Writing Queer Lives

How do we write about queer lives? Queer people have always existed, but a combination of censorship, coded language and omission from the historical record has made it difficult for scholars to clearly interpret and represent queer identities. Indeed, only in recent decades has it become less stigmatised (and dangerous) to write about queerness without accompanying condemnation.

In honour of LGBT History Month, OCLW will be hosting a colloquium highlighting work currently being done at Oxford to represent historical and contemporary members of the LGBTQ+ community. We will explore various arenas, including history, classics, literature and the museum sector. One panel will be hosted by the Pitt Rivers Museum’s Beyond the Binary exhibition team, detailing their experience of queering the museum’s collections and representing LGBTQ+ lives through museum objects. Our keynote will be delivered by Dr Jane Traies, the author of The Lives of Older Lesbians (2016), the recent collection of lesbian oral histories Now You See Me (2018), and the joint author of three lesbian historical novels. Jane is also a member of the Centre for Life History and Life Writing at the University of Sussex.