Cruising the Seventies: Unearthing Pre-HIV/AIDS Queer Sexual Cultures (CRUSEV) explores LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer) social and sexual cultures of the 1970s, and their significance for LGBTQ people across Europe now and in the future.

CRUSEV reconstructs aspects of LGBTQ cultures and interactions from the 1970s, the decade before HIV/AIDS, to consider what this knowledge can contribute to queer politics and identity in Europe’s present and future.

The three-year research project is financed by the European funding agency HERA, under HERA’s ‘Uses of the Past’ theme.


The Crucial 70s

The 1970s was an important decade for gay/lesbian/queer culture and politics, lying between the birth of the gay rights movement in the 1960s and the impact of HIV/AIDS in the 1980s.

In many countries across Europe this was a decade of increasing yet tentative public visibility, accompanied by flourishing subcultural spaces and interactions, as well as an outpouring of overtly queer art, film, and literature.

However, the spread of HIV/AIDS across the globe in the 1980s stymied many of these developments. The project returns to places, histories, and visions of the future from the pre-HIV/AIDS era that have been lost or forgotten, which were fleeting or ephemeral, censored or destroyed.

Public attitudes today towards, and the legislative treatment of, LGBTQ people differs greatly across Europe. By examining the shared and dissonant European experiences of persecution, discrimination, collaborative action, and protest in the 1970s across several European countries, the project intends to reframe, and ultimately transform, contemporary cultural, social and political knowledge about queer history and queer life in Europe in the present.


The project so far

Cruising the 70s was launched in Edinburgh in July 2016 with a weekend of talks, screenings, and celebrations. In its first year, the project has held a symposium titled ‘Between the Sheets: Radical print cultures before the queer bookshop’ in Glasgow, February 2017; and will host a conference titled ‘A Golden Age for Queer Sexual Politics? Lesbian and Gay Literature and Film in 1970s Germany’ in Berlin, July 2017.

Further symposia, film screening series, discussion groups, and exhibitions are planned for across the three years, and the project will culminate with an international conference in Edinburgh in summer 2019.


Cruising the 70s is funded by:


This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and  innovation programme under grant agreement No 649307


Website & visual identity: Kaisa Lassinaro