The material drawn from before 1970 reflects on the magazines and books which helped people socialise and open up conversations about sexuality, gender, politics and society. These materials chart the move away from pathologising and medicalised understandings of homosexuality and fostered the politicisation of Lesbian sexuality in particular. They illuminate the cross cutting and intersecting concerns of LGBT people, and laid the groundwork for the important bonds of political and social action which would form after the 1970s.
Urania was a British magazine produced and circulate privately between 1916-1940. The magazine was under the editorial control of two lesbian women Eva Gore-Booth, a poet and activist, and Ester Roper, a suffragist and campaigner, as well as a Irene Clyde/Thomas Baty, a gender non-conforming lawyer and writer. Urania drew together articles from around the world on subjects like peace campaigning, women’s rights, suffrage, dress, sexuality, androgyny and gender. The name Urania alluded to the idea of a world free of the bonds of gender and sex. The magazine is very rare and our collection contains issues from 1925 onwards.
The Ladder is an American publication produced in the USA by the lesbian organisation the Daughters of Bilitis. The magazine was produced between 1956 and 1972, and its purpose was to bring about “the integration of the homosexual into society” through education; research and the investigation in legal changes to promote homosexual equality. The magazine contained a wide range of material including reviews of books and articles; fiction; poetry and letters pages.
Arena 3 was a British publication which ran between 1964-1972. Edited by one of its founders Esme Langley, the magazine was produced by the English Minorities Research Group of which Langley was driving force. The magazine combined reports by Langley and others; polemical writing; case studies and creative writing. It is commonly understood to be the first explicitly lesbian publication in the UK.