Friday, 31 August 2007

Archives of paper based material: Lesbian and Gay memoribilia

Well Archivists here's a basic how too and how not too.

I will look at different types of material over the coming five days.

Today it is Paper!

First Rule of acrhiving paper based material:
Check there condition.
Keep them out of the light, heat or extreme cold.
Keep in acid free folders.
Do not attempt to repair damages. ( seek the advice of an experienced archivist).

Paper based archives;
Do keep everything you have ever written, diaries, poems, letters you never sent, letters people have sent you. Flyer's, posters, organisational documents all of it.
Even think about keeping that napkin you scribbled on!

Now once you have all this paper based information don't go touching it all over with sticky hands. WASH THEM.

Oh! and when you are looking at letters you have DON'T throw the envelope away. it is dated and will hold a record of where it was sent and too who and when (most important). Unfold any letters you have and keep them flat. If you are really keen that they last then pop them into acid free folders.

If you have a heap of newspaper cuttings. Best thing you can do is photocopy them on too acid free paper. News papers will be a disaster after a short period of time. Cheap paper will not last long.

Local newsletters, women's centre newsletters, gay and lesbian locally produced lewsletters are all well worth preserving.

If you are holding paper together, use brass paper clips, they are better than Staples.

Wednesday, 29 August 2007

Don we now are Gay Apparel

Rainbow bags, badges. laces, tops and dresses. I have seen them all today walking down the high street in Exeter.

Have you ever felt like going up to the person you see with a rainbow t'shirt on and you know the heritage of those you have any idea what the importance of those six colours are? No!

Back to the Rainbow.

The original gay-pride flag was hand-dyed by Baker. It flew in the San Francisco Gay Freedom Day Parade on June 25, 1978. (However, it was by no means the first time that spectrum or rainbow colors had been associated with gay and lesbian peoples.) The flag consisted of eight stripes; Baker assigned specific meaning to each of the colours as follows:
hot pink - sexuality
red - life
orange - healing
yellow - sunlight
green - nature
turquoise - magic
blue - serenity
violet - spirit
Today many LGBT individuals and supporters of gay rights often put rainbow flags in the front of their yards and/or front doors, or use rainbow bumper stickers on their vehicles to use as an outward symbol of their homosexuality or support.

I have friends who live at 'Rainbows end', friends with rainbow flags flying off the top of their house, friends with rainbow tatoos and others who blow their rainbow laced whistle once a year in support of pride days.

We have so much more to say about the rainbow flag.

Civil partnership leaflets with rainbow flags in registra's offices.
On the windows of hotels and bed and breakfasts.
Replaced weekly on age concern windows (who is the person who removes them every week?)
In flourist windows
On the spine of books.
Rainbow luggage straps, rainbow hair slides, rainbow teedy bears, rainbow phone covers, rainbow jewellery, rainbow pens and paper..................

This symbol has travelled across the world, it has been a method of knowing a place or person is likely to be accepting and safe.

It is also a fashion item.
Our gay apparel.

