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British Museum marks Pride month with objects that tell LGBT+ stories

Rachel Savage

Reuters

London, United Kingdom  /  Wed, June 24, 2020  /  10:03 am
British Museum marks Pride month with objects that tell LGBT+ stories

The British Museum in London, United Kingdom. (Shutterstock/Claudio Divizia)

The British Museum has marked Pride season by putting five objects on permanent display that tell the stories of LGBT+ culture through history, from an ancient Greek coin featuring Sappho to a Roman lamp that depicts two women having oral sex.

The museum, which is currently closed due the coronavirus but usually attracts about 6 million visitors a year, already runs popular LGBT-themed tours.

Stuart Frost, head of interpretation and volunteers, said the addition of the artifacts was part of an ongoing effort to improve the British Museum's representation of LGBT+ history.

"They join a number of other objects on permanent display that collectively demonstrate that same-sex love, desire and gender diversity have always been an integral part of the human experience," he said in a statement.

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The objects also include a 1777 medal depicting an 18th century soldier, diplomat and spy who lived alternately as a man and a woman in France and England.

The most recent is a fake banknote made for a 2008 club event called Gay Shame Goes Macho featuring the image of British gangster Ronnie Kray instead of Queen Elizabeth.

The original 10-shilling note, in circulation in Britain until 1970, was linked to the popular expression "as queer as a nine bob note".

Pressure is growing on cultural and historic institutions to reflect LGBT+ heritage in countries including Britain, whose parliament now runs tours dedicated to the hidden history of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender lives.

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