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British Library of Political and Economic Science

Scottish Minorities Group (later the Scottish Homosexual Rights Group)


Reference code(s): GB 0097 HCA/Scottish Minorities Group

Held at: British Library of Political and Economic Science

Title: Scottish Minorities Group (later the Scottish Homosexual Rights Group)

Date(s): 1970-1984

Level of description: sub-fonds

Extent: 3 boxes

Name of creator(s): Scottish Minorities Group
Scottish Homosexual Rights Group


Administrative/Biographical history:

The 1967 Sexual Offences Act, which decriminalised adult homosexual relationships, did not apply in Scotland. The first meeting of the Scottish Minorities Group took place in Jan 1969 in the drawing room of Ian Dunn's parents house in Glasgow, and consisted of only 6 people. The group was officially founded on 9 May 1969 as a self-help organisation working for the rights of homosexual men and women which aimed to provide counselling, work for law reform and provide meeting places for lesbians and gay men. Meetings were initially held in Glasgow; they moved to Edinburgh in August 1969.
During the early 1970s, SMG began to develop its organisation with a central address, a monthly newsletter (SMG News, begun in 1971), an Annual General Meeting, and coordination of the whole by a National Executive Committee. It also organised annual conferences and regular national forums, and established local branches. SMG was involved in campaigning against legal and social discrimination, providing venues for social activities, and running a befriending service. Amongst other things the group organised the Cobweb disco, Scotland's first gay disco, set up the SMG Glasgow and Edinburgh Women's Groups, established the Edinburgh Gay Switchboard, and held the first International Gay Rights Congress in Edinburgh. In 1977 the Glasgow Gay Centre was opened (it closed in 1982).
In 1978 SMG changed its name to the Scottish Homosexual Rights Group, and the name of the newsletter was changed to Gay Scotland. In 1980, an amendment to the 1980 Criminal Justice (Scotland) Bill partially decriminalised gay sex between men under 21. At its peak, SHRG had 1200 members. SHRG changed its name to Outright Scotland.


Scope and content/abstract:

Papers of the Scottish Minorities Group and the Scottish Homosexual Rights Group, 1970-1984, notably Annual Reports and accounts, 1970-1980; minutes of the National Executive Committee, 1970-1981; minutes of Annual General Meetings, 1979-1980; newsletters and leaflets, 1971-1984, of the SMG and the SHRG, as well as other Scottish gay organisations; SMG correspondence, 1970-1974, mainly concerning Scottish homosexual law reform, notably with the Campaign for Homosexual Equality; general and working papers, 1973-1980.


Language/scripts of material: English

System of arrangement:

Papers are arranged in sections as outlined in the Scope and Content.

Conditions governing access:

Apply to Archivist.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Apply to Archivist for copyright details.

Physical characteristics:

Finding aids:

Full handlist and on-line catalogue available.


Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information:


Archival history:

Deposited in the Hall-Carpenter Archives prior to their move to the British Library of Political and Economic Science in 1988.

Immediate source of acquisition:


Existence and location of originals:

Existence and location of copies:

Related material:

The Hall-Carpenter Archives at the British Library of Political and Economic Science hold material relating to SMG and SHRG in the papers of the Albany Trust, the Campaign for Homosexual Equality, the Grey papers and the Hall-Carpenter ephemera collection.

Publication note:



Archivist's note: Sources: British Library of Political and Economic Science Archives catalogue. Compiled by Sarah Aitchison as part of the RSLP AIM25 project.

Rules or conventions: Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions: Nov 2000

Bisexuality | Sexuality
Gay liberation movement | Liberation movements | Political movements
Homosexual law reform | Law reform | Law
Homosexuality | Sexuality
Legal systems | Law
Lesbian, gay and bisexual campaigning groups | Groups
Lesbian, gay and bisexual rights | Civil and political rights | Human rights
Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual social groups | Groups
Lesbianism | Sexuality

Personal names

Corporate names
Campaign for Homosexual Equality
Scottish Minorities Group x Scottish Homosexual Rights Group x Outright Scotland

London | England | UK | Western Europe | Europe
Scotland | UK | Western Europe | Europe