Library resource Archives of Sexuality & Gender documents changing attitudes throughout history

On June 28, 1969 a police morals squad raided Greenwich Village’s Stonewall Inn, meeting resistance from the bar’s LGBT patrons. The spontaneous uprising helped spark the Gay Liberation movement and over time informally established June as LGBT Pride Month. Now, the Library presents Gale’s Archives of Sexuality & Gendera collection of primary sources documenting how views of sex, sexuality, and gender have changed from the sixteenth century to the present. The archive is divided into three parts.

The Archives of Sexuality & Gender: LGBTQ History and Culture since 1940, Parts I & II consist of 20 individual collections, nearly one and a half million pages of documents spanning the years 1940 to 2014, the bulk from 1950 to 1990.

Part I presents important aspects of LGBTQ life in the second half of the twentieth century and beyond:

  • information about organizations founded by LGBTQ individuals
  • publications by and for lesbians and gays
  • personal correspondence and interviews with numerous LGBTQ individuals
  • gay and lesbian newspapers from more than 35 countries
  • reports, policy statements, and other documents related to gay rights and health

Part II provides information on the development of Gay culture and society in the latter half of the twentieth century, including coverage of groups that haven’t been well-publicized:

  • LG student groups
  • the Native American Two-Spirit people
  • the Jewish LGBTQ community
  • LG Christian groups
  • bisexual, transvestite, and transgender communities

A third part, Archives of Sexuality & Gender: Sex and Sexuality, Sixteenth to Twentieth Century, gives context to the materials covered in the first two parts, offering perspective on how sexuality and gender roles have changed through the centuries. Much of this material had been locked away but is presented here without restriction.

  • The Private Case from the British LibraryBooks that were once segregated from the main library reveal how definitions of “obscenity” have changed since the mid-nineteenth century.
  • Special Subject Units from Sex Research: Early Literature from Statistics to Erotica—a collection from the Alfred C. Kinsey Institute for Sex Research with items dating from 1700 to 1860
  • New York Academy of Medicinemore than 1,400 rare and unique monographs covering a variety of topics in sex, sexuality, and gender studies

The archive’s oral history transcripts, diaries, and letters provide a deeply personal and human interpretation of the LGBTQ experience and is essential for scholars and researchers focused on sex, sexuality, and gender studies; health and hygiene; cultural change; LGBTQ studies; women’s studies; American studies; civil and human rights; journalism; literature; social movement history; British twentieth-century history; and more.

Visit the archive and learn how society’s views of LGBTQ people have changed, how they haven’t, and why the struggle continues.

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