Our collections with a queer eye

Throughout history, and long before our current understanding of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and queer, there have been LGTBQ+ people. As language changes so does our view of these histories; once largely unseen, they’re now out and proud.

We’ve Always Been Here takes another look at the museum’s collections on display and considers them from a gay perspective.  These stories have always existed, but sometimes behind closed doors and coded languages, and not necessarily making their way into public institutions like museums.

In England, sexual relationships between men were illegal until 1967, so it follows that some men may have been reluctant to share this part of their life with a wider world.  While intimate relationships between women were never illegal, social mores made it difficult for some women to be open.  In the past, societies’ expectations again could make it difficult for trans people to live in their preferred way.   Despite changes in the law, LGBTQ+ people still face discrimination and bigotry so telling the stories of those who 'have always been here' is important because like the law, cultures do change.

Our trail uncovers some of these stories throughout the museum, each one highlighted with a rainbow flag.  There will be more stories than those we’ve identified, and if you can help us find more then we’d like to hear from you.  Email us.

With thanks to PiNC for their help in putting this trail together. Extra thanks to Neil Robinson and Kit George Day

We've Always Been Here