Queer Beyond London is delighted to highlight exciting research and projects exploring queer local histories that will be featured in our upcoming Queer Localities international conference from 30 November – 1 December 2017.


Alan Butler

Drawing and developing from Alan’s AHRC funded PhD study “Performing LGBT Pride in Plymouth 1950–2012” along with his participation in the Queer Beyond London project (concerning to the city of Plymouth and its LGBT heritage), this paper will use examples of LGBT spaces in Plymouth to explore the relationship between queer identity and its capacity to be signified and performed within certain spaces in which it was considered appropriate to do so.

It will explore how the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered communities’ relationship with these spaces has evolved and developed with the passing of time along with the changing of legislation and attitudes. It will consider social meeting spaces such as clubs and pubs but also move through cruising areas, pride protests and parades before considering spaces for LGBT signification today.

In considering the work taking place in Plymouth over recent years, particularly in terms of interviews and story sharing, the paper will examine how far the oral history interview itself can be regarded as a safe space in which to perform and share an LGB or T identity for the audience which it will reach.

Analysis will be made of accounts, shared by the older queer population of Plymouth, considering why they believed that performance of this aspect of their identities could not fit comfortably into mainstream society, and instead, how far they were prepared to accept the limitations and boundaries of spaces which were regarded as available to them, to maintain an appropriate place within Plymouth culture.

Alan Butler has recently completed his AHRC funded collaborative PhD called “Performing LGBT Pride in Plymouth 1950 -2012” with Plymouth University. The project has involved the formation of and a specific LGBT history accession for the Plymouth and West Devon Record Office which sits alongside the Plymouth LGBT Community Archive. The archive comprises of over forty five oral history interviews along with memorabilia pertaining to the performance of LGBT identity in the city over a sixty-year period.

Queer Localities: a two-day international conference

Birkbeck, University of London
30 November – 1 December 2017

Free and open to all, but please REGISTER your place here

Click here to view the Conference Programme.


Safe Spaces and Claimed Places: An Exploration of LGBT Representation In Sites on a Local Level
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