Projects from the Centre for Queer History

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Discover some of the centre's recent and ongoing research projects and reports.

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

This research project 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 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. 

Disregarding the Past: Pardons for Past Homosexual Offences - Justin Bengry

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Despite suggestions that tens of thousands of men have been pardoned, legislation in England and Wales has only impacted a handful of living men. Critically examining the disregard process and the statutory pardons for some men convicted of some offences, this project demonstrates that there has been little willingness to offer more than limited action to redress past injustices.

Queer men convicted for activity that included no sexual impropriety continue to be criminalised. North of the border, however, in Scotland legislation has been passed that actually builds upon a bill defeated at Westminster, opening up further questions about who is worthy of exoneration.

Sex on the Move - Benno Gammerl

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This project explores interplays between migratory movements and sexual attitudes by looking at the UK and East Africa as well as Germany and Turkey in the twentieth century. It addresses larger-scale developments like decolonization, expansion of the welfare state and the sexual effects of globalizing dynamics between adaptation, diasporic diversification and hybridization.

At the same time, it considers how individuals negotiated diverse sexual scripts, different types of gender relations and conflicting views on sexual diversity. Highlighting these smaller-scale conflicts and dynamics, the project demonstrates that cultural diversity not only impedes, but also facilitates struggles for gender equality and acceptance of sexual diversity.

The Pink Triangle as a symbol of transatlantic homosexual identity - Sébastien Tremblay

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Looking at gay and lesbian transatlantic cultural communication networks from the 1970s to the mid-late 1990s, Tremblay focuses on the Pink Triangle as a marker of identity in LGBTQIA2+ activist circles. Doing so, he also explores the exclusion and erasure of identities connected to the cultural memory of the “men with the pink triangle”.

He uses the Pink Triangle’s early key moments for an analysis of the entanglement of queer utopias, collective memory, cultural trauma and a certain longing for the past. He combines the psychic complexity of shame, well-known narratives of pride and their connection to homonormative discourses, and homo- and neo-nationalism.

Virtually Queer: Queer Britain’s Digital Archive - Molly Merryman

Queer Britain, the UK’s national LGBTQ museum, has established Virtually Queer, led by Research Director Molly Merryman. A digital archive and video-based oral history collection, Virtually Queer will feature interviews in exhibits and online. The first exhibition, “Our Naked Skin,” was held at The Salisbury Arts Centre in 2018 and focused on women (cis and trans) who have made a difference in LGBTQ rights and explored themes of vulnerability and activism.

Virtually Queer is working with scholars, students and trained volunteers to gather filmed oral histories of  UK LGBTQ+ residents. Others are transcribing interviews for the next stage of Virtually Queer—creating an LGBTQ+ digital archive.