I’ve been involved with the LGBTQ+ Research Group Wales for a while. I’m very pleased to report that the group now has a website, created in collaboration with Swansea University, which will provide a platform for sharing information about LGBTQ+ history in relation to Wales.
There’s a rundown from Queer Welsh Stories covering what’s on in Wales in the National, LGBTQ+ History Month 2022: events and highlights in Wales
A couple of books, if you’re interested in the queer history of Wales:
Daryl Leeworthy, A Little Gay History of Wales
Out and about, Ichthyosaurus: Mary Anning and queer palaeontology
Wellcome Collection, The shocking ‘treatment’ to make lesbians straight
Gretchen Rubin, Alison Bechdel (on her new book), “I’ve Always Known Physical Exertion and Movement Are Vital Somehow for My Creative Process.”
Ms Magazine, The very queer history of the suffrage movement
Waltham Forest Echo, The East End women who fought for gay rights
The Guardian, How lesbian label Olivia shook up music
Hyperallergenic, How Tessa Boffin, One of the Leading Lesbian Artists of the AIDS Crisis, Vanished From History (NSFW!)
Autostraddle, An interview with Minnie Bruce Pratt
The Lesbrary, 11 sapphic chefs for your cookbook collection
Country Queer, Amy Ray’s queer country story
Autostraddle, No Adam for Eve: the quiet history of lesbian pulp
I’m loving the fascinating interviews on Making Gay History podcast
The Making Gay History podcast mines Eric Marcus’s decades old audio archive of rare interviews — conducted for his award-winning oral history of the LGBTQ civil rights movement — to create intimate, personal portraits of both known and long-forgotten champions, heroes, and witnesses to history.
It’s been 35 years since the first Pride event took place in Cardiff
Nice article on the BBC.
“At one of the [gay social] meetings he [Mr Foskett] said ‘I think we should have a gay pride march in Cardiff’.
That might not sound particularly strange now, but back in 1985 it was like, ‘are you serious?’ He was very keen and his sort of enthusiasm was very infectious.”
The small group got planning and the event took place on 20 June.
With placards reading “gay love is good love”, the procession marched from Queen Street to the students’ union in Cardiff.
“It was a small band of people, but it was a huge step for Cardiff I think, because of what it represented,” said Mr Brown.
Mr Foskett remembered it being “quite fun, and very small”.
“The people that we encountered were friendly. People laughed. People were incredulous, but they weren’t hostile.”
Today, the Pride Cymru events draw in 50,000 people, with 15,000 attending 2019’s parade, but the first march was less than 30, according to Mr Brown.BBC, Pride Cymru: 35 Years since ‘huge step’ in Cardiff
Larry Kramer, playright, author, gay rights and AIDS activist, died this week at 84.
Making Gay History Podcast, interview with Larry Kramer
Hollywood Reporter, Larry Kramer, ‘Normal Heart’ Playwright and AIDS Activist, Dies at 84
Rest in Power.
I meant to post this a while ago but got distracted by, well, a pandemic. My friend Norena (author of the groundbreaking Forbidden Lives: LGBT Stories from Wales) wrote a great roundup of all the events that happened here for LGBT History Month 2020: Wales + LGBT History Month round up.
It’s heartening and moving to see so many activities happening across the country. We have come such a long way, even if as Norena says, we now need to move beyond events being restricted to celbratory days and months.
Llongyfarchiadau LGBTQ+ Wales!