Lesbian people; History

According to Julienne Bourge, the historian from Gaul (as written in Monique Wittig's Book Lesbian Peoples), " the lesbian peoples who began our history - if this history had a beginning - were gathering fruit from trees, hunting, raising their infants together and moving in small groups all over the earth, which at the time was a garden. they were called the amazons and they created harmony on earth.
Harmony was easy as their world was gentle and good to live in. Work, suffering, death did not yet exist in the garden. They loved one another, it is said it was a Golden Age.
One day an amazon thought of building a place to return to or everyone to live in. This was a good enough idea and the start of cities.
some amazons carried on walking and traveling, enjoying the diversity of places they wandered through. they did not want to settle. They said that an established amazon was no longer free. Others constructed larger and larger cities without defensive ramparts.
" in the beginning of this new state of things all went well. Wanderers stopped from time to time in large and small cities to greet amazons who lived there. They brought news. They served as a connection between cities as much as they could."
Slowly the city amazons changed and didn't want to leave the cities. They stopped taking part in violent physical activity.
The wanderers became less welcome. They city dwellers became less interested in other city news they had their own problems. Retreating behind their walls they were struck by wonder at the physiological processes, childbearing. they stopped calling themselves amazons and called themselves Mothers. They developed a 'new' culture in which they became fascinated by myths and germination and earth and trees. Mothers began to make representations of themselves in mud and stone or on flat surfaces with pigments and colour.
This brought about the procession of pregnant goddesses that history has know.
representations of the mothers were fascinating to the people and they made many many more.
Although the amazons at times became pregnant they did not want to go along with the mothers. At that time they were banned from the cities. At that time the most contemptuous term used to describe someone in the cities was amazon. They were considered those who did not have children.
The amazons began their wars.
The mothers became goddesses who demanded sacrifice.
Confined to the cities mothers were no longer free, complete individuals. They merged into a collective with collective ideas and aspirations.
The unhappy situation between amazons and mothers ended The Golden Age.
The Silver Age that followed had its happy times. Mothers threw great celebrations on festive occasion.
The amazons banned from the mothers cities built cities of their own.
The garden on earth became less fruitful and the mothers developed ways of turning over the soil and planting crops. The experimented with soil and discovered some soil was good from food, other soil good for baking into pots. The saw that plants could have beneficial effects on health and well being. They discovered that some plants could be spun and learned to make different items with this thread. They perfected the raising of silk worms, they chose hair and wool instead of animal skins for clothes. They decorated their homes with carpets and blankets and tapestries. The mothers domesticated animals for food and milk after watching ants milking greenfly in order to collect their nectar.
The amazons during The Silver Age passed through great areas, they also built empires. Being huntresses and riders they kept their weapons and became the violent ones. They did not plant or domesticate cattle, they domesticated mares instead. Forging was important to them for weapons, fabricating bricks from clay for their preposses. They mainly used animal skins and leather for clothing and decorating their homes. They carried on making music and invented numerous instruments. they ate their food raw and slept when they wanted in the open or under tents.
The amazons were good at attack, they developed many weapons, bow and arrow, spear, double axe, shield. They made instruments from leather and wood to fire stones at the walls of their enemy.
During The Silver Age language changed. The amazons who had been a link between mother cities stopped and language became modified. The mothers called this new language 'the slow language'. The amazons uninterested in modification kept their old language of letters and numbers. When communication between the mothers and the amazons started again, it was hard work for both to understand each other.
During the following ages, mother who had not the skill of warfare and less exercised lost on a large scale. The amazons scattered all over and fighting till the death rather than being enslaved by the mothers died out.
" after their total disappearance there is nothing more to add except for the final defeat and enslavement of the mothers which led to the last and chaotic period before The Glorious Age. The courage of the rebels who never bore with much patience the name 'woman' has survived.
Monique Wittig and Sande Zeig: Lesbian people Materials for a dictionary

Friday, 24 August 2007

Lesbians unite and bake!

Food and company.

Dyke's across the county are rustling up a slap up meal for two.
Not Me!!

We lesbians are great cooks and better still we love to eat the last slice of lustful chocolate brownie with that special woman who spent two hours baking it for us.

I'm such a good cook that my children now aged 7 and 12 have appreciation wrapped up.

" Mum that was lovely, nice and well cooked" Yes! well cooked, not burnt!

I have been so busy with work and friends and family and pets I never gave myself time to slow down when it came to the cooker, so everything was cooked in a hurry.
Well things are changing.
I can make (without burning) a wonderful pair of pink wobbly jellies, topped with beautiful red cherries!!

One great local expert of lesbian cooking, now living in sunny India, I still remember, made lovely ginger biscuits shaped like living goddesses.

Food can be so sensuous! We simply can not leave it to the straights. It is up to us to carry the banner of good cooking and share this joy with other lesbians locally.

Return to the kitchen, create wonderful tastes and smells. Then invite your lesbian friends to enjoy a great meal. Or feed your girlfriend and just see how grateful she is.... :-)

Whatever you do this bank holiday, enjoy good company and good food.

Thursday, 23 August 2007


There are just so many different closets.

