Welcome to Queer NI
Sexuality before Liberation. A new research project based at Queen’s University Belfast (QUB) and Ulster University (UU) led by Dr Tom Hulme and Dr Leanne McCormick.
The project is looking at all aspects of LGBTQ+ or 'queer' history from the late 19th century to the 1970s. There are infamous examples of intolerance, like the Reverend Ian Paisley's campaign to Save Ulster from Sodomy or the more recent lag in gaining marriage equality. But there is a much longer history waiting to be told. Men and women from across class and religious divides found love and relationships in north of Ireland/Northern Ireland.
Homosexuality was illegal and punishable by imprisonment and condemned by many in society, but individuals still expressed their desires and often found some acceptance and toleration too. Our aim is to tell and share their stories.
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.
The project needs your help to find and share these important stories.
The team are keen to hear about hidden histories and lives that were less conventional before 1982.
Are you gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender? Or were members of your family, friends of community?
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?
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.
We are searching for letters, diaries and photographs that tell the stories and the hidden histories, no matter how small or large
If you would like to share your story with us or hear more about the project, please do get in touch. We will treat all stories with respect and contributors to the project will be offered the option of anonymity so your real name will never be revealed.Share Your Story