Bajazid Doda

It is not uncommon within our research to find someone as deeply unappreciated as Bajazid Doda, but we find a first in that Doda's murderer overwhelms any story about his life. Doda was an Albanian ethnographer and photographer who watched the destruction of his culture and took action against it, recording the landscape and identity of the Upper Reka Valley within Albania. His work has served as a touchstone within academia surrounding the Upper Reka Valley. Still, he is most well-known for his relationship with the man who would ultimately take his life.

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Algernon Charles Swinburne

There is a demand of queer people to be respectable; to please the dominant society, to conform, to hide that which is seen as other. They draw contempt from inside and outside of the community. However, it is those queer people who abandon respectability who provoke change. Algernon Charles Swinburne was not one to hide who he was, nor was he quiet about his beliefs. Oscar Wilde called Swinburne “a braggart in matters of vice, who had done everything he could to convince his fellow citizens of his homosexuality and bestiality without being in the slightest degree a homosexual or a bestialiser.” While it’s true Swinburne often encouraged and even started rumours about himself, sometimes to draw attention and other times for humour, his sexuality was anything but.

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Victor Barker

Any time we look at the life of a transgender man throughout history, there are a number of hurdles we must first overcome. There are many reasons for a person assigned female at birth to wear clothes associated outside of that assigned gender. Historically, there is a precedent for women to dress as men to gain economic status or to more comfortably live in a relationship with another woman. It's important to untangle these threads in order to find the motivation. Victor Baker is a clear example of how these threads can weave a complete life story. If given access to our modern labels, we can see how he might have identified.

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Elvira de la Fuente Chaudoir, A.K.A Agent Bronx

Queer people played a significant role in the winning of the second world war, from the famous story of Alan Turing to the hundreds of names behind the scenes. One of those names is Elvira de la Fuente Chaudoir. In any remembrance of this woman’s work, it must be noted that while her work was done below the radar, her life most certainly was not. The daughter of a Peruvian diplomat, she was a woman who loved parties and “favour[ed] the companionship of women who may not be careful of their virginity” according to Deputy Chief Constable Josef Goulder. She was not well-respected, but she was well-known. Considered to be a beautiful “good-time girl” who loved the spotlight and was dismissed because of this, her identity was only revealed years after the war had ended: Agent Bronx.

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Eleanor Rykener

There is a fine line historians must walk between being thoughtful in using contemporary language for historical figures and erasing queer people from history. While someone from ancient Sumer wouldn’t have used the word “bisexual”, for example, we can discuss how their sexuality and experiences fit this modern term. We walk that line with every article, and we try to do so respectfully. There are, however, those who act under the guise of historical accuracy only to deny queer persons our history, particularly those stories of trans women.

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Hamish Henderson

Hamish Henderson is not widely known, despite his contributions to Scottish culture. Despite being a proud bisexual, and greatly contributing to LGBT activism, this facet of his identity is largely ignored in discussions of the man himself. A folklorist, poet, and activist, Hamish Henderson (1919-2002) was one of the major forces in the Scottish Renaissance of the 20th Century, a period of time where Scottish art and political thinking flourished. His song ‘Freedom Come-All-Ye’ is probably his most well known piece of work, has been suggested as an alternative national anthem and was sung at the Scottish Commonwealth Games in 2014. Beyond this, his contributions to the promotion and preservation of Scottish Culture can still be seen today. 

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Alan Turing

There are a myriad of accounts about Alan Turing's life. You can read biographies, watch films, and browse entire websites dedicated to the man dubbed 'the father of artificial intelligence'. But many of these accounts fail on a number of fronts. Some downplay his sexuality, others ignore it outright, and only a handful recognize that Alan Turing's achievements are as much down to his early romantic experiences as they are to his intellectual prowess.

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Rotimi Fani-Kayode, Pictures Worth a Thousand Words

This week, as our celebration of black history month continues, we have the privilege of looking at another incredible black queer person in the queer community’s history: Rotimi Fani-Kayode. As with many of the people, we write about, Rotimi was an artist. A photographer, more specifically, whose work was revolutionary for his time and remains so today.

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Wilfred Owen: Dating Your Heroes (And Writing Through Hard Times)

Hello, again! With Laura still on hiatus, I’m still hanging around, writing articles in between podcast episodes and crossing names off of my list of interesting, historical, and queer figures. This week keeps us in London (sort of) with a reader-requested and Grace-approved poet, Wilfred Owen. There will be some discussion of shell-shock and post-traumatic stress disorder in this article, in case that bothers you. Wilfred Owen was a war poet who served in the First World War; his experiences on the field led not only to the aforementioned mental illness, but also to some truly evocative, anti-war poetry, and to a romance with fellow poet, Siegfried Sassoon.

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Virginia Woolf: Struggling (And Never Being Perfect)

Trigger Warnings for sexual abuse, discussion of mental illness, racism, and suicide. 

Hello, folks! Grace here. I’ll be writing up a couple of articles while Laura’s on hiatus. I’ve got a small list of people I desperately wanted to write about (a list that’s been contributed to by some of you!), and now is as good a time as any to start working my way through it. Why not start, then, with Virginia Woolf? 

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Sir Ewan Forbes, the Doctor

To begin our week of daily articles, we have decided to look into the life of the transgender doctor, Sir Ewan Forbes. Forbes was born into a noble family, and later in life gained the title of baronet. From a young age, Ewan was not interested in conforming to gender norms. Through most of his childhood, Ewan was able to avoid acting and dressing as Scottish society expected him to and was only seen in traditionally female clothing on special occasions. Most of his life, that easiness followed him as it did for most people who were born into a privileged family like his.

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The Trials of Oscar Wilde

This week, we enter the long awaited analysis of Oscar Wilde, playwright, poet, novelist, and all around brilliant bisexual. He was a well-known author when he was alive, and thrived in the artistic society of his time. He is remembered for his incredibly influential work even now. Many of his works are still taught in school, though they are often edited in an attempt to minimize the heavy queer themes (among them is the green carnation, which is theorized to symbolize a queer character). He is a well known and well liked historical figure even in the heterosexual community, but let’s look at what the heterosexual community did to him while he was still alive.

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