Anne Lister: Plaque to ‘first trendy lesbian’ sparks anger (News)


Anne Lister

Picture copyright
Calderdale Museums

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The plaque is located on the web site the place Anne Lister married Ann Walker in 1834

A row has erupted over the wording of a plaque honouring a girl described because the “first trendy lesbian”.

The phrase “lesbian” shouldn’t be on the recently-unveiled plaque in York, which is devoted to 19th Century diarist Anne Lister.

As an alternative it refers to her as “gender-noncomforming”, which critics say has “nothing to do with sexuality”.

Greater than 2,000 folks have signed an internet petition in regards to the blue plaque, which has a rainbow edging.

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York Civic Belief, which put the plaque up, stated it was sorry to those that really feel let down by the wording.

The plaque was unveiled on 24 July at Holy Trinity Church, the place Lister acquired the church’s blessing to privately contract a wedding to Ann Walker on 30 March 1834.

Picture copyright
Keith Seabridge

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The plaque was put up at Holy Trinity Church in York

Julie Furlong, who began the petition, wrote: “Anne Lister was, most undoubtedly, gender non-conforming all her life. She was additionally nonetheless, a lesbian.

“Do not allow them to erase this iconic girl from our historical past.

“A gender non-conforming girl might be many issues as a result of it solely implies that you don’t conform to societal expectations. It has nothing to do with sexuality.”

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Lister’s diaries inform the story of her life and lesbian relationships at Shibden Corridor, the place she lived between 1791 and 1840.

The journals, of greater than 4 million phrases, had been recognised as a “pivotal” doc in British historical past by the United Nations in 2011.

Sue Lister, of York’s LGBT discussion board, stated they had been concerned within the plaque’s commissioning however didn’t log out its wording.

“She was one of many early lesbians, it was the identical period when it was not alright to be homosexual, you lined up your sexual preferences as a result of they had been thought-about sinful and legal,” she added

“You need to get [the wording] proper, you want now not cowl up the truth that she was a lesbian, so say it loud and proud.”

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Suranne Jones as Anne Lister and Sophie Rundle as Ann Walker in costume for Gentleman Jack

York Civic Society stated the phrase gender-nonconforming “was not meant to be learn as a substitute for the phrase ‘lesbian’, nonetheless, we perceive and settle for that it has been learn on this manner”.

“Whereas we have acquired many optimistic responses to the plaque, we’re actually sorry that there are additionally many individuals who really feel let down by its wording,” it added.

“We recognise that this has harm folks, and we apologise.”

It stated it was open to “updating the plaque within the close to future”.

A brand new BBC TV drama known as Gentleman Jack, primarily based on Lister’s diaries, is in manufacturing and is because of be screened on BBC One in 2019.


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