Okay so publishing the first blog post has to be a big milestone! I am feeling super positive despite is being 80mph wind outside and Storm Doris is not one bit happy!
Today I was due to visit Manchester Central Library and track down some local newspapers about an individual I am researching named Harry Stokes, who was an early gender passing individual from 1838. Harry was named as a ‘master bricklayer’ in the Manchester Guardian when his wife first exposed his biological identity after he did not give her the housekeeping for the week. Harry had a strong presence around his community and resided in a number of abodes including 13 Potter Street, 22 Camp Street and 5 Quay Street to name a few.
However, after snapping my umbrella and nearly suffocating with the plastic smothering my face, I visited Liverpool Central Library instead and postponed my Manchester trip! Nonetheless, any day at the library is a productive one, for instance, I finally tackled the MicroFische machine on my own – and was successful. I located Harry Stokes on the 1841 Census under the name of Henry Stoakes and then tried to locate him later with a variation on his name. The difficulty in locating gender passing individuals is that they alter their names to protect their identity and it can be difficult then tracing them through the records available.
I have been threatening to create a site like this for so long now and was always unsure on how to do it, however, I summoned up the courage today and ta dah here I am! I have a number of LGBT+ History Events coming up in the next week including lecture with Harvey Milk next week and the opening of the Schools Out History Conference next weekend.
Lots to look forward to and digest, right now I am reading a fabulous article Caroline Derry’s “Female Husbands’, Community and Courts in the Eighteenth Century’, The Journal of Legal History, (2017), pp. 54-79. It’s a great read that is engages in the legalities, punishment and prosecution of female husbands in the eighteenth century – which is dramatically different to the nineteenth century.