SEXing the Past 2017 Opens Events to the Public

A limited number of free tickets to some of the events scheduled as part of SEXing the Past: The What is and How to Do LGBT History Conference are now available to the public. The two-day conference, which takes place at the Bluecoat in Liverpool on March 4th and 5th, marks the end of the National Festival of LGBT History.

Events on Saturday March 4th are closely related to the conference theme: the 50th anniversary of the Sexual Offences Act of 1967. They include two 45-minute forums on the Law & Civic Society and the Law & the Military. These will take place at 14:00. A panel discussion on the (Post)Colonial Legacies of De/criminalisation is scheduled for 16:15.

Three How to Do LGBT History Workshops are scheduled for 13:30 on Sunday March 5th. These 45-minute sessions will consider statistical approaches to historical research, using oral history methods, and historicising trans*.

Free tickets are also available for the 3rd Allan Horsfall Lecture, which opens the conference on Friday March 3rd at 18:00. This year’s speakers are the activist Bisi Alimi and the author Diana Souhami.

More information on these events, invited contributors and presenters can be found on the conference programme. Booking is essential. Please follow this link and click on ‘Tickets’.

Bisi Alimi to Speak at the Launch Event for SEXing the Past 2017

Bisi Alimi, Executive Director of the Bisi Alimi Foundation, will speak at the launch event for this year’s SEXing the Past conference on Friday March 3rd. The theme of this year’s conference focuses particular attention on the 50th anniversary of the Sexual Offences Act of 1967. His comments on LGBT advocacy and acceptance in Nigeria will serve to highlight the legacy of de/criminalisation in Commonwealth countries. This aspect of LGBT history will also feature in a panel discussion scheduled as part of the conference programme, at which he will take part as a panelist.


Now residing in London, Bisi Alimi was forced to flee Nigeria in 2007 after publicly outing himself. As an activist he remains committed to LGBT advocacy and rights in Nigeria as well as migrant African communities. His foundation recently released a report on the impact of homo-, bi- and transphobia in Nigeria.

Joining Bisi Alimi at the conference launch event is the author Diana Souhami, who will deliver the 3rd Allan Horsfall Lecture. The lecture is sponsored by the Campaign for Homosexual Equality and DLA Piper.

A limited number of free tickets for the launch event and Horsfall Lecture are available to the public. To secure one, please follow this link and click on ‘Tickets’.

Reflections from Jonah Coman

Presenters have been asked to comment on the motivations, perspectives and sources that inform their work in LGBT history as well as their thoughts regarding the upcoming conference. Jonah Coman, a PhD student in Medieval Studies at the University of St. Andrews, offers the following reflections:

The personal is political. I don’t want to pretend it is not, and I don’t want to pretend I don’t have the privilege of being able to research my community’s past. My work reconciling a secular modern gender diversity with a medieval Christian gender fluidity gives believers and non-believers alike a past to see themselves into.

I would say my endeavour is metaphysical or philosophical in part – I use medieval Christian paradoxes to reveal a history less blighted by violence, while transforming these religious ideas into a temporal philosophy.

Medieval images of crucifixion are the most striking of my sources, but poetry and theology is also a very important part of my material.

LGBT history is usually mapped in mainstream discourse as ‘the Greeks’ [and then] ‘Stonewall’. I’m excited to see this gap in history filled in, and to share my own expertise in medieval ideas about gender and sexuality.

In a present so full of violence, hate and plights, the the historian of queerness finds love across time and space. Join us and discover lovers and foremothers.

Celebrating the 40th Anniversary of ‘Coming Out’ with Professor Jeffrey Weeks

coming-outThis year marks 40 years since the publication of the groundbreaking work ‘Coming Out: The Emergence of LGBT Identities in Britain from the 19th Century to the Present’, by Jeffrey Weeks.

SEXing the Past 2017 will commemorate this important anniversary by devoting a special session to a conversation with Jeffrey Weeks, which will provide an opportunity for reflections and questions on the development and future of LGBT history. 

In addition to the revised and updated edition of ‘Coming Out’ published in 2016, his many and highly influential works in the history of sexuality include ‘Sex, Politics and Society: The Regulation of Sexuality since 1800’ (1981), ‘Making Sexual History’ (2000) and ‘The World We Have Won’ (2007), ‘The Languages of Sexuality’ (2012) and ‘What is Sexual History?’ (2016). He is Emeritus Professor of Sociology, London South Bank University.

SEXing the Past marks the end of LGBT History Month and takes place in Liverpool March 3rd – 5th 2017. Visit https://sexingthepast.com for conference information and registration.


Presenters have been asked to comment on the motivations, perspectives and sources that inform their work in LGBT history as well as their thoughts regarding the upcoming conference. Lois Stone, a PhD student in Archaeology at the University of Manchester, offers the following reflections:

I became interested in studying gender and sexuality in the past as a way of trying to find myself, or people like me, in history.

I try to do all of my research with the idea that people with gender identities and sexualities that do not conform with society’s expectations have always existed. These people may have been little recorded or actively excluded, but they existed. The task now is making sure that they are remembered.

I am an archaeologist, so a lot of my work comes from site reports and archaeological ‘grey’ literature, but I also draw heavily from trans autobiographies and academic writings.

I am most looking forward to meeting other academics in the field. We can be so spread out, and it is an incredibly gratifying feeling to be surrounded by people who are invested in the same sort of research that I am.

This conference is a wonderful way to feel a part of the academic community, and specifically a part of the LGBTQ academic community. It is always worth coming.

Award-winning author, Diana Souhami, will deliver the 2017 Allan Horsfall lecture

The 3rd Allan Horsfall Lecture will be delivered by Diana Souhami on Friday 3rd March at Liverpool John Moores University. The award-winning author will deliver her lecture ‘The Painter Gluck, “no prefix, suffix, or quotes” and Other Notable Lesbians’


The lecture also marks the start of SEXing the Past ‘17, which is part of the festival of LGBT history.

The aim of the annual Horsfall lecture is to highlight both an aspect of past attitudes towards sex and gender (what might be called LGBT history) and current day campaigns towards sex and gender equality. Past lectures have featured Stuart Milk, Professor Charles Upchurch,  Peter Tatchell and Professor Susan Stryker.

Allan Horsfall was a British gay rights campaigner and the founder of the North West Committee for Homosexual Law Reform, which later became the Campaign for Homosexual Equality.

To book one of a limited number of free tickets please go to https://www.eventbrite.com/e/sexing-the-past-what-is-and-how-to-do-lgbt-history-conference-tickets-27749644935 and click on ‘Tickets’

A word from our sponsors at Gale

It is a pleasure for us to participate in the Sexing the Past Conference as we look to uncover ‘forgotten’ LGBTQ+ lives and experiences through our digitisation efforts in order to benefit present and future generations of researchers.

Gale is an education and technology company built for learners. We serve libraries by providing quality research content, powerful search technologies, and intuitive delivery platforms. Our innovative information content and technologies increase the productivity and outcomes of students, scholars, faculty, and the libraries that serve them.

One of the main drivers for Gale as an education and technology company is to partner with libraries and empower their learners with new knowledge about emerging areas of study such as LGBTQ+ history and culture.

With this in mind, we have devised a new programme of digitised archives relating to gender and sexuality, the first of which covers LGBTQ+ history and culture since 1940.

We look forward to engaging with the conference in March 2017.