Hirschfeld’s Archives: Photographs as Evidence of Gender Identity and Sexuality

Intriguing photographs from sexologists’ archives suggest they could have helped people explore their gender identity and sexuality. Dr Jana Funkereflects on her experiences of discussing sexology and photography with visitors at Wellcome’s Institute of Sexology exhibition. By Dr. Jana Funke / 03.12.2015 Senior Lecturer in Medical Humanities University of Exeter n 1919, German-Jewish sexologist Magnus[…]

The Ladies of Llangollen: A ‘Romantic Friendship’ in the 18th Century

Two 18th-century women, Sarah Ponsonby and Eleanor Butler, are famous for their romantic friendship, which was then a concept helpful for lesbian couples hoping to avoid a scandal. By Sarah Bentley / 03.12.2018 Visitor Experience Assistant Wellcome Collection In her book, ‘The Ladies of Llangollen: A study in romantic friendship’, author Elizabeth Mavor sends the[…]

Gender Fluidity and Sexual Identity in the Medieval and Renaissance Eras

Bible, about 1280–90, Bologna, Italy. The J. Paul Getty Museum, Ms. Ludwig I 11, fol. 248v; National Coming Out Day (NCOD) Logo created and donated by Keith Haring to the Human Rights Campaign. Human sexuality and gender identity are complex topics, and our understanding of each is continually expanding and deepening.    By Dr. Bryan C. Keene (left)[…]

The Hijras of Ancient to Modern India

The uniqueness of Hijras lies not only in their existence beyond social structure but also in Indian society’s historical acceptance of that position. By Sibsankar Mal / 03.29.2018 PhD Candidate in Population Studies Sukumar Sengupta Mahavidyalaya (Keshpur) College Introduction A hijra named Geetu, dancing at a hair shaving ceremony in Delhi / Photo by Whitney[…]

Of Gods and Emperors: Trans Experiences in Ancient Rome

The Roses of Heliogabalus (1888), Lawrence Alma-Tadema. (Wikimedia Commons) Ancient Rome featured a myriad of, what could be understood, both then and now, as experiences that transcended sex and gender norms. By GVGK Tang / 11.14.2017 The ancient Roman satirist Lucian describes an exchange between two courtesans, wherein one of the women repeatedly characterizes her[…]