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Queer in quarantine: Collecting LGBTQ+ histories during the coronavirus pandemic

By lowie trevena, Friday Aug 7, 2020

“Everyone was saying that we were going through historic, world-changing times, and I wanted to prevent us being erased yet again,” says Cheryl Morgan, who helped to instigate a new project telling the stories of LGBTQ+ through the coronavirus pandemic.

My Queer Quarantine is an attempt to document the experiences of LGBTQ+ people in the South West during the pandemic and ensuring that queer history isn’t left unheard, as it often has.

Organised by OutStories Bristol, a volunteer community history group gathering the stories of LGBTQ+ people living in and around Bristol, and  the LGBTQ+ branch of the city’s Voice and Influence Panel, the groups wanted to create evidence of history as it happens and organised My Queer Quarantine to do so.

“Mostly our work is in researching and preserving the past, but we also try to collect evidence of history as it happens – for example by keeping copies of materials we find at Pride events – so doing this was totally within our remit,” says Cheryl.

“We hope to collect depositions from a wide range of people so that our archives will fairly represent the impact of Covid-19 on the LGBTQ+ community in the South West.”

Each entry has been written by a queer person in the South West, some anonymously, and the project is still accepting submissions in any format, including poems and art pieces, from anyone who is LGBTQ+ in some way.

OutStories is collecting queer histories. Image: Sam Leighton-Dore

“When people come to write the history of the Covid-19 era they will look to see what materials are available in historical archives,” Cheryl explains.

“There are a few newspaper articles on how LGBTQ+ people have been affected more severely than other parts of the population, but little in the way of detailed information.

“My Queer Quarantine, however, will be lodged at Bristol Archives alongside our other collections, so it will be available to historians in the future.

“We will do everything we can to make sure that our community does not get erased again.”

Main photo: Nicky Ebbage

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