Large difficult closets that people insist on moving around with them. everywhere.

Smaller closets that never last very long
(I like to call them the 'Argos Closet' cheap and easily disposed of)!

Closets of different colours and textures, multiple closets and closets which impose themselves on the individual and all those around them.

Closets which break and are then repaired, closets that come in pairs.

The gay closet whatever that is!

There are people who say they have never had a closet, are they LGBT?

There are people who have had lead closets and end up poisoned by them.

Many closets, some special and last a lifetime, some last a season.

Some closets are like tides come and go from time to time.

People seem to be able to find space for their closet whatever its size, shape or duration.

It makes no difference what your faith, religion, class, culture, age, gender, educational achievements or failures, your abilities or disabilities your colour, size or shape if you have a closet, you find room for it, for as long as you have it.

Whatever your closet is or was, be thankful it kept you safe.

here's to the closets.

Tuesday, 21 August 2007

Cornwall LGBT History Month

In the 1980's, many people only saw HIV/AIDS as a gay disease, and were not willing to support those who were becoming infected or help to stop the spread. Organisations who produced the 'Silence= death' badge in 1989, tried to encourage people to speak out, and organised demonstrations and marches. During the middle and later in the 1980's many people saw the need for self help groups for gay men affected by HIV/AIDS, their partners and friends and helplines sprang up across the Country to support lesbian, gay and bisexual people.

Calling all you wonderful lesbian, gay, bi and trans people in Cornwall. The Royal Cornish Museum will host an Exhibition on LGBT History in February.

What have you got in your attic, backroom, boxes and cupboards that says something about the Heritage of lesbian, gay, bi or trans people in Cornwall?

Make this a great event. make this your event: call me, email me, send a pigeon.....but don't hesitate in making history happen.

Sarah 01392 678643

Tuesday, 14 August 2007

Painting in the Picture: Free Workshop

Intercom Trust would like to invite you to a Free workshop on LGBT (Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) heritage. Saturday: 29th September. 2007 10am-4pm. In Exeter.

The day will involve;
The Heritage of LGBT History!
Why LGBT history is important?
How it all started and what the future holds for LGBT history in the SW Peninsula.

Methods for research.
How do you find LGBT Heritage?
Some tips and ideas on ways to explore, research and collate physical items as well as oral histories.

Research Skills.
Where do you look for LGBT history?
Advanced search, tools; using Internet, library files, microfilm and other forms of research search tools available.
Archive skills.
How is LGBT Heritage Archived?
Why should LGBT heritage be archived and what methods are used by Intercom Trust to ensure the safe housing of important material.

A chance to meet others involved or interested in exploring, discovering, researching and exhibiting LGBT History in the SW Peninsula.
Sarah StephensonLGBT Heritage Project Co-ordinatorThe intercom Trustsupporting lesbian gay bisexual & trans people & communities in the South WestRegistered Charity 1072772
01392 201015 (Main Office) PO Box 285 Exeter EX4 3Z

Friday, 10 August 2007

That Friday feeling

It's Friday I'm off to a concert tonight....can't wait!!

Before I do that, lets catch up.

Tobay has a lovely Town Hall (as a building), as a venue it is rubbish, fair play! The sound is unbelievably - go there and find out for yourself or trust me on this one.

It is however a large space and if you get 200+ people inside the sound is dampened.
So! I need to think of away of attracting 200+ people to an LGBT event.

The rest of the day has involved writing, again to the MDO's, maybe they will eventually reply, even if it is ...... sod off!!

Every Object tells a Story. How true that is. This year I collected numerous objects from LGBT people and listerned to as many stories.

So what is it that means something special to me and you.

For me it is......
My Villeroy and Bosh Cats. I just love them. My girlfriend at the time bought the first, a large mainly white china cat, with it's tail very stiff and very upright, beautiful silver points on it's ears lovely. I've been adding to that collection ever since. Ta! ex!!

What object is it for you I wonder?

I have a mini expo, tomorrow. One day event with Age Concern (no comments yet!)

I'll post some picture on Monday for you all.

