Lothian Gay and Lesbian Switchboard

An introduction to the Archive Collection


As the UK’s first gay helpline and Scotland's first gay charity, Lothian Gay and Lesbian Switchboard was a key source of support to LGBT+ people across Scotland and the UK. LGLS provided a listening and face-face to Befriending Service for people struggling with issues relating to their sexuality, and they campaigned and advised on sexual health, mental health, and equality issues.

The collection comprises of records created and collected by LGLS, some of which you will see here.

LGLS kept minutes from the very early days of the organisation through to the late 1990s. These allow us to see the discussions that took place and the decisions that were made that shaped how Switchboard was organised, and how it was able to operate through voluntary membership.

The LGLS collection contains a large number of issues of the magazine Gay Scotland, as well as other zines, leaflets and publications from external organisations.

Newsletters and informational leaflets from several Scottish and UK based gay rights organisations record the history of LGBT+ activism.

Information was collected by Befrienders to help them inform callers on subjects from legal rights to sexual health advice.

LGLS hosted social events ranging from small gatherings for Befrienders and Befriendees, known as “At Homes”, to large fundraising events with ceilidhs and DJ’s.