UK historians map out hidden, undocumented sites of LGBT history

Tue Jun 30, 2015 1:46pm EDT
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By Tom Bannon

LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - From the street worked by a medieval transgender prostitute to a pond used by gay men to bathe nude, a map showing sites of historical significance to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community in England was launched on Tuesday.

The "Pride of Place" project features more than 200 buildings of LGBT heritage across England, many of which were previously hidden or undocumented, according to Historic England, the public body that preserves historic buildings.

"You can see that the LGBT community is not just a modern phenomenon, it has been around throughout history, but now people are accepting it," said Rosie Sherrington, social inclusion and diversity adviser at Historic England.

The map categorizes the sites under headings such as activism and pubs and clubs, with locations ranging from Bletchley Park, home to the work of Nazi-code breaker Alan Turing, to pub drag shows that are still operating today.

"It is really good to look at ordinary and smaller places that are not landmarks but have incredible and interesting stories behind them", Sherrington told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by phone.

The project, organized by Historic England and led by historians at Leeds Beckett University, will feature exhibitions and presentations in an attempt to encourage people to campaign for the protection of other buildings, Sherrington said.

The launch of the map comes just days after the landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling requiring states to allow same-sex marriage, and a month after Irish voters backed same-sex marriage in a referendum.

(Reporting By Tom Bannon, Editing by Kieran Guilbert; Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women's rights, trafficking, corruption and climate change. Visit