Thursday, 9 August 2007

Heritage and representation:closeted rareties

To ensure that LGBT people’s heritage does not become ‘closeted rarities’ here in the South West Peninsula we at Intercom Trust propose to guarantee that the cultural heritage of LGBT people and their communities find exhibition space and representation.

The representation of LGBT heritage will have positive implications on knowledge, imagery and documentation of mayor aspects of our everyday communities lives and histories. The idea that gay men are ‘effeminate’ or lesbian women are ‘butch’ still exists after hundreds of years. The exhibitions we propose will show that LGBT people process common traits, common talents, and common goals, helping to re-establish LGBT peoples’ past connections to a wider audience.

Exhibitions will include, aesthetic, and educational discourses relating to LGBT people and their communities here in the South West Peninsula. We do not propose to have any political motivation for an exhibition during LGBT History Month; we simply hope to show the aesthetics of sexuality and sexual orientation; the cultural identities and environments in which LGBT people lived and live. We wish to convey passion - to celebrate those moments when LGBT people and communities could reach out and where and when they felt they could not. We would like to show how LGBT people and communities can, 'thrill us as much as they matter and matter as much as they thrill'. (Andy Medhurst 1995)

The cultural heritage of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and communities, have had to build up signs and symbols; whether they be objects, images, written or sounds including music, electronically produced material or in words. All of these represent to other people, concepts, ideas and feelings about LGBT people and to LGBT people and communities themselves; they have gone to make up a cultural heritage here in the South West Peninsula.

LGBT people have had an impact on Popular culture. They have produced and recorded popular music, produced/ published art and designed literature for activities and leisure time and entertainment. All of these activities have enabled LGBT people to express themselves, their thoughts and feelings in their local area - with the take off of Internet, around the world.

‘Closet rarities’ is something which until recently has been how LGBT Heritage has been perceived, or represented in museums; establishing the notion that LGBT people and their respective communities are (in part) not mayor contributors to cultural and/or economic environments. Representing a more readily available Heritage of LGBT people and their communities would give meaning to their 'our' identities and a sense of identity to those who are exploring or less confident of their own.

Taking LGBT Heritage out of the ‘closet’ and bringing it into the modern Museum structure art gallery, town hall, school or shop window will allow a greater cultural awareness, this uncloseted representation will enable a development of a language that includes rather than excludes identity, and representation of communities outside of the heterosexual norm.

‘Coming out’ signifies for many the process of ideas and feelings associated with the development of honesty and disclosure of sexual orientation and gender identity amongst the LGBT communities here and globally. The effects or consequences of this ‘coming out’ is political in meaning and has come to represent a powerful change in the historical practices which operate and regulate actual practice.

‘Painting in the Picture’ and re-visualising LGBT Heritage is only positive. To be involved and offer space for an exhibitions of this kind is positive. It will allow people from every background, cultural group, race or ethnicity to have an opportunity to view images, objects, written work etc. a living experience of the re-defining heritage; a piece of heritage in it’s self. This will have benefits for Museums, libraries and other public spaces, to 'actually' engagement with a LGBT National event, LGBT History Month (

Taking LGBT Heritage 'out' there.

Friday, 3 August 2007

First time: Painting in the Pictuure

“Whatever our alignment and affiliations history is always a useful tool to have when defining ourselves in the world...the denial of history has always been to some extent part of the oppression or marginalisation of groups and the reclaiming or rewriting of history has always been part of their liberation or self-realisation.”

To achieve a broad representation from organisations supporting LGB and T people, groups and our diverse communities, I am asking all established groups if they will get involved as much as they see or feel able.

anything considered.
Badges, Photo's, Books (early as possible), Magazines
Flag's, Banners, Pride T'shirts
Paintings, Sculpture, Poems
Letters, clothes from the 50's,60's,70's,80's, 90's
Hankies, bandaners, scarf's,
Leaflets, posters, flyers, booklets

What have you got in your attic that says something about Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender people?

Don't Throw it away........Archive it.

Making LGBT History Month 2009 a sensation.