Because sure, they were just really, really good friends
BY NIC CROSARA, IMAGE BY APPLE TV+
LGBTQI history was extremely lacklustre throughout my experience in the education system. It wasn’t until higher education that I even heard a teacher reference Stonewall. Little did I know when I was younger, there were many WLW figures being mentioned in my classes. Their queerness was just conveniently left out of the conversation.
The iconic poet was addressed throughout many of my English Literature classes. It wasn’t until after graduating that I learned of Emily’s lifelong relationship with Sue. Luckily shows such as Dickinson have reclaimed Emily as a sapphic hero.
emily dickinson really wrote to sue “i tore open your letter and licked the envelope’s seal for any lingering taste of you” and historians thought they were just friends— rosé (@fairydreamys) January 12, 2022
Whilst many people within the LGBTQI community view Frida as one of their bisexual heroes, her intersectional identities are often erased. Like Emily, Frida was mentioned throughout my art classes. Teachers would never reference her bisexuality, disabilities or even her mixed-race identity.
Historians were certainly unable to erase Billie’s queerness. She was outspoken about her bisexuality and had relationships with other famous women, however, it was still erased by the education system.
Florence died having changed the world by founding modern nursing. Historians often write about how she remained “chaste” throughout her lifetime. However, the book Superstars: Twelve Lesbians Who Changed The World describes how Florence had passionate and loving relationships with three different women.
There are so many other LGBTQI women whose identities have been erased by historians or the education system. It’s why it’s important to educate, learn and unlearn in LGBT+ History Month (and all year round).
DIVA magazine celebrates 28 years in print in 2022. If you like what we do, then get behind LGBTQI media and keep us going for another generation. Your support is invaluable.
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