of community?
  • Do you have experiences of socialising, of meeting places, of how relationships began and continued from that time?
  • Do you remember attitudes and experiences, or things that perhaps might be understood differently today?

Using archives, oral history and cultural artefacts, the research team, led by Dr Tom Hulme from Queen’s and Dr Leanne McCormick from Ulster University, are asking for participants from the public to come forward and share their experiences to recover this hidden history.

Speaking about the project, Dr Leanne McCormick of Ulster University said:

“We are interested in both the negative and the positive experiences to try and understand what it was like to be LGBTQ+ in the past, and are also searching for letters, diaries and photographs that tell the stories and the hidden histories."

Dr Tom Hulme from Queen’s added:

“Until now, public knowledge of this history has mostly been concerned with intolerance and stories of those activists who struggled to change attitudes from the 1970s onwards. But there is a longer and untold history of hidden lives, encounters and relationships we are keen to tell.” 

If you are interested in participating in the project or would like to find out more, please email or phone/leave a message on tel: 02895367116. All inquiries will be treated with respect and contributors to the project will be offered the option of anonymity.

To find out more about the project, please visit Queer History NI