Dr Justin Bengry

Staff details

Position Lecturer in History, MA in Queer History Course Convenor
Department History
Email j.bengry (@gold.ac.uk)
Phone +44 (0)20 7919 7536
Dr Justin Bengry

Academic qualifications

  • PhD, History and Feminist Studies (2010)
    University of California

  • MA, History (2004) University of British Columbia

  • BMgt, Management (2001) University of Lethbridge, Canada

  • BA, History and German (2001) University of Lethbridge, Canada


Dr Bengry is committed to research-driven teaching, skills development, and the use of historical study for critical engagement with contemporary issues. He sees students as collaborators in these goals, particularly given the political, social and emotional significance of queer history and histories of sex and sexualities. He has taught at universities in Canada, the United States, and UK as both a lecturer and seminar instructor in all periods of European history since the Enlightenment at both the undergraduate and postgraduate level.

Dr Bengry convenes Goldsmiths’ MA in Queer History, the first MA of its kind, and teaches the following modules:

Capitalism and Homosexuality (Undergraduate)
Explorations and Debates in Queer History (MA)
Research Skills for Queer History (MA)
Queer Public History (MA)

Professional Experience

Dr Justin Bengry is active in public and digital histories, engaging wide audiences through blog writing and editing, crowd-sourced data collection, and digital mapping of LGBTQ histories.

Bengry’s online articles critiquing the UK’s policy for extending pardons to men convicted for past homosexual offences have been republished by LSE British Policy and Politics, Pink News, and Slate in America. He was the lead researcher on the Historic England initiative ‘Pride of Place: England’s LGBTQ Heritage’, which included a crowd-sourced map of LGBTQ heritage sites, new statutory listings, teaching resources for schools, and policy and research guides for the public and local authorities. The project was featured in all major UK media outlets including the BBC News and BBC World Service, The Guardian, The Times, and international media including The New York Times, Reuters and many others.

In 2013, under the auspices of the Raphael Samuel History Centre, Bengry was a founding co-convener the Institute of Historical Research History of Sexuality Seminar, the first provision of its kind in the UK. He also co-founded the international history of sexuality blog ‘NOTCHES: (re)marks on the history of sexuality’. NOTCHES’ has become an active voice in a dynamic field, cited by leading scholars, republished in the Huffington Post, Slate, the Boston Globe and translated for republication internationally. His own blog posts on queer family history and ‘gay pardons’ are used for teaching in the UK, US, and Canada.

Dr Bengry has been interviewed for documentaries, discussed LGBTQ history on camera for the BBC, and been an invited panellist at a sold-out event on queer spaces at the British Film Institute. He also speaks at smaller events like Age Concern’s Opening Doors program for LGBT elders in Camden, and has co-convened public workshops on queer histories at the London Metropolitan Archives and Bishopsgate Institute.


Research Interests

Research interests

Dr Justin Bengry is cultural historian of sexualities and the queer past focusing on twentieth-century Britain. His primary research is into relationships between homosexuality and capitalism, but he is also interested in current policy surrounding ‘gay pardons’ and has extensive public history experience.

Recent Work

Dr Bengry’s upcoming monograph on homosexuality and capitalism explores what marketers have, since the 1990s, come to call the ‘pink pound’ or ‘pink economy,’ the economic power of gay men and lesbians. The Pink Pound: Capitalism and Homosexuality in Twentieth-Century Britain is the first sustained and systematic historical study of the shifting relationship between the consumer economy and the social, cultural, and political formations of homosexuality in twentieth-century Britain. This research identifies the complex ways that marketers sought new markets, how sexual subcultures fashioned public and private identities using diverse goods and services, and in what ways particular understandings of homosexuality were ‘sold’ to mass markets at a critical historical moment. 

The Pink Pound: Capitalism and Homosexuality in Twentieth-Century Britain

(Under contract with the University of Chicago Press)


Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles

‘Profit (f)or the Public Good? Sensationalism, Homosexuality and the Postwar Popular Press’. Media History 20 no. 2 (2014): 146-66. Invited article for issue on sensationalism.

