Monday, June 13, 2011

New resource makes LGBT History interactive


A few months ago, back in February, I reported on how our team at NHS North West had launched a new travelling exhibition charting the history of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans people, especially in England's North West region.

The exhibition, which is well over thirty feet long and occupies 20 display panels, was launched in time to celebrate the beginning of LGBT History Month (of which I'm a patron).

It is now heavily booked to tour NHS and other institutions around the North West.

I promised at the time that we would be following up with an interactive resource that everyone could access. Today it went live.

History you can interact with

Like the touring exhibition, the online version of the timeline has been funded and produced by NHS North West in partnership with the Lesbian and Gay Foundation (LGF) and the Trans Resource and Empowerment Centre (TREC) -- who together carried out most of the research.

The timeline celebrates the history and achievements of LGB&T people, particularly those that have contributed to healthcare over the years, and the development of a vibrant and active community in the North West.

The timeline also documents the way in which the medical view of sexual orientation and gender identity have altered through the ages, showing the landmark decision points where changes occurred.

The interactive resource can be accessed here at

Several ways to use it

There are several ways in which you can use the resource:

  • You can just scroll through the whole timeline from left to right, covering three millennia. This is designed to mimic the experience of walking round the physical exhibition
  • You can open up a so-called flash book and just turn the pages. This mimics the 34 page booklet which visitors to the exhibition can take away. The booklet contains a lot more material than we could possible get onto the exhibition panels and is therefore a richer experience
  • You can also download the full booklet in PDF form. This means you can print your own copies to give to people.
  • Finally, you can also watch the accompanying film, which features many LGBT NHS staff talking about their careers and the experience of working in the health service.

We hope that with the input from specialists at LGF and TREC we have produced the most comprehensive history to date. It's certainly one of the most interactive.


Le said...

What an amazing resource. Only read a small amount so far, but already I can see how useful, interesting and important it will be. Thank you to all those who put it together and for sharing it with us.

Jen said...

Thank you for posting this. It's a lovely display and especially the printed booklet, which I picked up a few weeks ago, is gorgeous. So many things I didn't know or had half-forgotten :)

It does seem quite weak on the B strand of LGBT though - especially for the North West which has Manchester, one of the most consistently active places in the bi movement for the last 20-30 years.

I've tried emailing NHS NW a couple of times to no response for a comment on that apparent omission -- don't suppose you can shed any light / point me in the right direction?

Christine Burns MBE said...

We have received a message about the Bi content and one of my colleagues is responding to that after we discussed it.

These things attempt to build on previous efforts, and we were genuinely trying via our research partners to cover the weaknesses we saw. However, such things are inevitably always subject to the realisation of new areas of weakness where we can wish, in hindsight, we'd done more.

If you have links to comparable Bi timeline material then let's by all means see what we can do to promote them.

caris said...