January, 2016 · By Justin Bengry
Queer beyond London is an AHRC-funded collaboration between Birkbeck College, University of London and Leeds Beckett University to research histories of sexual identities and communities in Leeds, Plymouth, Brighton and Manchester since c.1965.
Queer Beyond London is the first sustained, contextualised and comparative historical investigation of the local impact of changing cultural attitudes and official policies concerning sexuality, and the first to look at the particularities of lesbian, gay or other queer lives in cities with different subcultural associations and reputations. The project reveals the factors which have modulated queer lives and cultures of rejection, toleration or acceptance in these places and elsewhere. It will contribute to debates about the intersection of sexual and other categories of identity and identification, and about conceptions of community, belonging and cultural change. Crucially it will also feed a broader appetite for accounts of the lesbian, gay and queer past and interrogate the individual, community and political implications of that appetite. The project will bridge a gap between ‘popular’ and ‘academic’ LGBT or queer histories, and draw attention to local and national resources, archives, community projects and on-line resources – including at least six HLF-funded LGBT community history projects. It will also garner new testimonies relating in particular to the local impact of those projects on ideas of identity and community.