Online Talk: Mapping Glasgow’s Queer History with Jeff Meek

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Wednesday 23rd June 2021 | 7.30pm BST | via Zoom

One of the most fundamental ways that we create a sense of our place in history is to map our space, by pinpointing key locations or events on a map of the city. 

“Mapping the past involves marking out the space that we made for ourselves when we were denied visibility and place. It also involves tracing a different history from the official versions that exclude or ignore us. Our history has its own heroes, key events, progress, timeline and geography.”
Our Story Scotland

By combining oral histories and scouring historical trial records related to homosexual offences in Scotland, Jeff Meek began populating maps of Scottish cities to show just where men and women socialised, relaxed, cruised and loved in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Dundee.

This talk will focus on Jeff’s work in creating his LGBT maps of Scotland’s ‘queer’ spaces 1885 to 1995, with particular focus upon the city of Glasgow. Why have some buildings and spaces extended their reach and meaning to incorporate a ‘queer’ dynamic, oblivious to much of the communities that used these spaces on a daily basis? The talk will explore prominent locations in Glasgow, including Nelson’s Monument on Glasgow Green, the Broomielaw, the numerous theatres within the city, and will touch upon both the public and private world of LGBT history within the city. Along the way, meet the Whitehats, Glasgow’s colourful, subversive and possibly rather dangerous band of ‘queer’ male prostitutes whose imprint upon interwar Glasgow may have been fleeting but enables us to examine a different side to the ‘Mean City’.

Jeff Meek is a Lecturer in Economic and Social History at the University of Glasgow. You can view his work mapping queer spaces in historical Glasgow online at www.queerscotland.com.

Jeff studies LGBT history with a focus on gay and bisexual men, religion, medicine and the law, 1885-1980. More recently he has been researching male prostitution in Edinburgh and Glasgow for his forthcoming book: Queer Trades, Society and the Law: Male Prostitution in Interwar Scotland. 

Free, booking required, donations welcome. 

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