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Historical Archives of the European Union - European University Institute

LGBTQ+ at Work - Unveiling the European Parliament's Archives and Commitments

A new online exhibit at the Historical Archives of the European Union illustrates actions concerning LGBTQ+ rights taken in the European Parliament between 1987 and 2003. Archivists curated the exhibit in celebration of Pride Month 2024.

06 June 2024 | Publication


This year, the Historical Archives of the European Union (HAUE) is marking Pride Month with the publication of the online exhibition ‘LGBTQ+ at Work - Unveiling the European Parliament's Archives and Commitments’. Pride Month, rooted in the Stonewall riots of June 1969 in the United States, is a time of celebration and visibility for the LGBTQ+ community and is now celebrated around the world.

The new online exhibit explores documents from the European Parliament (EP) between 1987 and 2003 relevant to LGBTQ+ rights. It provides fascinating insights into some of the inner workings of the Parliament, and illustrates the mechanisms citizens have used to make their voices heard at the European level.

More specifically, ‘LGBTQ+ at Work’ spotlights a selection of inquiries during the European Parliament’s ‘Question Time’ that illustrate the ongoing battle against LGBTQ+ discrimination across member states. The specific examples inform viewers about the different forms of discrimination that LGBTQ+ people faced, and highlight the efforts of several inspiring MEPs and public figures to find a European remedy for this discrimination.

The exhibition is a testament to the European Parliament's ongoing commitment to equality and inclusivity for LGBTQ+ people. The adopted resolutions, parliamentary questions, and proposed policies illustrate the EP’s concerted effort to combat discrimination and promote LGBTQ+ rights within the EU.

Researching LGBTQ+ issues in the HAEU holdings

HAEU archivists have treated research questions concerning EU institutional activities concerning LGBTQ+ rights over the years, and note the particular challenges related to it. Relevant key words have changed over time, and the 30 years rule means that many recent institutional and private archival documents on the topic are still unavailable for public consultation. The 30 years rule also impacts what is available in terms of audio-visual material.

Despite these obstacles, Marie Undreiner, the archivist trainee who proposed and researched the exhibit, said that a careful, patient search of the HAEU database can yield an abundance of interesting information supporting research. “I would encourage researchers in gender studies, discrimination, and minority rights to look into the European Parliament's archives at the HAEU. There are many documents that can enrich your work and offer fresh perspectives on LGBTQ+ history in Europe”.

As archives from the mid-1990s start to open up, researchers will be able to access the considerable amount of audiovisual materials produced with the digital transition. Petru Pandrea, another archival trainee who worked on the exhibition, notes that “the early 1990s marked a transition from analogue to digital formats. Researchers can expect a significant increase in relevant resources, including images, videos, and audio files, starting from 2025 onwards. It is likely that these materials will also inform the evolution of LGBTQ+ rights within the European Union.”



Feature image: graphic elaboration based on HAEU document NDG 275_01. See original document here.

Last update: 06 June 2024

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