British Museum launches LGBT history guide as part of Pride in London festival

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

The British Museum has launched a new guide focusing on LGBT history to tie in with the Pride in London festival.

Written by curator Richard Parkinson ‘A Little Gay History’ draws on objects ranging from ancient Egyptian papyri and the erotic scenes on the Roman Warren Cup to images by the artist David Hockney.

The guide is accompanied by an audio trail featuring Simon Russell Beale.

Timed to coincide with the Pride in London festival, the podcast – which also features artist Maggi Hambling and writer Kate Smith – discusses a number of key objects in the Museum’s collection from ancient to modern times.

“Museums have always been very important spaces for people to consider their own sexual identity,” explained Mr Parkinson.

“Most museums have collections of Greek and Roman statues which show men looking very naked, so for men who desired other men it was one of the few spaces where they could look at naked male bodies in a culturally respectable sort of way.”

He added: “History has all too often been a list of the deeds of famous men who are implicitly ‘heterosexual’ and usually European … Unsurprisingly, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people have often felt excluded and silenced, and without a voice.”

The Pride in London festival kicks off on Sunday at the St James’ Theatre with a very special ‘Audience with Martina Navratilova’ hosted by BBC sports presenter Clare Balding.

Saturday 29 June is the main day of the festival and the capital’s annual Pride parade will proceed from Baker Street to Trafalgar Square.