Bring All the Colors of the Rainbow to Your Collection

Posted  on June 7, 2016

By Liz Mason, Vice President, Product, Gale

Searching for an “unparalleled assemblage of newsletters, newspapers, and periodicals by, for, and about gays and lesbians?” Archives of Human Sexuality and Identity, Part 1: LGBTQ History and Culture since 1940 brings together approximately 1.5 million pages of primary sources on social, political, health, and legal issues impacting LGBTQ communities around the world. Rare and unique content from microfilm, newsletters, organizational papers, government documents, manuscripts, pamphlets, and other types of primary sources sheds light on the gay rights movement, activism, the HIV/AIDS crisis, and more.

LGBTQ issues were at the forefront of the news in 2015. A major U.S. Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage, high-profile transgender celebrity appearances, and many related stories dominated social news. Many media have declared the Rainbow Revolution in full effect. And while LGBTQ resources have been published for many years (the USC library began their collection in 1952), access to materials has been limited and not broadly publicized. In fact, libraries with significant LGBTQ collections remain small in number.

During this significant cultural shift, people will be in search of information from a trustworthy source. Your library can be at the forefront of providing access to rich resources on sexuality with a vast new digital program, Archives of Human Sexuality and Identity — 20 individual collections, totaling 1.5 million pages of primary sources.

With material drawn from hundreds of institutions and organizations, including both major international activist organizations and local, grassroots groups, the documents in the Archives of Human Sexuality and Identity: LGBTQ History and Culture Since 1940 present important aspects of LGBTQ life in the second half of the twentieth century and beyond. The archive illuminates the experiences not just of the LGBTQ community as a whole, but also of individuals of different races, ethnicities, ages, religions, political orientations, and geographical locations who constitute this community. Historical records of political and social organizations founded by LGBTQ individuals are featured, as well as publications by and for lesbians and gays, and extensive coverage of governmental responses to the AIDS crisis. The archive includes gay and lesbian newspapers from more than 35 countries, reports, policy statements, and other documents related to gay rights and health, including the worldwide impact of AIDS, materials tracing LGBTQ activism in Britain from1950 through 1980, and more.

The archive connects scholars to a rich history of sexuality and identity and allows them to make never-before-possible connections in subjects such as queer history and activism, cultural studies, psychology, sociology, health, political science, human rights, gender studies, and much more.

One highlight of the archive is the unparalleled assemblage of newsletters, newspapers, and periodicals by, for, and about gays and lesbians. Materials from the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Historical Society, for example, include rare publications from now- defunct groups. Collections from the Lesbian Herstory Archives include mainstream and alternative publications from 1970 to 2008. The collection from the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives (Series 11) includes periodicals and newsletters from countries as far-flung as Latvia and Zimbabwe. These holdings reveal the many functions printed media held, and hold, for LGBTQ individuals.

In addition, the archive encompasses extensive material related to feminism, women’s rights, and women’s concerns. The Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin: Beyond the Daughters of Bilitis collection, for example, includes documents related to Lyon and Martin’s groundbreaking book on domestic violence and their work with the National Organization for Women (NOW).

Get on the map. Be prepared to meet the growing need for information about human sexuality and identity. Request a free trial today!

This article was published in Gale’s Impact Spring/Summer 2016 issue, read more >>

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