In the lead up to our OUTing the Past Festival of LGBT History at the Museum of Liverpool, 23 February, we will be sharing blogs from our wonderful speakers.
First up is Valerie Stevenson, Head of Academic Services at Liverpool John Moores University. She tells us more about her talk, Trans-Verses: Poetry themes in The Glad Rag and Cross-Talk Magazines.
“At Liverpool John Moores University we recently acquired a small archive of books, magazines and personal papers from the family of Peter Farrer, who lived in Liverpool for many years and was an authority on the history of cross-dressing. His collection of dresses was shown in the exhibition Transformation: One man’s cross-dressing wardrobe at the Walker Art Gallery and Sudley House. The archive includes runs of two magazines: The Glad Rag, published by the UK Transvestite/Transsexual Support Group and Cross-Talk, by The Northern Concord. Both magazines contain a mix of factual advice and creative writing in the form of short stories and poems.
Looking through these magazines, it is clear how important they were as a means of communication in the decades before most people had access to email or the Internet. The poems stood out to me because of their intensity of feeling on themes such as identity and the pain of existence. In my paper, I will provide an introduction to the Peter Farrer Archive, which is available to anyone for research purposes, and identify the recurring themes in this group of poems. I found them extremely moving and worthy of further analysis to explore how they compare with more recent collections of trans poetry.”
If you would like to find out more you can hear Valerie speaking on the poetry themes in The Glad Rag and Cross-Talk Magazines at approx 11:30 am on 23 February at the Museum of Liverpool.
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