About this Archive
Bob Cant (born 1945) grew up on a farm outside Dundee. After university, he taught in Tanzania for two years between 1967 and 1969 and became fluent in Kiswahili.
September 1971 was a particularly important month for him as he went to his first Gay Liberation Front meeting and he joined a trade union. The issue of being able to come out at work remained a central part of his political activity over the following decades. He was one of those who set up a self-organised gay group within his union. He was a member of the Gay Left collective between 1975 and 1978. He was a volunteer on London Lesbian and Gay Switchboard for a number of years in the 1970s and 1980s. He became a member of Haringey Council's Lesbian and Gay Sub-Committee in 1986 and was active in campaigns to oppose Clause 28 of the Local Government Act which sought to prevent local authorities from "promoting homosexuality" or "pretend families".
He was concerned to ensure that the stories of lesbians and gay men were not erased from history and in 1988 he co-edited, with Susan Hemmings, Radical Records: Thirty years of lesbian and gay history, 1957-1987. He went on to edit Footsteps and Witnesses: Lesbian and gay lifestories from Scotland (1993), Invented Identities? Lesbians and gays talk about migration (1997) and Footsteps and Witnesses: Lesbian and gay lifestories from Scotland – second edition (2008).
He was an activist in many anti-racist campaigns and was, between 1991 and 1996, the Racial Equality Development Officer for the Scottish Council of Voluntary Organisations.
He underwent surgery to have an ileostomy and campaigned in a number of settings to raise awareness about the issues experienced by gay men with ileostomies. He carried out various research studies into healthcare issues experienced by gay and bisexual men in relation to both HIV and Primary Care. He was awarded a PhD in 2004 for a thesis entitled Exploring Gay Men's Narratives, Social Networks and their experiences of health services targeted at them: A London Study.
He published a novel, Something Chronic, in 2013. He has written a variety of opinion pieces and reviews for publications such as New Statesman, Gay Times, Gay Scotland, Lesbian and Gay Socialist, Scottish Review.
Scope and Content
Archive of LGBT educator, activist and trade unionist Bob Cant, including: papers, articles and other material regarding LGBT politics and trade unionism, 1981-2020; full run of Gay Left magazine to which Cant contributed, 1975-1980; publications and other material by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Racial Equality Development Unit, 1992-1996; articles and letters by Cant contributed to the Scottish Review, 2011-2018; journalism by Cant for various publications, 1980-2021; Typescript memoir, "Belonging/not belonging: Tales of times I spent with friends and comrades and fuckbuddies between 1967 and 1981" by Bob Cant, 2021; Publications and writings by Cant regarding Clause 28, Haringey Council and local government's response to Gay rights in the mid-1980s, 1986-2021; articles written by Cant for various newspapers and journals, regarding, among other topics, Cant's memories of and relationship with LGBTQ+ history in Scotland, 1989-2013; Cant's writing on Primary Care and HIV, 1999; draft biography of Oscar Wilde written by Bob Cant, 1976; copies of Cant’s published books, 1988-2013; VHS tape and photocopied press cutting regarding Cant's ileostomy, 1985-1997; hardback notebook filled with publishers' publicity and press reviews of Cant's oral history anthologies, 1988-2013; Two typescript drafts of Bob Cant's novel, "Something Chronic", 2000-2012; papers regarding Cant's PhD thesis, "Exploring Gay Men's Narratives, Social Networks and Experiences of Health Services Targeted at Them: A London Study", 1999-2004; Audio cassette tapes of oral history interviews, 2004-2007.