Skip over navigation to page content
OurStory Scotland

... recording the stories of the LGBT community in Scotland

Archiving Heritage Oral History Storytelling Drama Exhibitions Research
  Storytelling: Storytelling Index | Online Storytelling | Auto/biographical Accounts | Reflections | Episodes | Skeletons | Fictions | Performance

New Project!

Contribute online through
Queer Distance

Queer Distance

Our Stories

Launch of Queer Story Scotland at Pride Scotia 2005

Ever since 2005, when we were awarded a major grant from the Scottish Arts Council Lottery Fund, we have been celebrating the personal and local histories of the LGBT community in Scotland.

Our storytelling events provide archiving resources, creative platforms and narrative opportunities throughout Scotland.

Creative Scotland

Supported by the
National Lottery
Creative Scotland


News Flash!

*** Queer Distance ***

Our new project Queer Distance, developed in response to the necessity of keeping a physical distance to combat the spread of coronavirus, encourages us to engage on online storytelling, maintaining a queer distance.

Storytelling continues throughout the year, though February is especially busy as LGBT History Month provides a focus for our work. We provide many opportunities to share our stories. The principal themes for our storytelling at present are Coming In, Love Out of Bounds and Transgressions

>> see details of our LGBT History Month events in February 2021


Transgressions as a theme encourages us to share stories of how so many of us have been seen as crossing some line or boundary of the ‘normal’ or ‘natural’ in relation to gender expectations. LGBTQ+ people may be considered to be not properly masculine or feminine, either for the way they behave or the gender of those they are attracted to or fall in love with. We transgress societal boundaries in regards to the family, monogamy and further queer ideas about ‘men’ and ‘women’ to the point of expanding it beyond a reductive binary. Gender norms, whether in terms of how we express ourselves or whom we love, are enforced by words or deeds, by bullying, harassment or even law. We are all transitioning all the time and to be aware of this is empowering – a lesson from the trans community that is of value to us all. We aim to share stories of what has happened when we are seen to cross a line or boundary, how this is seen as a transgression, what are the repercussions and how we have coped, complied, resisted or challenged.

See our first outing of Transgressions:
10 February 2021 (5pm – 7pm) online storytelling via Zoom
in conjunction with Edinburgh University Staff Pride Network.

Coming In

In response to the xenophobia surrounding the EU referendum and its aftermath, we have developed a new project on Coming In, recording the stories of LGBT people coming to Scotland and enhancing our diversity. In conjunction with the internationalism to which the leaders of all 5 political parties in the Scottish Parliament are committed, we are celebrating those who, by coming in to Scotland, have enriched our cultural identity. To emphasise the common experience of coming out while coming in, we see parallels with the way in which many of us have found it easier to be ourselves elsewhere, somewhere different from where we come from originally.

If you are interested in telling your story of 'coming in' or moving 'elsewhere', you can note down a key episode from your life, have your story recorded by us, or join a storytelling event. Contact us to find out more about the ways in which you can participate.

Speaking Out about Coming In

In conjunction with LGBT Health & Wellbeing and Connecting Scotland's Sounds, we launched Coming In at the National Library of Scotland in 2017. We shared stories from more than 20 countries.

Coming In:
stories of LGBT people
coming to Scotland
enhancing our diversity

Connecting Scotland’s Sounds: Championing Scotland’s heritage sound recordings with support from the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation.

Contact us for further details of how you can contribute to our 'Coming In project.

a selection of past events...

Love Out of Bounds
storytelling 2-4pm 2 May 2015, Old Gala House, Galashiels

In conjunction with our exhibition Love Out of Bounds at Old Gala House, we held a storytelling event to share our stories.

Storytelling at Old Gala House 2015

See below for more details of our Love Out of Bounds project.

History Walk Glasgow 2014

LGBT History Walk
29 July 2014 Glasgow

Glasgow's first ever LGBT History Walk! We retrace LGBT history by taking a walk through Glasgow’s past places and spaces. The walk is a journey of memories, sharing stories of places we used to meet and venues that have helped to shape our history and our community.

Moving Bodies
drop-in storytelling 24 July 2014
Pride House, 14 Albion Street, Glasgow

This drop-in LGBT storytelling event gave us the opportunity to share stories about ourselves and our bodies: ideal bodies; sporting bodies; and self-governing bodies. From the way we embody our gender or sexuality, to bodies that move us, to our relation to competitive sporting ideals.

Self-Governing Bodies
Feb 2014 at Edinburgh University

The theme of our storytelling was self-governing (our) bodies in a wider sense. The idea originally came out of the heated debate around reproductive rights, especially in the context of queer parenting. Contributions also covered decisions to opt in/out of medical procedures and a wide range of body modifications such as piercings, tattoos and the styling or removal of (body) hair. We also shared stories of sports, gender expectations and body images, and embodying gender or sexuality in a way that clashes with cultural or religious norms. Stories included situations in which our autonomy was threatened or violated as well as occasions where we have successfully asserted our bodily autonomy.

Love Out of Bounds
Feb 2013 at Edinburgh University

'Love Out of Bounds' was the theme for a storytelling event in Edinburgh in collaboration with Edinburgh University FemSoc and LGBT History Month Scotland. Participants, who might be LGBT, straight, curious, queer or undefined, were invited to speak about love 'outside the box'. This could be the story of a relationship with somebody who did not meet the expectations of friends, family or society because of their gender, sexuality, age, ethnicity, cultural background, disability, nationality, physical or mental health or religion. It might be the story of a relationship with more than one partner, or it might be the story of an unlikely friendship, biological or chosen family bond. There were funny and sad stories, open-ended stories, stories written down beforehand, and stories spontaneously shared.