‘Peacock Revolution: Mainstreaming Queer Styles in Post-War Britain, 1945-1967’. Socialist History 36 (2010): 55-68. Invited article for special issue on Gender and Sexuality.    

 ‘Courting the Pink Pound: Men Only and the Queer Consumer, 1935-1939’. History Workshop Journal 68 (2009): 122-48.


Book Chapters in Edited Collections

‘Who is the Queer Consumer? Historical Perspectives on Capitalism and Homosexuality’. In

Consuming Behaviours: Identity, Politics and Pleasure in Twentieth-Century Britain, edited by Mark Crowley, Sandra Dawson, and Erika Rappaport, 21-36. London: Bloomsbury, 2015.

Films and Filming: The Making of a Queer Marketplace in Pre-decriminalization Britain’. In British Queer History: New Approaches and Perspectives edited by Brian Lewis, 244-66. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2013.

‘Queer Profits: Homosexual Scandal and the Origins of Legal Reform in Britain’. In Queer 1950s: Rethinking Sexuality in the Postwar Years, edited by Heike Bauer and Matt Cook, 167-82. Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012.

Additional information

Please visit the following websites for more information about Justin’s work and research into queer history and the history of sexuality:


Goldsmiths Queer History



NOTCHES: (re)marks on the history of sexuality



Pride of Place: England’s LGBTQ Heritage



Pride of Place map of LGBTQ Heritage



IHR History of Sexuality Seminar




Book Section

Oram, Alison and Bengry, Justin. 2020. The LGBTQ Press in Twentieth-Century Britain and Ireland. In: Martin Conboy and Adrian Bingham, eds. The Edinburgh History of the British and Irish Press, Volume 3: Competition and Disruption, 1900–2017. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, pp. 480-498. ISBN 9781474424929

Bengry, Justin. 2015. Who is the Queer Consumer? Historical Perspectives on Capitalism and Homosexuality. In: Erika Rappaport; Sandra Dawson and Mark Crowley, eds. Consuming Behaviours: Identity, Politics and Pleasure in Twentieth-Century Britain. London: Bloomsbury, pp. 21-36. ISBN 9780857857392

Bengry, Justin. 2013. Films and Filming: The Making of a Queer Marketplace in Pre-decriminalization Britain. In: Brian Lewis, ed. British Queer History: New Approaches and Perspectives. Manchester: Manchester University Press, pp. 244-266. ISBN 978-0-7190-8894-0

Bengry, Justin. 2012. Queer Profits: Homosexual Scandal and the Origins of Legal Reform in Britain. In: Matt Cook and Heike Bauer, eds. Queer 1950s: Rethinking Sexuality in the Postwar Years. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 167-182. ISBN 978-0-230-30069-9


Bengry, Justin. 2014. Profit (f)or the Public Good? Sensationalism, homosexuality, and the postwar popular press. Media History, 20(2), pp. 146-166. ISSN 0953-5233

Bengry, Justin. 2010. Peacock Revolution: Mainstreaming queer styles in post-war Britain, 1945-1967. Socialist History, 36, pp. 55-68. ISSN 0969-4331

Bengry, Justin. 2009. Courting the Pink Pound: Men Only and the Queer Consumer, 1935-39. History Workshop Journal, 68(1), pp. 122-148. ISSN 1363-3554


Bengry, Justin; Bevan, Robert and Morrice, Richard. 2016. Pride of Place: A Guide to Understanding and Protecting Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) Heritage. Historic England, September 2016, London.


Bengry, Justin. 2016. Conservative ‘Gay Pardon’ for the dead is a strategic distraction that harms the living.

Bengry, Justin. 2015. Why I Oppose a General Pardon for Historical Convictions for Homosexual Offences.

Bengry, Justin. 2015. The Case of the Sultry Mountie: Doing Family History Queerly.

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