The shops, who supported each other by sharing news and ideas, became cornerstones of the communities they served, hosting political organizations and providing safe spaces for people to explore and embrace their sexuality. Such inclusiveness — along with the spirit of the anti-war, anti-establishment revolution that fanned out before and after Stonewall — encouraged others to build upon the idea started by Rodwell and the Oscar Wilde. By the mid-1980s, queer bookstores were in more than 20 cities across North America as well as venues in Germany, France, Australia, the Netherlands and the U.K.Jason Villemez
Good article about the history of LGBT bookstores
From Ancient Rome to Judith Butler in this issue …
Cheryl Morgan blogs about the evidence for women loving women in Ancient Rome, Tribade Visibility Day
The Paris Review has a great piece on The Fabulous Forgotten Life of Vita Sackville West
TIE Campaign podcast has episodes on Lesbians Against Section 28 and Anne Lister
A long and detailed article in Out History, A Tribute to Phyllis Lyon (1924 – 2020)
Interesting interview with Judith Butler about her latest thinking Judith Butler wants us to reshape our rage
A lovely blog from Torch, Women Retold: Eurydice and Portrait of a Lady on Fire
And a nice interview with the poet Jackie Kay, DIVA meets LGBTQI literature royalty, Jackie Kay MBE
Lesbian activist, Phyllis Lyon has died at the age of 95. Lyon and her wife, Del Martin, did an enormous amount to progress LGBTQ civil rights from the 1950s onwards. Here are some articles about their legacy:
The Advocate, Phyllis Lyon, Pioneering Lesbian Activist, Dies at 95
The Guardian, Phyllis Lyon, LGBTQ rights pioneer, dies at age 95
Bay Area Reporter, Lesbian pioneer Phyllis Lyon dies
Rest in power.
My goal this week was to get through it without letting stress take over my life. I knew it was going to be busy at work, and when this happens, I tend to let self-care drop just when I most need to keep it up.
I delivered online training on Tuesday, went to Mid Wales for an all-day meeting on Wednesday, and gave a presentation to an important meeting on Thursday.
Overall, I managed the stress pretty well. I kept up other activities and didn’t have any anxiety attacks. I even had drinks with colleagues on Friday which was nice.
I went to a really good LGBTQ History Month event at The Senedd on Saturday. The speakers were all excellent and it was nice to catch up with some people I hadn’t seen for a while. I learned about this project, Out in the Museum, which started at the V&A in London and is now being picked up by other museums across the UK. There was also a showing of a powerful short film, Invisible Women, about intersections between women’s and LGBT rights activism in the 1980s.
We were planning to see Portrait of a Lady on Fire but my partner has a cold so we’ll try and see it next weekend.
I finished Nalo Hopkinson’s short story collection, Falling in Love with Hominids. It’s a really good collection and well worth reading, although the stories were much closer to horror than I expected. Proper post to follow.
Pride and Prejudice is my current bedtime book.
Mainly watching Schitt’s Creek at the moment.
I’ve been listening to Nina Simone this week after twitter reminded me that 21 February was her birthday. So many incredible songs, but I think my favourite – right now anyway – is ‘Sinnerman’. The energy of this performance grabs me every time.
An LGBT book collector “passionate about justice” has left his 30,000-piece collection to a university.
Jonathan Cutbill, a founder of Gay’s The Word bookshop in London’s Bloomsbury, died last May aged 82.
His collection, which dates back to 1760, will be moved from his Shrewsbury home to the University of London.
Geoff Hardy, a friend of Mr Cutbill, said the “incredible legacy” featured the history of LGBT issues and the oppression people had faced.
Mr Cutbill’s collection includes novels, pamphlets and newspapers, including all the copies of Gay News, which ran for 11 years.BBC News Shrewsbury book collector gifts LGBT ‘legacy’
Great post about Gay’s the Word bookshop
Interesting read, Voices: Lessons from LGBTQI History
- Teen Vogue, Before Stonewall Filmmaker Greta Schiller on Life as a Lesbian Teen at the Time of the Stonewall Riots
- The Lesbian Talkshow, Ann Bannon Talks about Beebo Brinker
- Eden S. French, Reintegration reviewed at Lamba Literary
- Lambda Literary, Clara Bradbury-Rance on lesbian visibility and representation in film (interview)
- Moomin.com, Lead cast and national premiere for the first feature drama film about Tove Jansson announced
- Country Queer, Jaimee Harris: Strong, Badass & Vulnerable (interview)
- Amy Ray at No Depression, ND Artist of the decade: A front-row seat to the evolution of Brandi Carlile
- History Extra, The real ‘Gentleman Jack’: the secret life of Anne Lister, Britain’s ‘first modern lesbian’
- The Conversation, Poets and Lovers: The two women who were Michael Field
Eduardo C. Corral, Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome
- Atlas Obscura, How Lesbian Potlucks Nourished the LGBTQ Movement
- Tea Leaves a Memoir, Emily Dickinson, The lesbian belle of Amherst
- History Extra, The real ‘Gentleman Jack’: the secret life of Anne Lister
- Tor.com, Watch the first Batwoman trailer
- Autostraddle, 8 Crime Books Featuring Women Loving Women
Michael Nava has published a thoughtful article in LARB about the author Joseph Hansen Gay Noir Pioneer
I recommend reading the Dave Brandsetter mystery novels if you can get your hands on them. They feature an openly gay detective and offer a fascinating window onto the lives of gay men and, to some extent, lesbians in the 1960s and 70s. Hansen also has a really interesting writing style.
