UK LGBT Archive

1116. Jonathan Harbourne

Jonathan Harbourne, from London, founded the ‘UK LGBT Archive’ in 2011, the largest online encyclopaedia of British LGBT history.

Jonathan Harbourne

Jonathan, a digital designer, started the archive after attending an event to mark LGBT History Month and realising his knowledge of LGBT history was limited. Jonathan decided to create his own ‘Wikipedia’-style website to create an accessible resource open for anyone to edit and share information. The website now contains over 5,500 entries on subjects ranging from historical figures, places, events and other cultural references relating to aspects of LGBT life in the UK, and which have been viewed over 15 million times. Archived by the British Library in 2012, Jonathan continues to develop the site and provide a permanent record celebrating progress made towards achieving LGBT equality.

Jonathan’s award coincides with LGBT History Month, and he was presented with his award by Margot James MP, Minister for Digital and Creative Industries (pictured below).

Jonathan showing Margot James the UK LGBT Archive

Margot James MP presenting Jonathan with his Points of Light award

In a personal letter to Jonathan, Prime Minister Theresa May said:

“The ‘LGBT Archive’ you have created is a unique resource that is preserving for future generations the memory of the progress made to achieve LGBT equality in our country. By allowing users to easily register and share their own information and recollections, your archive is providing a permanent record that celebrates diversity and the extraordinary contributions LGBT people have made to our society.”

Margot James MP said:

“I am delighted to present Jonathan with his Points of Light award from the Prime Minister today, particularly during LGBT History Month. It is so important that all of us remember how far we’ve come in realising LGBT rights over the last few decades. The ‘UK LGBT Archive’ achieves exactly that, providing a permanent, digital record anyone can contribute to and use to celebrate their unique stories. Many congratulations Jonathan on this well deserved award.”

Jonathan said:

“I’m delighted that the ‘LGBT History Project’ has been recognised for this award. The idea sprang out of an LGBT History Month Event in 2011: I came away so inspired, that I sat up all night setting up a wiki for the first time. It is a place for anyone to record and share their memories or knowledge of what it is like to be LGBT living in the UK. It was designed as a virtual time capsule to hold the struggles and celebrations of LGBT life. In the past decade there have been some major changes in law and breakthroughs in medicine. Life was changing, and I didn’t want people to forget what it had been like for those that fought for change and a better world. I put in as many articles as I could – enough to give it traction, and to attract other people to contribute. Now the site has 5,500 articles and had over 15 million visitors. This has largely been down to a few really dedicated volunteers, and I must recognise Ross Burgess for his major contribution to this project.”

See more about the ‘UK LGBT Archive’

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