People With a Story: Goals
People With a Story is a web project
to provide information about the history of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual,
and Trans* people.
- Making Information Available
The first goal is simply to make the information available.
Much of the data on this page is made available here for the first
time. Even more is already available on the internet but inaccessible
unless you already know what you are looking for. There is a lot of information about LGBT people. Anyone who reads through all
the material here will end up with a pretty good appreciation
of LGBT history.
- Reaching an Audience
Many different audiences are envisaged
-Scholars looking to check a reference, or to find bibliographical
-College and school teachers looking for material to include on
LGBT history in class.
-College and school students looking for material for papers.
There is enough information here to write a wide variety of papers,
and enough hints for further research.
-Lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans* people looking for information
on their history.
-Interested general readers.
- Telling A Story
Lesbians, gay men, bisexuals and trans* people are not new
creations of post-modern society, nor even of industrial capitalism.
In manifold earlier cultures there have been people who did not
fit the norms of society with respect to gender or sexuality.
Sometimes this variation from the norm was accepted, at other
times cherished, and far too often it was persecuted, but in literally
hundreds of complex societies the existence of such individuals
and groups can be documented.
The word "queer" is sometimes used to unify these groups,
although it in fact carries its own baggage of modern western
heterosexual and homosexual usage.
Nevertheless is it is with queer people - people marginal or marginalized
because of gender or sexual identity or behavior - that the attention
lies here. Sometimes this concept is not quite wide enough - with
the topic of "friendship" especially the issues become
It seems there are two types of people [a dichotomy!] with respect
to how we deal with this conceptual complexity. Some want to divide
and divide: to assert difference as often and in as many ways
as possible. Others, and I am firmly in this camp, admit the diversity
but see an underlying - and rate as more significant -
- Helping People
One of the finest charges made against a historian is that
he or she is engaging in "agenda-driven scholarship".
In other words is distorting the evidence of the past for current
Well, I do have an agenda here. For a long time homosexual scholars
have looked at the past, and realized that, contrary to the isolation
they may have felt in their early years, there were people like
them in the past. Gay history and gay liberation have ever gone
We can think of Marlowe listing Edward II's spiritual ancestors;
of Richard Barnfield's appropriation of Greek mythology; of John
Addington Symonds', Edward Carpenter's, Richard Burton's and Magnus
Hirsdhfeld's conscious archeology of a homosexual past. Just knowing that modern gay people have a history, in fact a rather significant
history, is liberating for many LGBTs. This site follows firmly
in the tradition of Symonds, Burton and co. - but instead of publishing
in limited editions of few hundred copies, the new technology
enables this long known data to be widely and instantly available.
This does not mean that the site will encourage untruth. Links
to controversies and disparate points of view will be made. Lying
is not the agenda: appreciating the role and history of LGBT's