Wednesday, 11 January 2017

LGBT History for Beginners

Last night (10th January), as a taster for LGBT History Month, I presented LGBT History for Beginners to a (thankfully) appreciative audience, who were so engaged that we had a half hour conversation after the presentation finished. Very enjoyable.

As promised, here are links to the slides and my presentation notes:
The slides -
The notes -

Please feel free to use this material and to pass it on to anyone who may be interested.

Saturday, 2 April 2016

Past2Present 2016

At last! Much later than we had hoped for, due to ailing IT at the Park household, here is the 2016 edition of Past2Present - the LGBT History Project's annual magazine.

Past2Present 2016 - image of front cover

PLEASE feel free to pass it on to anyone you think might enjoy it. (NB: it's a 12Mb download.)

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Movie Nights

This is a little bit late for tonight's offering, I'm afraid, but there are more to come...

Sutton LGBT Forum, in association with Sutton Central Library, is screening a movie each Thursday evening throughout February to celebrate LGBT History Month.
Each film has been selected for its (admittedly, sometimes quite slender) connection to the 2016 LGBT History Month theme  - Religion, Belief and Philosophy.

Merton LGBT+ Forum is also showing these films on each Friday of February at Mitcham Library.
All are welcome to join us. We may even provide...

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