I had a fabulous day at Chesterfield Pride on Sunday. As well as enjoying a hefty serving of cheesy pop, not to mention a riot of rainbows and glitter, I had some great conversations with individuals from the LGBT+ community about their history. It was a privilege to hear people’s stories, particularly those who had gone through some tough times in the past. It was good to hear how things have changed and are still changing.
“You’re trying to redress the balance….good on you”
At the record office we represent all aspects of Derbyshire life and all communities – the LGBT+ community is no different. However, trying to identify material relating to LGBT+ history within our collection can be tricky. Terminology has changed, we use the term ‘gay’ very differently to how it was used 100 years ago. Sadly, much of what we know we have relating to LGBT+ history is negative – Calendar of Prisoners (you can see one in the slide show) and court records list convictions, for example, and often these are the references which are easiest to find. But this does not tell the whole truth.
That’s why we are working with our friends at Derbyshire LGBT+ to encourage volunteers to delve into our collections to uncover those “Other Stories” which will undoubtedly be in our archive, but are at the moment a little harder to find. We are also encouraging people to donate their own records so that our collections relating to LGBT+ history can grow and become more representative of this vibrant, strong and proud community.