February is LGBT+ History Month, and we thought it might be interesting to once again delve into the LSBU Archives to see what we could find.
The student magazines had plenty to offer, highlighting the voices of LGBT+ students whether they were protesting, supporting or demanding better representation for the LGBT+ community. They also illustrate the changing attitudes that the gay community faced between the 1970s and the 1990s. This blogpost will focus on some of the letters that were written to the magazine during this time.
Here is a letter in the student magazine ‘Klap’ from the February 1972 issue, written by BSc Sociology students John Hamp and Nicholas Humby. In it, they criticise the previous issue’s comic strip for its negative depiction of gay people and they go on to demand the magazine gives more support to the gay community.
Homosexuality was decriminalised in the UK in 1967, and LSBU’s GaySoc was founded eleven years later after several years of comments in student handbooks about hoping it would be starting up soon. It was soon a very active student society, but LGBTQ+ students still faced prejudice and a lack of acceptance from other students, as some of the letters in student magazines show.
These two examples are taken from the student magazine in 1984, at this time called ‘Right Off’. The students who wrote these letters were clearly proud to be themselves, and confident in being part of the community at LSBU.
Fast forward to the 1990s, and the Student Handbook, given to every new student starting their studies, included a section on ‘One way to come out in London’ which pointed students towards the London Lesbian and Gay Centre near Farringdon, complete with detailed instructions for how to get there, as well as other helpful resources.
These items demonstrate the strong and inclusive LGBT+ community within LSBU.
A selection of the items from the Archives are currently out on display, do come and have a look! The display is located in the Library, on Level 3 of the LSBU Hub.