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December 12, 2005
Tag, you're gay!
The Guardian has a story by Mark Honigsbaum about an attempt to identify gay-related items:
Backed by the museums documentation watchdog, MDA, the group Proud Heritage this week began sending out a two-page survey requesting that institutions throughout the country list the gay and lesbian documents and artefacts in their collections. “For the first time ever, we are asking museums, libraries and archives throughout Britain to revisit their holdings and reveal what they have that is queer,” said Proud Heritage’s director Jack Gilbert. “At the moment these are not classified correctly, or held completely out of context and never see the light of day.”
… At the Lllangolen Museum in Denbighshire, north Wales, for instance, there is an exhibit commemorating the lives of Eleanor Butler and Sarah Ponsonby. Known locally as the Ladies of Llangollen, they lived together in a small cottage from 1819 until their deaths in 1829 and 1831, and were renowned for wearing dark riding habits, an eccentric choice of dress for the time.
“They would never have used the word lesbian to describe their relationship but there is no question that they lived together and shared the same bed,” said Mr Gilbert. “We think there may well be similar examples in other archives, but because people didn’t use words like lesbian and gay 200 years ago archivists have either overlooked it or simply don’t realise it’s there.”
Great example of why authors/creators/publishers are not the best or final taggers of their own stuff. (Thanks to Phil Edwards for the link.)
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