Who designed the rainbow flag in 1978? When did pride week take place in Pittsburgh, 1994? Where can I read the CAMP NSW newsletter?

An individual with painted blue skin, red lips, black bob hair wearing a modern Shanghai cheongsam.
Queer party celebrating Madiba’s 80th birthday: ‘Mad about the man’ project, the Loft, Bree Street, Cape Town, 18 July 1998, Gay & Lesbian Memory in Action (GALA)

State Library Victoria members can access hundreds of databases from home (if your home is in Victoria). That’s millions of articles, magazines, archives, ebooks, videos, songs, audiobooks and more, available through the catalogue anytime. We’re taking a closer look at new and/or interesting databases as well as hidden gems from our collections. Read on for top picks and tips from Librarians.  

Not a member yet? Sign up online first and reward your curiosity.  

Today we’re looking at the Archives of Sexuality and Gender.

What makes this database so great?  

This database holds historical and contemporary primary sources on social movements and matters related to the LGBTIQ community. It provides different perspectives on the topics of sexuality and gender. The database gives you access to a variety of material, including press clippings, minutes, transcripts, brochures, policy statements, medical research records, and more.  

The search box 

The search box is a great place to start exploring this database. The predictive text feature is very useful – when you type in a word, for example ‘rainbow’, it suggests possible searches such as ‘rainbow coalition’, ‘rainbow flag’, ‘rainbow nation’, and ‘rainbow room’. This is a handy feature, as suggested searches all relate to materials held in the database; this can assist researchers to come up with relevant search terms when exploring a new topic. 

The database main search box showing predictive text for a search on the word 'rainbow'
Search box showing predictive text from the Archives of Sexuality and Gender database.

Friendly browsing 

Underneath the search box are links to the five key archives that make up this database. Each tile in this section features an image, giving you a sense of what is contained inside each archive. It is quite a good place to start browsing and exploring topics of interest. The current archives contained within the database are:  

  • International Perspectives on LGBTQ Activism and Culture;  
  • L’Enfer de la Bibliothèque nationale de France;
  • LGBTQ History and Culture since 1940, Parts I and II;  
  • Sex and Sexuality, Sixteenth to Twentieth Century.  

To take a deep dive into these archives, visit the ‘About’ section of the database. The ‘Collections’ section also allows you to explore the 82 individual collections contained within the above archives.  

Collection tiles for each archive in the database, found on the main page of the database.
The searchable archives from the Archives of Sexuality and Gender database.

Australian material 

The database includes material about Australian LGBTQ history and culture from the 1970s to the 2000s. Some Australian publications you can expect to find in this database include Lesbians on the Loose, The Brother Sister, Capital Q Weekly, Westside, ObserverLesbiana, CAMP ink, and The GALAH. To narrow down to Australian content, limit your search results by choosing the ‘source library’ filter, and select an Australian source, such as ‘Australian Queer Archives’ or ‘Australian Lesbian and Gay Archives’.

Article from Lesbians on the Loose titled, Martial Arts are Kicken'
Martial Arts Are Kicken’, Lesbians on the Loose, November 1999, volume 10, issue 11, p 4

Database highlights 

Let’s have a look at how we can use this database to answer the questions at the top of this blog post and discover some highlights of the collection.

Who designed the rainbow flag in 1978? 

In the search box type in rainbow flag. In the search results, under Newspapers & Periodicals is the article, ‘The Rainbow Flag’ from the publication Queensland Pride.   

Search result for the rainbow flag article by Clive Moore.
The rainbow flag, Clive Moore. Queensland Pride, Jan 1997, Issue 68, p 11

The rainbow flag was designed by Gilbert Baker, a San Francisco artist who was inspired to create a new symbol for his community. The flag originally had eight stripes, but two colours were later dropped from the design.

When did pride week take place in Pittsburgh, 1994?  

In the search box type Pittsburgh pride week. Hint: look out in the search results for the pink flyer. 

Search result for Pittsburgh Pride week 1994.
Pittsburgh Pride Week ’94, 17-18 August 1994, Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives

Pittsburgh’s pride week took place on 17-28 August 1994. The database contains a variety of posters like this, illustrating pride events, AIDS awareness, community events, outreach efforts and more.

Where can I read CAMP NSW newsletter?  

In the search box type CAMP NSW newsletter. Then look at the results in the Newspapers and Periodicals box. From there you can sort by newest or oldest. 

Search result for CAMP NSW 1981 newsletter.
CAMP NSW Newsletter, 21 September 1981, Issue 67, p 1

The search results will include issues of the CAMP NSW Newsletter. CAMP stood for Campaign Against Moral Persecution, and was an LGBTIQ activist group operating in Sydney during the 1970s.

We hope you enjoy exploring Archives of Sexuality and Gender.

We always welcome your recommendations for database trials  – let us know what you’d like to see.  Have a research query or questions on how to use our online collections? Ask a librarian

Watch this space – as we will be posting a blog with a deeper look into the collections held in this database.

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