The marginalisation of some communities in the past can make it difficult to identify individuals belonging to them, even when they do appear in the sorts of records that may end up in an archive such as ours. The gay community obviously falls into this category.
In today’s book review of A Little Gay History of Wales, Tim takes a look at the work of Daryl Leeworthy.
Dr Leeworthy is a labour historian, and this comes through in the book, which is very much ‘history from below’ and has a great level of everyday detail from the relatively remote past to the fairly recent, for example: nineteenth-century court cases about casual sexual encounters in docks involving foreign seamen; twentieth-century student activism. Hence his deep delving into original archive sources in Wales when doing the research for the book. This led him also to collaborate with Norena Shopland on a research guide for Glamorgan Archives called Queering Glamorgan: A Research Guide to Sources for the Study of LGBT History, which aims to aid researchers in unearthing relevant materials.
You can view the guide in full here:https://glamarchives.gov.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/Queering-Glamorgan-28Aug2018.pdf
Many of the same methodological issues will be encountered by researchers in other archives in the British Isles, including our own. We are aware of very little directly LGBT-relevant material in our own collections, apart from within the Theatre Collection. But then we need sympathetic researchers to look for it . . .
For more on the book visit here: https://www.uwp.co.uk/book/a-little-gay-history-of-wales/