Associations and Support
Formal and informal associations have been vital in providing mutual support for LGBT people in Scotland. We can also gain pride and confidence from our history and heritage, which is where OurStory Scotland plays a part.
The story of rescuing our heritage is also part of that heritage. By enabling people to tell of their lives and experiences, and to have their stories preserved for the future, we have turned out to make history. History Scotland has published the story of our first ten years (Vol 12, 1 & 2, Jan/Feb & March/April 2012):
Here is an earlier account of the origins of OurStory Scotland:
The LGBT community has had to fight hard to establish associations that
provide services and support. One of the key needs of our community is for safe space to meet.
In 1974 the Scottish Minorities Group bought premises in Edinburgh to set up a gay centre in Edinburgh,
which made history as the first of its kind in the UK.
Here is a first-hand account of what this meant for a young man at the time:
In 1977 Glasgow also made history by establishing the
first explicitly named Gay Centre in the UK. The Glasgow Gay Centre was established through
the efforts of the Scottish Minorities Group, which in 1978 became the
Scottish Homosexual Rights Group, and a first-hand account of this key
period in our history has been written by a member of OurStory Scotland:
Beyond LGBT associations, our lines of support connect all those who provide help and inspiration, present and past. This goes way beyond the traditional model of the family. Our roots, our personal history and where we come from, may be popularly connected with ancestral bloodlines, but while genealogy and researching family trees may appear to link us to the past, they often exclude us. Since our histories do not necessarily fit into the conventions of the traditional family tree, OurStory Scotland has come up with the idea of tracing our Supporting Stars.
Supporting Stars break away from a bloodline tree structure, and provide the opportunity of creating local and virtual maps of individuals, who are known to have dealt with experiences of isolation and marginalisation through lifestyle or sexuality, or who have provided support or inspiration. This might include reference to individuals who have inspired and offered emotional support through local community groups, counselling and activism, as well as friends, peers, family members, pioneering examples, role models, particular haunts and representative fictions.
We have held workshops on Supporting Stars in Dundee, Inverness and Glasgow.
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