Sunday, 13 December 2015

LGBT in Justice

On Monday 14th December 2015 at Mitcham Police Station, Chris Park, on behalf of Merton LGBT+ Forum, gave a presentation on the history of UK legislation that particularly impacted on the LGBT+ communities.

The history stretches from 1533 to the present day with lots of depressing things happening to start with but with a great deal of good news to end with.

The presentation slides are available for download here:

Chris's presenter's notes are here:
NB: The notes were updated on 18th December 2015 and now include further references and links to background information. 

Both are in PDF format. If you would prefer them in the original PowerPoint and Word formats, please contact Chris via

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Vintage Drag

Thanks to Facebook, I recently found a link to webpage with a large collection of photos of cross-dressed men going back to the 19th century.

We've mentioned cross-dressing on this blog before:

While the link above concentrates on men who defied contemporary gender norms, some of the following stories are about women who did so too.

We can't say now how any of these individuals identified. It is possible that some of them may have thought of themselves as being in some category akin to the present concept of transgender, but there is no evidence about their inner feelings.

Johannes Richer, or Eleanor, was a cross-dressing prostitute arrested in 1395.

In December 2011, I found an image of the Servants' Ball of 1938 in The Metro.

In the early 18th century, there was Mother Clap’s Molly House.
See also:

In the early 19th century, Anne Lister, considered one of the first modern lesbians, regularly dressed in masculine clothes.

James Miranda Barry was a physician and Inspector General of Hospitals in the 18th century. Upon his death in 1865, his charwoman was laying out his body and discovered his body was physically female.

Fanny Park & Stella Clinton (aka Ernest Boulton and Frederick William Park) were the subjects of a notorious trial in 1870.

Then there are  the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, radical drag nuns.

Billy Lee Tipton, a 20th century jazz musician, lived as a male.

French diplomat and spy, the Chevalier d'√Čon lived in the 19th century. There was a great deal of interest in their gender; at different times, they lived as a male and a female.

Eugene Falleni would certainly be considered today to be a transgender man; things were different in Australia at the turn of the 20th century.

Colonel Barker (or Valerie Arkell-Smith) was a cross-dresser who posed as a Royal Air Force officer after World War One.

In the Victorian and Edwardian music hall, there were a number of male impersonators.

That should be enough to keep you going...

Friday, 6 February 2015

LGBT Titbits - The Presentation

Sutton LGBT Forum logo
Last night (5th February), I gave a public presentation at Sutton Central Library (, based on the exhibition posters I created for Sutton LGBT Forum.
(For the posters, see

During the presentation, I promised to make the slides and my presentation notes available. Please feel free to make use of them, if you wish. (NB: I have linked to PDF versions of the material, if you would prefer the original PowerPoint/Word files, just contact me at the email address given in the blog's header.)

LGBT Titbits - Presentation slides

LGBT Titbits - Presenter's notes

We also marked the recent Royal Pardon for Alan Turing with an extra poster:
The BBC article linked at the foot of the poster itself includes a link to the petition demanding a pardon for the estimated 49,000 gay men convicted under the same legislation as Turing.


Sutton LGBT Forum has a 12 day guest pass for a local Nuffield Health gym (worth over £100) to give to the person who can answer five questions based on the exhibition posters. The questions are here:
You can email your answers to the forum at

See also

LGBT History Month logo for 2015

LGBT Titbits

Sutton LGBT Forum logo
In celebration of LGBT History Month, Sutton LGBT Forum asked me to prepare some exhibition posters for display in all the libraries of the London Borough of Sutton.

For details of the location and opening times of Sutton's libraries:

Doing my best to cover the LGBT range of interests, and with the help of Sutton LGBT Forum board member Louise Kelly, I produced these five sets of posters:

L - Behind Secret Doors

G - The Pink Triangle

G - The Lost Language of Polari

B - Bi Screen Goddesses

T - Roberta Cowell

Please feel free to use them (or not), if you wish.

These posters will be exhibited in Sutton's libraries throughout February, accompanied by a selection of books either by LGBT authors or on LGBT subjects.

I have heard that Farnham Library has put on a small exhibition too.

See also

LGBT History Month logo for 2015

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

LGBT History Month 2015

LGBT History Month starts in a few days, so you should visit the LGBT History Month website to see what events are happening near you.

As part of their celebration of LGBT History Month, Sutton LGBT Forum has arranged a presentation from 6.30pm on the evening of 5th February at Sutton's Central Library.

The presentation is based on material we have created for display in the London Borough of Sutton's libraries throughout LGBT History Month.

Sutton Central Library is on St Nicholas Way, a short walk from Sutton Station (postcode: SM1 1EA). See the map here:,-0.183592,14z/data=!3m1!4b1?sa=X&ei=6-zIVKWyDsOvaYHegfAD&ved=0CJQBEMgT

If you plan to join us, you will be most welcome. It would be helpful if you let us know ahead of time at

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Holocaust Memorial Day 2015

Today is Holocaust Memorial Day, a time to reflect on the horror of the mass murder of not only the Jews, but a range of other groups that have been considered undesirable.

The Independent has published an article by Roisin O'Connor, which puts the nightmare into context with some detailed figures from the Nazi atrocities.

A piece by Keely Lockhart in The Telegraph includes film of the liberation of Auschwitz plus footage taken from a drone that gives an idea of the scale of the camp.

Links: - The Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, which includes details of other atrocities worldwide. - includes links to many other sites with articles on Holocaust Memorial Day.


We have referred to the Nazi persecution of gay men in a previous posts


And we marked the death of Gad Beck, the last known gay Jewish survivor of the holocaust:

We have been unable to find much information about how lesbians were treated by the Nazis. However, the website of US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington DC has an article here:

And Richard Plant's book, The Pink Triangle, includes a few details:

  • No laws outlawing lesbianism were ever passed in Weimar or Nazi Germany. P 41.
  • Lesbians *generally* appear to have survived unscathed, but there were  cases of severe mistreatment of lesbians, including imprisonment for behaviour that was not, in fact, illegal and examples of male POWs being rewarded for raping lesbians. P 114-6
Certainly women as a group were considered the 'mothers of the Master Race' and considered expected to help build the Aryan population. To quote the US Holocaust Memorial Museum website, "Every woman, regardless of her sexuality, could serve the Nazi state as wife and mother."