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Finding queer stories in Scottish History

Discover queer Scotland this LGBT history month

Genre: LGBTQ+

Last updated: 19 October 2023

Pride march in Scotland

'And now – look – Old Scotland is no more.
Gay men kiss at the Parliament’s door.'

Scots Makar Jackie Kay’s poem 'The Long View'(this link will open in a new window) sweeps through Scottish history with an eye to how far we’ve come. Looking back lets us see how much progress(this link will open in a new window) Scotland has made for LGBTQ+ rights and representation, and how far we still have to go.

The coronavirus restrictions have ruled out looking for the queer past in a physical library or archive this February. Don’t let this stop you investigating some of the mysteries of queer Scottish history from your own home.

Explore queer Scotland

Fantastic online resources from Our Story Scotland(this link will open in a new window) and Queer Scotland(this link will open in a new window) are a great place to begin your journey. Here are some more ways to find and enjoy queer stories this LGBT History Month...

Through poetry

In the library

In the archives

In your local area

Walking down your street could bring you closer to queer history than you realise. Perhaps you lived near the Scottish communist journalist who defended homosexuality to Stalin, or close to the site where farmers rallied their tractors to protect their transgender neighbour from nosy reporters. Explore the Queer Scotland LGBT Historical Maps (this link will open in a new window)and The Digital Transgender Archive map(this link will open in a new window), or take an audio tour of Glasgow’s queer heritage(this link will open in a new window) with Glasgow Women’s Library.

Get involved

There are plenty of exciting ways to get involved with queer history in Scotland. Visit the oral history project OurStory Scotland(this link will open in a new window) to contribute your voice to their archive and help preserve the experiences of others. Lavender Menace, which started in 1982 as Scotland’s first queer bookshop, has returned as a queer book archive. Join them and add your collection to their archive(this link will open in a new window).


Reading is a fantastic way to observe, learn, celebrate and reflect on LGBTQ+ history and progress. Scottish Book Trust has several LGBTQ+ inclusive book lists to get you started, many of which include Scottish perspectives. Immerse yourself and discover queer Scotland in these incredible stories.

(this link will open in a new window)Books about LGBTQ+ history