Supporting Stars
Feb 2012 at St Mungo Museum

Loves Untold
Feb 2012 at St Mungo Museum

see details below
>> or click here to open flyer

Love Out of Bounds has been one of our principal storytelling projects. An intensive year of storytelling culminated in an exhibition and storytelling performance. The exhibition ran throughout February 2012 at St Mungo Museum, Glasgow, with a special Saturday afternoon (4th Feb) to celebrate Supporting Stars, and with live storytelling of Loves Untold on Valentine's Day (14th Feb).

Supporting Stars took place at 2pm on Saturday 4th February in the Function Room at St Mungo Museum in Glasgow. This event encouraged us to talk about the heroes and heroines of LGBT History, from those who have helped to change our world for the better, to those who have given us invaluable personal support. We shared stories of people, past and present, who have given support to the LGBT community and to those whose love has been deemed 'out of bounds'. Whose memory would you like to celebrate?

Loves Untold was a storytelling performance at 6pm on Valentine’s Day, 14 February, at St Mungo Museum in Glasgow. The performance included stories that have been collected during a series of storytelling workshops on Love Out of Bounds.

Love Out of Bounds is an innovative project that crosses the boundaries between communities and brings us together to share stories of loves untold. The project was supported by the National Lottery through Creative Scotland, and was developed by OurStory Scotland and Rachel Smillie with the Village Storytelling Centre.

Love Out of Bounds brings together a diverse range of participants, including people from minority ethnic groups, irrespective of gender and sexuality. Participants may be LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender), straight, curious, queer or undefined. Love Out of Bounds encourages people to tell their stories of love ignored or rejected by their family, community or culture. There are so many of us who have experiences of being told that the love we have is somehow wrong or misdirected. We are finding common ground between straight and LGBT people, and people from majority and minority ethnic communities.

Love Out of Bounds August 2010

We held workshops throughout 2010, and developed exhibitions of visual and verbal storytelling for LGBT History Month 2011 and 2012. The 2011 exhibition was curated by Jose de Unamumo and the storytelling performance was directed by Jo Clifford.

Jose and Jo

Storytelling at the Winter Gardens hosted by the People's PalaceLove Out of Bounds builds on our experience of working with professionals from museums and the arts to exchange stories across community boundaries.

The project continues to accept submissions.
Why not tell us your story of
Love Out of Bounds?
Contact us to find out how you can participate.

February is LGBT History Month

open LGBT History Month (LGBT Youth Scotland) in a new browser window

Celebrate our history - OurStory - by sharing stories with us.

Contact us to find out how you can participate.

*** Storytelling Online available now! ***

>> click here to see further details of how to tell us online about your life

Storytelling continues throughout the year

storytelling Feb 2006OurStory Scotland continues to organise, encourage and record storytelling throughout Scotland. Our storytelling can be spoken, written, visual or dramatic, or a combination of any of these - with lots of opportunities to try out new skills, or just to tell your own story in your own way.

Contact us if you would like to to find out more, or to tell us your story, or request a storytelling event in your own area.

Why Storytelling?

OurStory Scotland, as its name suggests, is concerned with stories - the stories of the LGBT community in Scotland. We record the stories of people's lives through oral history, but oral history is not the only kind of storytelling with which we are concerned. Oral histories can be complemented by written material in which we narrate our lives, and visual material for illustration and illumination. We are archiving oral, written and visual testimonies as they are central to our aims as expressed in our title and constitution. We are interested in oral history, written historical narratives and in artistic storytelling based on genuine experience. Contact us if you would like to contribute.

OurStory Scotland is facilitating storytelling online, assembling auto/biographical accounts, exploring reflections, presenting episodes, sketching skeletons and creating fictions, for publication in writing and performance.

>> Online Storytelling

>> Auto/biographical Accounts

>> Reflections

>> Episodes

>> Skeletons

>> Fictions

>> Performance

Storytelling Online

Same Love

Storytelling Online available now!

>> tell us online about your life

Through online excerpts, you can get a flavour of the tales we have to tell:
>> Tales to Tell

OurStory Scotland has been an active participant in Mass Observation Communities Online. This has enabled people to contribute material about their lives directly online.

>> see our contributions to Mass Observation Communities Online

Storytelling Events

OurStory Tent Aberdeen

OurStory Scotland has been holding storytelling events all over Scotland - in Aberdeen, Dumfries, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Inverness.

We have been travelling across the country discovering stories, recording life experiences, connecting the past, exploring the present and looking to the future of the LGBT community.

The OurStory Ceilidh on 4 November 2006 provided a magical combination of music, dance and stories, in the best tradition of the ceilidh. It was a sell-out success, filling the grand Trades Hall in Glasgow, making a very special atmosphere with visual and textual stories displayed throughout the hall, and with 20 storytellers from all over Scotland telling their story live on the night.

Kilted Dancers at OurStory Ceilidh

Storytelling for LGBT History Month

We have celebrated LGBT History Month each February by organising storytelling workshops and events, such as...

Vanished Valentines
...the Valentines we never sent...
stories of loves undeclared
loves that might have been
loves that never were
or loves that vanished!

Card for Vanished Valentines

East Lothian Museums hosted Vanished Valentines in Musselburgh in 2010. What would you write in a Valentine card to a lost love? Participants designed and wrote a range of Valentines, funny or sad, witty or wistful, cynical or curious.

>> see a set of pictures of our previous event in Musselburgh 2009

More Stories to be Told

In events throughout the country we continue our storytelling with the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community in Scotland.

Contact us if you would like to take part, wherever you are.