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Society

West Midlands Lesbian and Gay Switchboard

West Midlands Lesbian and Gay Switchboard was set up in Birmingham in 1975 (see Setting Up Switchboard) and has run continuously ever since, staffed by a committed team of volunteers. ...

HIV AIDS

HIV (initially called HTLV III) is a virus, which is most commonly passed on through sexual intercourse. The virus attacks the white blood cells in the body, eventually compromising the host's immune system so badly that they become susceptible to op...

Birmingham Pride

Birmingham hosted the first Birmingham Pride festival in 1997 and has held the event annually since. The first event was organised by a group of business and community volunteers called the Birmingham Triangle CommitteeThe roots of the event can be t...

The Nightingale

Opened in 1967, at 40 years old, The Nightingale, or Gale, is the oldest surviving gay venture in the city. It has a special place in the city's history as it was set up as much as a community venture as a commercial one, a place run for gay people b...

Homophobia

Although 'homophobia' has only become a fashionable term recently, instances of it have been discussed by many of the contributors to this project, stretching back within living memory. From police harassment and intimidation to personal interactions...

Civil Partnerships introduced

The Civil Partnership Act 2004 came into force on 5 December 2005 in the UK, the first day couples could give notice of their intention to form a civil partnership. The Civil Partnership Act enables same-sex couples aged 16 and over to obtain legal r...

Religion

Religion has played an important role in the lives of lesbians and gay men in a variety of ways. Three main areas are covered in the memories from contributors and associated events. Firstly, for many people, the religious and cultural traditions in...

Women's Liberation Movement

The Women's Liberation Movement, or Women's Movement, or feminism, is very closely linked with many lesbians' lives, particularly those coming to recognise or define themselves as lesbian during the 1970s and 1980s. There are so many contributions ...

Media and Press - mainstream

The presentation of lesbians and gay men in the press, and the reporting of gay related events has improved during recent years.Various memories relate to media coverage....

Gay, Lesbian and Womens press and publications

Over the years numerous national and local publications have come and gone which are produced by, and aimed at lesbians, gay men, and women (in the context of the Women's Liberation Movement). These have often been an invaluable source of informatio...

Terminology

These days, we refer with ease to 'lesbians' and 'gay men'. These terms separately and together are widely used within and outside the LGB community. However, even within the seventy years covered by the memories from our contributors, a variety of t...

Disability

Individual lesbian and gay peoples identity is about more than their sexuality.  Sadly, members of minority groups have not always found acceptance within the LGB community. Disabled lesbians and gay men face double disadvantage, including homo...

Race and Ethnicity

editorial to be written racism impact of ethnic background cultural mix  ...

Employment

To come out or not come out, homophobia in the work place, and changes over time, all are explored....

Education

Many people had become aware of their same sex attraction while they were still at school, or sometimes later at college or university. The way that educational establishments and fellow pupils reacted or related to homosexuality in general and them ...

Coming Out

'Coming Out' as a 'statement', whether personal or political, is a relatively recent phenomenon. Recognising and admitting one's own sexuality to one's self, is something every single one of us has done. The term 'coming out' is used retrospectively...

Challenging the status quo

As part of the political movement to challenge the status quo not just about sexuality but also about a range of societal structures, some people experimented with lifestyle and living arrangements. This included setting up and living in a commune, c...

Lesbian and Gay Community Centres

In February 1976 a group of about a dozen people began regular meetings to discuss and plan the setting up of a gay community centre in Birmingham. They were drawn from all the gay groups operating in the city and from the commercial gay scene.A buil...

Lesbian and gay parents

Many lesbians and a lesser number of gay men, are parents. Some had children before they acknowledged, or acted upon, their sexuality. Some lesbians and gay men, on coming out, had to make the choice to separate from their children. Others had to fig...

Finding each other

Finding each otherThe way that lesbians and gay men have met each other has changed over time. Contributors gave many examples of how and where they met both long term and more casual partners. They range from public places (men) through cottaging an...

Famous Gays and Lesbians

The West Midlands has produced some famous and distinguished gay and lesbian people over the years both before and after decriminalisation....

Older lesbians and gay men

As lesbians and gay men age, they are increasingly likely to use services such as health care, social care, residential care they have to consider whether or not to disclose their sexuality. For many, growing up in times when homosexuality was taboo,...