Shocking historical records that show gay men being imprisoned and hanged for their sexuality will be unveiled in Preston later this month.
Lancashire Record Office will open its doors on Saturday 26th February for Outing the Past, a day of talks and exhibitions to mark Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans (LGBT) History Month.
“LGBT History Month has really grown as a nationwide event and we really wanted to get involved,” said Kathryn Rooke, archivist at the record office.
Ms Rooke added: “It’s a hidden history because of the persecution and criminalisation. We’ve got quite a lot of records for being hanged for their homosexuality.”
Outing the Past will draw records from hospitals and prisons, focusing on details such as graffiti scrawled on the walls of Lancaster Castle.
To coincide with LGBT History Month, a new drop-in centre in the Guild Hall Shopping Arcade will open tomorrow at 2pm.
PC Stuart Rutlidge, an officer from Lancashire police’s diversity unit, said: “What we are trying to do is to assess the community’s need for a centre like this.
“The centre will be speaking to people about issues such as hate crime, which is under-reported in the LGBT community.”
PC Rutlidge said the centre wanted to build links with different communities, and that anyone was welcome to drop in over the month for advice or support.
The first LGBT History Month took place in the US in 1994, and has since become an international celebration.
Ms Rooke said one reason Lancashire Record Office had chosen this year for its LGBT celebration was that Black History Month had been particularly successful.
Lancashire is planning a programme of events throughout February, including a workshop exploring the life experiences of LGBT people in Lancashire that will take place in Lancaster City Museum on Saturday 19th February.
Tickets to Outing the Past are free, but places are limited. The record office would like to hear from any communities or individuals who have records they would like to contribute to the archive such as letters and posters.