On Saturday I went to the Museum of London to see the launch of LGBT History Month and watch some speakers give a series of lectures on Queer London.
Queer London was a day of talk, discussion and debate on different aspects of gay and lesbian history in London. And here is some of the itinerary:
- ‘A New City of Friends: London and Homosexuality in the 1890s', Dr Matt Cook, Birkbeck, University of London. Yes, the lovely Matt himself. Excellent and very amusing talk which made we want to stay for the rest of the day in fact.
- ‘Which is the Rooster, Which is the Hen? Female Masculinities in London’s Gay Twenties' Professor Laura Doan, University of Manchester. Great presentation with gags a plenty: "Hello everyone. In case you hadn't guessed, I'm the L in LGBT" and "In the twenties many lesbians used to live in the countryside who, unlike some gay men, took cottaging literally" Ha ha.
- 'Perils and Pleasures in Interwar London', Dr Matt Houlbrook, University of Liverpool. Matt wrote the blockbuster 'Queer London'. Self-proclaimed Doctor of Cottaging, surely he is far too cute to be straight?
- 'Gay and Lesbian London: The fifties and sixties', Alkarim Jivani, journalist and broadcaster. Interesting stuff.
- 'The Ladies of Llangollen: The London dimension', Jack Gilbert, Executive Director, Proud Heritage. Sadly it was perhaps a little too ambitious a subject for the brief time he was given. Interesting though.
- 'Alchemy', Maureen Duffy reads from her latest novel, set in London in 1603 and 2003, and covering themes of fraud, witchcraft, lesbian life and disappointed love. What a brilliant writer! And witty raconteur to boot. A national treasure.
- 'Queer is Here', exhibition opening led by Peter Tatchell. See picture.
- Performance by the London Gay Mens Chorus. Very moving. Sadly no Destiny's Child medley though.
All in all is was a great and really rather uplifting day. Afterwards we retired to a wine bar to gossip about now fabulous Sarah Waters' book launch the previous Thursday was. I heard so much about it I almost feel like I was there too!
[Click on the photos for bigger versions]