LGBTQIA+ resources

Rare Books and Special Collections

Our Rare Books and Special Collections (RBSC) contain a rich array of historical and contemporary queer treasures, including posters, pamphlets, periodicals and books by prominent queer authors and advocacy organisations. 

It was a riot: Sydney’s first Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras records first-hand accounts and images of the first Mardi Gras in 1978, heralding the vocal beginnings of Australia’s LGBTQIA+ rights movement. Bibliography of homosexuality: a research guide to the University of Sydney Library is a valuable record of LGBTQIA+ resources held by the Library at that time.  Gary Simes—linguistic historian, bibliographer and University of Sydney graduate—wrote these seminal works in the same year, 1998. Simes’ subsequent bequest has contributed to the establishment of the Hunt-Simes Visiting Chair of Sexuality Studies and funding for the acquisition of resources in the same discipline by the Library.

You can view Virginia Woolf’s personal copy of the UK edition of The voyage out in Rare Books and Special Collections. This unique book includes the blue-pencil edits made for her US publisher and presumably her US audience. There is even a piece of typewritten copy pasted over one paragraph!

First published in 1915, this novel established Woolf’s literary reputation, with her distinct narrative style and focus on feminine consciousness, sexuality and death. 

The University of Sydney has a long and proud history of LGBTQIA+ support and activism. A key example is Honi Soit, the free weekly student newspaper, published since 1929 by the Students’ Representative Council (SRC).

You can view early editions of Honi Soit online or request to view physical copies in the RBSC Reading Room on Level 1 of Fisher Library. 

Throughout his five-decade career, acclaimed Australian photographer and performance artist William Yang has explored themes of cultural and sexual identity. He is particularly known for his provocative and unflinching documentation of the Sydney LGBTQIA+ community from the 1970s onwards, including the evolution of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, and for photographic series exploring his sense of identity as a Chinese-Australian. In 2023, Yang signed and donated copies of his entire body of published work to be held in perpetuity by the Library’s Rare Books and Special Collections.

Queer literature

The General Collection at Fisher Library contains a wealth of LGBTQIA+ fiction and nonfiction. The following selection includes seminal works of analysis like Judith Butler’s Gender trouble, classic literature by beloved authors such as James Baldwin and Virginia Woolf, and modern-day novels, memoirs, comics and essay collections.

  • Related information

    Equity, diversity and inclusion