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Out and proud

Edinburgh University is famous for its rich and varied history, but one aspect which receives rather less attention is the LGBT community. Send us your memories and help us remember and celebrate.

Teviot flying the rainbow flag

Next February, the University will be celebrating LGBT+ History Month for the second time and we want to reflect the full diversity of our current students, staff and alumni by sharing your memories of the LGBT community in Edinburgh.

Fast facts

  • LGBT+ History Month is a month-long annual celebration of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender history.
  • LGBT+ History Month was first celebrated in the UK in 2005 although it has been celebrated in the US since 1994.
  • Many of the buildings around the University’s main campus have played a role in Edinburgh’s LGBT+ history: the Scottish Minorities Group regularly met in a basement in George Square and in 1974 the International Gay Rights Congress was held in Teviot Row House.
  • Last year, to celebrate LGBT+ History Month, the rainbow pride flag was flown from Teviot for the month of February.

Identity and coming out

For many students - both past and present - coming to University is an opportunity to explore their sexuality for the first time, and some of our older alumni may remember the thrill of escaping small town life and moving to the big city.

When I was an undergraduate I was not out, in fact I wasn't even sure what my own sexuality was then. Because back in those days it wasn't as obvious as it is today. The social climate was completely different.

Gregan Crawford
Pride Scotia 2014

Activism

For many of our LGBT+ students, activism plays a big part in their time at Edinburgh.

From fighting for homosexuality to be legalised, to campaigning against Section 28, raising awareness of HIV to celebrating Equal Marriage, Edinburgh students and alumni have been involved in some huge social and political changes.

LGBT+ visibility

Over the years, Edinburgh’s LGBT+ community has become far more visible, moving out of the basements in Broughton Street and becoming fully integrated with the rest of the city.

Scotland’s first official Pride took place in Edinburgh in 1995, when thousands of members of the LGBT+ community marched along Princes Street, through the Old Town and up to the Meadows.

I look at the gay scene and I can't believe it any more - hundreds of guys going around. When you compare 20 guys in one corner of Paddy's bar, it's completely mind boggling… It's wonderful.

John Watson

Your memories

As part of next year's celebration EUSA would love to hear your memories of LGBT+ life in Edinburgh including any photographs.

Please send your recollections to Sarah Moffat using the email address below.

sarah.moffat@eusa.ed.ac.uk

With thanks to the Living Memory Association for permission to use the quotes which are from Remember When, Edinburgh’s lesbian gay bisexual transgender history.