Queer Bible, U.A. Fanthorpe
Queer Bible, Natalie Barney
Lambda Literary, review of My Butch Career by Esther Newton
Smart Bitches, Trashy Books, Poppy Jenkins by Clare Ashton
Great article from Dazed about the 40th birthday of London’s fabulous LGBT bookshop Gay’s the Word
It’s a special place and we always pay a visit whenever we’re in London.
14/03/2019 – Updated the picture after a trip at the weekend!
Well, this is fabulous – The Queer Bible
The Guardian, Pioneering Bollywood lesbian romance opens in India
Duke University Press, Esther Newton, My Butch Career, A Memoir
The Paris Review, Hunting for a lesbian canon
For World Aids Day on the 1st December, the Act Up Oral History Project
A collection of interviews with surviving members of the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power, New York.
The purpose of this project is to present comprehensive, complex, human, collective, and individual pictures of the people who have made up ACT UP/New York. These men and women of all races and classes have transformed entrenched cultural ideas about homosexuality, sexuality, illness, health care, civil rights, art, media, and the rights of patients. They have achieved concrete changes in medical and scientific research, insurance, law, health care delivery, graphic design, and introduced new and effective methods for political organizing. These interviews reveal what has motivated them to action and how they have organized complex endeavors. We hope that this information will de-mystify the process of making social change, remind us that change can be made, and help us understand how to do it.
Autostraddle, Portraits of Lesbian Writers, 1987 – 1989 (these are awesome)
Folk Radio, Grace Petrie: Queer as Folk review
Some things I’ve found interesting recently.
Julie R. Enszer at Lamda Literary, Lying with women: Meditations on Barrie Jean Borich’s writing, lesbians and liberation
Crime Reads, The Night Gertrude Stein met Dashiell Hammett (apparently she even had a go at writing a detective novel)
The Advocate, A 75-year-old lesbian discovery
This exhibition looks fascinating. I wish I could see it.
Emma Donoghue is one of my favourite writers and I particularly love her historical short fiction.
The stories in Astray are based on fragmentary and marginal historical sources, such as news reports, letters, obituaries, legal records and museum exhibits. The overarching theme is people who are on the move, out of place, in transition physically, emotionally, and psychologically. The book is organised into three sections (‘Departures’, ‘In Transit’, and ‘Arrivals and Aftermaths’), and the characters we meet within them are immigrants and emigrants, drifters, adventurers and runaways.
Each story explores the opportunities and risks of movement and boundary-crossing, what’s gained and what’s lost. An elephant is sold to P.T. Barnum, much to the dismay of his zookeeper. A woman supporting her family through prostitution in mid-Victorian London considers making a fresh start in Canada. An eighteenth-century wife tricks her husband out of his fortune and disappears. Another wife persuades a slave to run away with her. A married couple’s new start in America is blighted by tragedy before they can be reunited. Two young men go prospecting in the gold rush. A frontierswoman drags a prodigal husband home. A child is adopted and sent abroad against her first mother’s will. A seventeenth-century puritan community grapples with accusations of sexual “deviance”. A child soldier is caught up in a campaign of organised rape. The daughter of a businessman in New York discovers that the man she knew as her father once lived as a woman. A lesbian artist contemplates her life as her partner descends into dementia.
I really enjoyed Astray and found the stories fascinating and poignant. Donoghue is an emigrant/immigrant herself, moving from Ireland to Canada to pursue a relationship. The ‘Afterword’, in which she talks about how this experience shaped the book, creates a real sense of empathy and resonance. As with much of her work, there’s a focus on the lives of women and queer people, as well as people who live on the margins and don’t really fit into any normative categories.
*** Just one word of warning: ‘The Hunt’ is a deeply disturbing story about rape and I think it could be extremely triggering for people who’ve experienced sexualised violence
Some things I’ve found interesting recently