He was born in Camberwell and brought up in Peckham, leaving school with no qualifications, but later took a degree in film making and television at the London College of Printing and in 2006 received a master's degree at De Montfort University on the representation of gay men in British Television Drama 1936–1979.
His work on the history of black people in television led to a 1992 BBC documentary Black and White in Colour. In 1991 he was a founder member of the Black and Asian Studies Association. In 1999 he undertook pioneering work with Southwark Council and the Metropolitan Police as a voluntary independent adviser.
He is the author of Brief Encounters: Lesbians and Gays in British Cinema.
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- http://andrejkoymasky.com/liv/fam/biob4/bourne02.html Koymasky website.
- http://www.thehistorypress.co.uk/index.php/first-world-war-books/stephen-bourne.html Stephen Bourne page at The History Press.
- http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2013/09/17/gay-historian-and-police-advisor-stephen-bourne-nominated-for-blue-plaque/ Pink News.