This blog post was written by Sophia Benko, Graduate Trainee Library Assistant at the IHR Wohl Library.

At the core of LGBTQ+ History Month is a desire to celebrate diversity, and this is well reflected in the variety of resources available at the IHR. We hold an excellent range of primary sources regarding LGBTQ+ lives and issues across our collections, with a particular focus on oral histories and memoirs, as well as other works including historiography.  The collections have been strengthened by a variety of new additions on LGBTQ+ history in the last year, listed at the end of this blog post.

The Queer Evangelist: A Socialist Clergy’s Radically Honest Tale is the memoir of Cheri DiNovo, detailing her journey from being a socialist in the 1960s, to a church minister in the ’90s, to an MP in Ontario. She describes how she introduced legislation from Toby’s Law, the first Transgender Rights legislation in North America in a major jurisdiction, to bills banning conversion therapy and proclaiming parent equality for LGBTQ+ parents. Alongside this, DiNovo writes about her faith and theological work, and the difficult environment that many queer Christians find themselves in when attacked by Christian conservatives. DiNovo’s story shows how queer people can be both people of faith and critics of religion and how one can resist and change repressive systems from within.

Another new acquisition, Streetlife: Male and trans sex workers’ voices from the AIDS era by Barbara Gibson, is a collection of interviews recorded by the author, with four men and two trans women—Madser, Jason/Zoe, Paul, Simon/Simone, Ryan, and Adam—she met in the course of her work in the UK during the 1980s and early 1990s. Gibson stresses the importance of her work, and of oral history more generally, saying ‘One-to-one oral history interviews explore memories and recount narratives in ways rarely found elsewhere. Personal testimony fills knowledge gaps, provides new insights, challenges stereotypical views and overturns orthodoxies.’ As in DiNovo’s book, the interviews provide in-depth descriptions of how these individuals navigated diverse journeys to define and express their sexuality and transgender identities. However, they also show us a different perspective to DiNovo’s memoir, taking us out of the more mainstream world of parliaments and churches and to the often-ignored edges of society, with this work detailing lives lived in London’s Cardboard City, brothels, and nightclubs.

Above all, however, both works give queer people a voice and highlight the diversity of LGBTQ+ history and lives.

Below, you can find a full list of books on LGBTQ+ history acquired in the past year:

Sophia has a BA History from St. Anne’s College, University of Oxford 2020-2023, and would like to do a MA in Library and Information Science after completing her traineeship. Her interests include the history of sexuality, gender, and childhood, as well as the history of libraries and the book.

Banner image: cecilie-johnsen-G8CxFhKuPDU-unsplash, and second image (people under flag): mercedes-mehling-7J7x8HLXQKA-unsplash, both from Beautiful Free Images & Pictures | Unsplash.