Educational Resources for Understanding Lesbian History and Culture

Visitor wall at Queer Britain Museum, London, UK.

As a part of the lesbian community, we all express the desire to learn about and know our history and culture. Feeling seen and heard, feeling connected to our past, fuels our senses of solidarity and belonging. When for so long queer history has been erased and marginalised in dominant society, it is difficult to know where to begin in educating ourselves and finding the right resources.

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Luckily, today there exists so many platforms (both online and irl) for the preservation of lesbian history and knowledge, many of which are easily accessible. To make this access easier, we have prepared a compilation of sources for you to browse. Happy learning lesbians!

Museums / Archives and Digital Collections

The Lesbian Herstory Archives, New York

LHA is the world’s oldest archive dedicated to lesbian history, located at 484 14th Street, Brooklyn, New York. It is also one of the largest archives with a mission of ‘ensur[ing] future generations will have ready access to materials relevant to their lives’. If you’re lucky enough to be based in NYC, you can visit the archive via appointment. If not, however, from 2010 the LHA began digitising materials to offer further accessibility to this history.

Thus, the Herstories Audio/Visual Collection contains over 3000 oral history cassettes and 950 videotapes available to you today.

The Bishopsgate Institute, London

The Bishopsgate Institute is home to a large collection of LGBTQ resources, including the Lesbian and Gay Newsmedia Archives and the Museum of Transology. Again, if you’re not able to visit the archives in person, you can delve into some of the histories online. Or, the Museum of Transology digital collection.

Queer Zine Archive Project, Milwaukee

Founded in 2003, this archive hopes to make queer zines available to queer historians, or anyone interested in subcultural media production. Take a look at their website.

If you like this article you may like to read our interviews with queer women, ‘Meet Leila Davis, a.k.a Cutie Cutie Whippingham.’

Queer Britain, London

This is the first UK national museum dedicated to LGBTIA+ history. Although small, the collection available to view at 2 Granary Square, London is a touching telling of queer power and perseverance in Britain. On their website Queer Britain also offers a digital archive entitled Virtually Queer, a three-part oral history project.

Queering the Map

Not an archive of traditional sorts, this is a community generated mapping platform that allows anyone to submit their queer stories in relation to their geographical setting. Some really emotional entries remind us that queer community is, and always has been, alive all over the globe.

BFI LGBT Britain

The British Film Institute offers an online archive of on-screen representations of LGBTQIA+ lives from the 20th and 21st centuries – and many of them you can watch for free!

GLBTQ Encyclopedia Project

Although now closed to new entries, this project was founded in 2000 and sought to be the world’s largest online encyclopedia of queer culture and history. It’s archives run from 2003-2013, cover a huge range of topics and are still available to view for free.

Brown University LGBTQ Centre

The website run by Brown University has an expansive list of queer libraries, archives, films and literature, more applicable to North American audiences.

Royal Historical Society, Historical Transactions

This blog also offers many more suggestions for resources of all kinds.


Academic Journals


  • The Watermelon Woman (1996) 
  • Saving Face (2004) 
  • Stud Life (2012) 
  • Floored by Love (2002) 
  • Pride (2014) 
  • Blue Jean (2022) 
  • If These Walls Could Talk 2 (2000) 
  • The Incredibly True Adventure of Two Girls in Love (1995) 
  • The Aggressives (2005) 
  • B.D. Women (short film, 1994) 
  • Black Womyn: Conversations with Lesbians of African Descent (2008) 
  • Rebel Dykes (2021) 
  • A Secret Love (2020) 
  • Where Have All The Lesbians Gone? (2022) 
  • Welcome to Chechnya (2020) 
  • Old Lesbians (2020) 
  • Before Stonewall: The Making of a Gay and Lesbian Community (1984)

We hope our suggestions give you a good start in your lesbian history research! There are so many resources and so much to learn from our community.

Love Team Nonchalant xx

Last Updated on 2nd April 2024 by Nonchalant Magazine


Hii I’m Mads (they/them)! I’m an anthropology graduate who is passionate about queer politics and countering intersectional oppression through communal practices of queer joy!

Writing for Nonchalant is to me a way to help keep our community connected, informed about moments of cultural significance, and up to date with events that help foster solidarity amongst us!

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