Monday 8 August 2011

First things First

Welcome to my first blog. For 5 years I have been running guided tours of Nottingham with historical lgbt (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) themes, the most popular being “The 7 Deadly Gay Sins of Nottingham” (can’t think why!!). During my research I have uncovered lots of information that I can’t use on the tours for various reasons, but I think the information should still reach an audience. Hence this blog.

Some people think history is dull. I don’t. The popularity of “Horrible Histories” proves that even the most boring periods of history have interesting bits. Lgbt history is no different, and much of it has yet to be re-discovered.

One criticism I’m likely to get is that I’m trying to prove that the society we all live in could only have happened because of gay men and women, that we owe everything to gay men and women, and that straight people have taken credit for the actions of gay men and women throughout history. That’s far from the case. I have no heterophobic agenda. I’m not “reclaiming” gay history, I’m “rediscovering” it, it’s everyone’s history as much as straight, or women’s, or ethnic history is.

In a multi-cultural world, even a “multi-diverse” world, it’s easy to forget that we all contribute something to society, however small. That has always happened, and there are ways to reveal how our ancestors influenced society. I think people will recognise that until recent decades history has been written and presented to us by white, straight, middle- or upper-class, academic, Christian men. Convention led them to research and present history as though it was made by people like themselves.

In the late 20th century more research was put into the history of women, black people, children, the working classes and other cultures, and their influences around the world. Some true heroes have been reclaimed from obscurity, NOT because they were deliberately hidden but because nobody thought they were relevant.

That’s how I see lgbt history. It’s a hidden world waiting to be revealed. I see myself as an explorer and I hope you feel the same as you read my blog. Perhaps other areas of society will be revealed as it assimilates the new information. Already people are researching the contribution made by left-handed people (we sinistrals must stick together!!), and the physically impaired (perhaps sparked by the genius of Stephen Hawking).

My blog will bring you the queerest facts from history, as well as contemporary links, and perhaps a few cartoons, puzzles and games along the way for you to use in your own celebrations in LGBT History Month (that’s every February in the UK, and every October in the USA, by the way).

There also will be guest bloggers and interviews, and information on other history blogs and websites that will connect you to the rest of the queer world.

I also want to make this blog “family friendly”. Too many lgbt blogs, websites and magazines are unsuitable for children, and I think children are often the ones most interested in history. If I need to bring “adult” themes into the posts I’ll give advance warning.

So, what can you expect? Here’s just a sample of the range of subjects I will be covering:

v      The lady who escaped marrying Mr. Clotworthy Skeffington to save millions of lives and introduce a new language into the UK.

v      The link between “Star Trek”, “Right Said Fred” and the US Embassy in Luxembourg.

v      How a gay poet invented St. Valentine’s Day and may have written the first Robin Hood ballad.

v      How Eros, a torch relay, and an assassination became part of the “Gayest Games in Ancient Greece”.

v      How the first “Queen” of Great Britain chose the world’s most internationally-used national flag.

v      How the Age of Aquarius is truly “the Gay Age”.

v      Who owned the world’s most expensive bathroom loofahs.

v      And more.

I look forward to seeing you visit my blog and hope you enjoy it.

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