The fourth module in the Archives of Sexuality and Gender programme, International Perspectives on LGBTQ Activism and Culture, examines populations and areas of the world previously underrepresented in prevailing discourses around sexuality and gender, such as southern Africa and Australia.
As well as documenting organisations and key figures in LGBTQ history, the module explores other individual and collective struggles for rights and freedoms. Contextualising sexuality within wider narratives of cultural and social history helps counter the erasure of LGBTQ stories and experiences from official histories.
Including manuscripts, periodicals and other ephemera, International Perspectives on LGBTQ Activism and Culture totals around 400,000 pages of content dating from the 1820s, with the bulk of the material between 1970–2016.
Collections and content highlights
Gay and Lesbian Memory in Action (GALA)
GALA is a centre for LGBTQ culture and education in southern Africa. Set up in 1997 as the Gay and Lesbian Archives, the name changed in 2007 to Gay and Lesbian Memory in Action, to address their expanding range of activities. Their mission is to create dialogue on sexual orientation and gender identity, educate the public, build community among LGBTQ people, and to inspire action. International Perspectives on LGBTQ Activism and Culture includes 25 GALA collections (over 120,000 pages) covering numerous aspects of LGBTQ life in southern Africa. Highlights include:
- The papers of Simon Tseko Nkoli - Nkoli was a prominent South African anti-apartheid, gay and lesbian rights and HIV/AIDS activist. His high profile helped change the attitude of the ANC towards gay rights.
- The papers of Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) –SMUG is non-profit umbrella organisation for LGBTI advocacy groups in Uganda. Founded in 2004, SMUG offers counselling and health services to the LGBTI community, as well as highlighting and fighting persecution in Uganda.
- Exit newspaper – South Africa’s longest running monthly LGBT publication.
- The papers of LEGATRA – Established in 1997, LEGATRA is the Alliance for the Defense of Lesbians, Gays and Transgender Persons' Basic Human Rights in Zambia. Due to institutional harassment, LEGATRA was short lived, with most members fleeing Zambia’s borders.
- The Papers of Joy Wellbeloved - Joy (James) Wellbeloved started the Phoenix Society in 1985 which provided a way for (white) men who dressed in women’s clothing to connect.
Lesbian Herstory Archives – Organization and Geographic Files
The Lesbian Herstory Archives was established in New York in the early 1970s. Members of the collective took archival materials to events at women's festivals, in classrooms and bars and to gay church and synagogue gatherings. The Archives also ran volunteer nights in which individuals helped file, sort, catalogue and open mail. They moved to their current building in Park Slope, Brooklyn, in 1992. The material included in International Perspectives on LGBTQ Activism and Culture is around 80,000 pages of mainly manuscripts and ephemera from the twentieth century.
- Organization Files – These files include materials from or related to around 1,500 groups in the LGBT community that focus on lesbian issues, as well as other women’s groups which include a lesbian focus or have lesbian participation. They range from small groups like the Black Lesbian Study Group (NY), to community centres such as the Lesbian Resource Center (Seattle, WA).
- Geographic Files – These files include an assortment of material ranging from local “lesbian/gay maps” and guides, to flyers of events, listings of bars, newspaper clippings and local newsletters.
Australian Lesbian and Gay Archives – periodicals
Australian Lesbian and Gay Archives (ALGA) is a community group that collects and preserves LGBTQ material from across Australia. The collections include material of international scope, but their main focus is the collection and preservation of the historical life of LGBTQ communities of Australia, from the time of the Gold Rush to the battles against AIDS. This module of Archives of Sexuality and Gender includes the 122 titles in the ALGA periodical collection. Totalling over 220,000 pages, this is the largest collection of Australian LGBTIQ periodicals available and provides a window into Australian LGBTQ history and culture from the 1970s to the 2000s.
The ALGA periodicals provide coverage on a national level, such as OutRage and Gayzette, as well as state level, such as CAMP NSW Newsletter and Speaking Volumes (Adelaide). There are titles specific to the large metropolitan centres such as Capital Q (Sydney) and Now in Melbourne, and titles covering issues and organisations such as AIDS Action (Canberra) and Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Guide.
- Early Modern British and European History
- Gender & Women's Studies
- Humanities & Social Sciences
- Nineteenth Century Studies
- Social History
Platform Features & Tools
Researchers can see the frequency of search terms within sets of content to begin identifying central themes and assessing how individuals, events, and ideas interact and develop over time.
By grouping commonly occurring themes, this tool reveals hidden connections within search terms—helping to shape research by integrating diverse content with relevant information.
Search across the content of complementary primary source products in one intuitive environment, enabling innovative new research connections.
Subject indexing at article level to aid searching by author, topic and region.
Reviews & Testimonials
Best eProduct/ Best in Humanities
"The program, which brings together about 1.5 million pages of rare and unique primary source content, is continuing to make an impact. It has become one of the most commercially successful Gale archives and can be found in institutions all around the globe. It recently won the PROSE award for "Best eProduct/Best in Humanities", presented by the Professional and Scholarly Publishing unit of the Association of American Publishers."
"The importance of individuals having access to these materials through local and university library subscriptions cannot be overstated. For many queer people, looking up homosexual or transgender at the library is a first step to self-knowledge—it certainly was for me—and it’s one that’s usually met with somewhat frightening clinical descriptions. With access to this resource, searchers will find themselves awash in a much richer—and inspiring—history than they might otherwise have encountered."
“Created for students and researchers . . . the product offers rare and unique documentation, including organizational papers, government documents, newsletters, photographs, and private correspondence...This is an ambitious beginning to another robust tool from Gale.”
“This is a very unique resource and represents a major and meaningful effort to support the study of LBGTQ issues. It is highly recommended for academic and large public libraries. It is carefully and thoughtfully constructed and enhanced with advanced search tools.”