A Little Gay History of Wales

Author(s) Daryl Leeworthy

Language: English

Genre(s): Gender Studies

  • September 2019 · 160 pages ·198x129mm

  • · Paperback - 9781786834805
  • · eBook - pdf - 9781786834812
  • · eBook - epub - 9781786834829

About The Book

A Little Gay History of Wales tells the compelling story of Welsh LGBT life from the Middle Ages to the present day. Drawing on a rich array of archival sources from across Britain, together with oral testimony and material culture, this pioneering study is the first to examine the experiences of ordinary LGBT men and women, and how they embarked on coming out, coming together and changing the world. This is the story of poets who wrote about same-sex love and translators who worked to create a language to describe it; activists who campaigned for equality and politicians who created the legislation providing it; teenagers ringing advice lines for guidance on coming out, and revellers in the pioneering bars and clubs on a Friday and Saturday night. It is also a study of prejudice and of intolerance, of emigration and isolation, of HIV/AIDS and Section 28 – all features of the complex historical reality of LGBT life and same-sex desire. Engaging and accessible, absorbing and perceptive, this book is an important advance in our understanding of Welsh history.


‘A Little Gay History is a feat of rediscovery. Daryl Leeworthy has mined an astonishing diversity of sources to bring into the light the underground stories and political struggles of gay men and women in a changing Wales.’
-Dr Peter Wakelin, writer and curator

‘Daryl Leeworthy has undertaken an important task of historical recovery. His book, which is at once deeply personal and profoundly universal, restores a hitherto lost dimension to the Welsh historical narrative. It is essential reading for all who wish to understand modern Wales in its fullest sense.’
-Dr Martin Wright, Senior Lecturer in History, Cardiff University

‘Despite its title, this is a big book – big on ideas, analysis, and empathy, and big on tracing the lived experience of gay people in Wales. An excellent read, it is a major achievement that deserves to be widely circulated and absorbed.’
-Emeritus Professor Jeffrey Weeks, London South Bank University, author of What is Sexual History?

'This book is a small but important attempt to increase the visibility of Welsh gays and lesbians and to begin to tell a distinctive national story'.
- New Welsh Review

A Little Gay History of Wales marks a major advance in the project of documenting and analysing gay lives and the cultural, social, and legal contexts in which they were lived in Wales. It offers a vital corrective to ‘British’ studies which ignore national, ethnic, cultural and linguistic differences within Britain, and a salutary reminder, if one were needed, that class matters in a study of national history. If the arrival of this book feels a little belated, both in terms of being a long-overdue study of LGBT Welsh history, and in the way in which male homosexual experience remains centre stage, it will no doubt be highly influential within the kaleidoscope of studies—historical, cultural, sociological—which are enriching and complicating our understandings of queer Wales.
- Professor Kirsti Bohata, Reviews in History https://reviews.history.ac.uk/review/2423

'Daryl Leeworthy sets out to question what this story reveals about Wales, the Welsh, and sexual and gender diversity in the past and present – is this story really unique or more typical than we might assume? The result is an ambitious, engaging, short, and accessible study that draws insights from a wide range of evidence to be found in archives, published documents, and oral histories. Throughout, Leeworthy quotes substantially from these materials, allowing the reader to feel that they themselves are sifting through the evidence, as the study reconstructs the histories of those who expressed some form of same-sex desire or campaigned to advance civil rights during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.'
- Laura Ramsay, Labour History Review


Chapter One: Hidden From View?
Chapter Two: Legal Limitations
Chapter Three: Seeking Love, Finding It
Chapter Four: Dancing the Night Away
Chapter Five: Law Reform and Afterwards
Chapter Six: A Lost World?
Select Bibliography

About the Author(s)

Author(s): Daryl Leeworthy

Daryl Leeworthy is the Rhys Davies Trust Research Fellow at Swansea University.

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