In March 2017, the first LGBTQ+ history exhibition to be displayed at a national museum in Northern Ireland debuted at the Ulster Museum. The exhibition, entitled “Gay Life and Liberation: A Photographic Exhibition of 1970s Belfast,” included private photographs captured by Doug Sobey, a founding member of gay liberation organizations in Belfast during the 1970s, and featured excerpts from oral histories with gay and lesbian activists. It portrayed the emergence of the gay liberation movement during the Troubles and how the unique social, political, and religious situation in Northern Ireland fundamentally shaped the establishment of a gay identity and community in the 1970s. By displaying private photographs and personal histories, it revealed the hidden history of the LGBTQ+ community to the museum-going public. The exhibition also enhanced and extended the histories of the Troubles, challenging traditional assumptions and perceptions of the conflict.

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