Lavender Menace Queer Books Archive is owned by Lavender Menace CIC a community interest company. As of November 2023 there are six directors.
Alex Fitzgerald, a graduate of both St Andrews and Dundee Universities, is a qualified Archivist and Records Manager with over fifteen years’ experience in both the public and private sector. As a gay man with a history degree working in the archives field, and also as a keen reader and aspiring author, I am pleased to support and promote the work of the Lavender Menace Queer Book Archive. Preserving and promoting the cultural history of the community is vital to ensure that memory is bolstered and renewed through engagement with resources that might otherwise be lost.
Maruska Greenwood OBE
Maruska Greenwood is originally Dutch, but her involvement with the political and cultural life of the LGBT+ community in Scotland goes back over 30 years including campaigning against Section 28 in the late 80s and in the 90s volunteering with, as it was then, Lothian Gay and Lesbian Switchboard. As a keen reader and lover of bookshops, she was delighted to in 1993 land a dream job working at West and Wilde bookshop and stayed there until the shop’s closure 4 years later.
She went on to work in the voluntary sector for the next 25 years. In April 2022 she stepped down as CEO of LGBT Health and Wellbeing, Scotland’s leading charity supporting LGBT+ adults, having headed up the organisation since 2008.
Maruska was awarded an OBE in the King’s first New Year’s Honours List 2022 for services to Equality.
Louise Neilson is a graduate of both the University of Glasgow and the University of Manchester, and is a qualified archivist with over eight years’ experience in the heritage sector. She is currently the Access Officer for Lothian Health Services Archive and her role involves facilitating access to LHSA’s collection and conducting outreach and engagement events with both students and community groups. Louise is passionate about the study and preservation of queer history, and is dedicated to ensuring that this history is preserved and made accessible.
Sigrid Nielsen is a graduate of St John’s College in Santa Fe, New Mexico. In Edinburgh in 1979 she joined Bob Orr in Open Gaze, the bookstall he ran at Edinburgh Gay Centre, and worked in other bookselling and publishing groups. She and Bob opened Lavender Menace, Scotland’s first Lesbian and Gay Community Bookshop, as a partnership in 1982. Sigrid managed author readings, mail order lists, and bookshop events. She left as a partner in 1987 and later co-edited In Other Words: Writing as a Feminist (Hutchinson Education, 1987) and published articles and short stories. In 2019, she and Bob revived Lavender Menace as an LGBT+ books archive and heritage organisation.
Bob Orr made his home in Edinburgh when he moved to study there from Glasgow in 1973. He set up SMG Bookstall in 1976 to raise funds to support the nascent Gay Centre in Broughton Street. In 1978 he expanded the stock and changed the name to Open Gaze. He worked with Sigrid Nielsen from 1979 and opened Lavender Menace Bookshop with her as a partner in August 1982. With his now husband, Raymond Rose he opened West & Wilde Bookshop five years later which traded until 1997. He was instrumental along with Sigrid Nielsen in establishing Lavender Menace Queer Books Archive in 2019.
Trevor has been a member of the Board of Directors since April 2023. He has worked in the Scottish Government in various roles for over 20 years, with a particular focus on equality and human rights, most recently leading work to mainstreaming equality and human rights across Government and public services and develop a new Human Rights Bill for Scotland. Trevor was previously Chair of LGBT Health and Wellbeing, which works to tackle the health inequalities experienced by LGBT people in Scotland. In his spare time, he enjoys travelling and spending time with his Romanian Rescue dog Erin. Trevor believes the Lavender Menace Archive is a fantastic resource for Scotland’s communities and looks forward to contributing to expanding our reach and impact across Scotland’s diverse communities.