One of the (many) things that we Londoners are so proud of is that it is steeped in so many historical places, traditions, and institutions yet each one of them have managed to keep relevant to the needs of todays’ society and culture.
The Bishopsgate Institute is one such place. Established in 1895, it has been a center for culture and learning ever since, The passion for knowledge is written into its history and runs through the fabric of their building, with extensive Special Collections feeding and inspiring their courses.
Bishopsgate likes to boasts “Some institutes can tell you about history, we can show it to you.’
The Institute is possibly the largest (definitely the most accessible) LGBTQ+ Archive in the UK, holding archives from Stonewall, Switchboard, GMFA/The Gay Men’s Health Charity, ACT UP London, Outrage!, Campaign for Homosexual Equality and material relating to the Terrence Higgins Trust, Boyz and QX magazines. They also hold records of individuals including Paris Lees, Robert Workman, Hazell Dean, Gordon Rainsford, Peter Tatchell, and many others.
So it seems only right that with this year being very significant for LGBTQ+ history in the UK as we celebrate and reflect on 50 years of Pride. Since the first Pride in 1972, the scale and definition of what Pride can be has continued to expand.
As the queer experience is wildly diverse, and there are as many ways to celebrate Pride as there are identities within the community, and with this, very much in mind, the Institute has created the People’s Pride Archive.
They are collecting photos and stories of Pride through the decades. to make a dedicated archive that celebrates the struggles and celebrations of the past 50 years. And they are asking all of us in the LGBTQ+ community to participate by contributing our own images .
They are not just intersted in the big events held in major metroploitan cities, but small parties in your back yard, or a gathering of friends celebrating anytime over the past half-century. They want images of the highs and lows in our lives as we embraced our own sexuality and how it was affected by the gradual liberation of our community.
The Institute says that every story matters and and encourages us all to add our stories and photographs to the archive so they can empower, inspire and educate future generations.
You can make your own contribution to People Pride Arcade HERE