A SOUTHAMPTON University history department has been ground-breaking in the UK in its teaching of LGBTQ+ history to hundreds of students.

Southampton University was one of the first in the country to teach LGBTQ+ history, as they mark a decade of teaching the subject.

The course, lectured by Professor Mark Cornwall and Dr Julie Gammon, was set up 10 years ago and is still one of their most popular history courses.

Dr Gammon said: "Our aim was to study gay or queer history over a long time-period from Ancient Greece through to the late twentieth century.

"We show students the long tradition of homophobic repression, but also reveal a long history of sympathy and tolerance of queer men and women.

"It is a really rich history, much of which is only now being discovered by historians."

Topics studied include the absence of homosexuality in the Bible, the sudden invention of the term homosexual in the nineteenth century and the ground-breaking British film 'Victim'.

'Alternative Sexualities' has proved to be one of the most popular courses in the History department, with students increasingly confident about taking part in discussions about the LGBTQ+ past.

Prof. Cornwall said: "I think our students opened up even more when I came out as gay in one seminar; it encouraged them to see that LGBTQ+ history is now mainstream and not just a minority subject."

The course 'Alternative Sexualities' has now been replaced by one called 'A Short History of Homosexuality'.

It now has more than 60 students.

As a result of the student interest, the History department also organises an annual public 'Stonewall Lecture' devoted to LGBTQ+ history.

The next one will be on February 20, 2020 when Dr Jill Liddington will speak about 'Writing Anne Lister: The Real Gentleman Jack', which was the subject of a recent BBC TV series.