Thank You, Worlding SF!

As most of you will know, I spent the first third of December in Austria. Part of it was tourism, of which much more later, but the main purpose of my trip was to attend the Worlding SF conference at the University of Graz.

I had an absolutely amazing time. Vienna and Graz are both beautiful cities in their own, very different, ways. I’ll have more to say about them in later posts. This post, however, is all about saying thank you. That’s thank you to the organisers, to the University, to my fellow keynote speakers (Mark Bould & Gerry Canavan), to all of the great presenters whose papers I heard, and to everyone who said such kind things about my keynote.

If you’d like to get some idea of the sorts of things that were discussed, Julia Grillmayr has an excellent report on her podcast, Superscience Me.

And if you want to see what all the fuss was about with respect to my keynote, you can watch the whole thing here. Inevitably it begins with film of me tweeting.

Mark and Gerry gave great speeches too. There was apparently an issue with the sound on the film of Mark’s talk, which the film crew are trying to fix, but Gerry’s talk and some other great videos are available here (Farcebook login required by the looks of it).

The OutStories Bristol AGM


Saturday saw the AGM of OutStories Bristol and the associated John Addington Symonds Birthday Lecture. The event is sponsored for us by the Institute for Greece, Rome and the Classical Tradition at Bristol University, which means we get the use of the lovely Wills Memorial Building for the event.

This year the lecture had special significance for us because it was actually about John Addington Symonds himself. Symonds was born in Berkeley Square, just the other side of Park Street from the Wills Memorial Building. He lived for a while in Clifton Hill House, which is now one of Bristol University’s conference venues. And of course some of his archives are held in Bristol.

It was archives that we were mainly concerned with on Saturday, in particular those pertaining to Symonds memoirs. They deal initially with Symonds’ coming to terms with his homosexual identity — something which there were no polite words for when he was young, so deeply had European culture supressed the idea. It was only later studying Classical Greece, and collaborating with the sexologist, Havelock Ellis, that he was able to write about how he felt.

That realisation, of course, brought with it the knowledge that his memoirs would be far too gay to publish. Or, to use the euphenmism of the day, “too Greek”. That’s the term his collegues at Oxford used when advising him not to apply for a senior post.

And so the memoirs were locked away, in a green cardbard box tied up with string. By the terms of Symonds’ will, they were bequeathed to his friend, Horatio Brown, with strict instructions not to allow anything embarrassing to be published, but neither to allow them to be destroyed. Through an Herculean effort of editing, Brown managed to produce a biography that was relatively complete, slightly suggestive, but free of any taint of scandal.

The rest of the story follows the heroic attempts of Symonds’ youngest daughter, Dame Katharine Furse, to gain access to the memoirs and have a more honest version published. It appears that Symonds’ proclivities were an open secret in the household, and younger generations were much less ashamed of same-sex liasions than their forebears.

All of this was related to us by Amber Regis, a scholar who has produced the most complete version yet of the memoirs. Amber was able to regale us with stories of adventures in the archives, and bring to life the voices of Symonds, Furse and other characters in the story.

I say “most complete yet” because there are still items under lock and key. Horatio Brown died without immediate offspring, and the rights to his literary estate passed to a pair of nephews in Australia. Those men, and their descendents, currently hold the rights to certain documents that Amber is not allowed to publish. So, Australian friends, if your last name is Brown, or you are descended from Browns, do check your family tree. There may be a lovely surprise in it for you.

By the way, the sharp-eyed among you will have noticed that Amber is based at the University of Sheffield. We did have a long chat after the meeting about the existence of aliens in they city. It has all been very exciting for the locals.

It was a very splendid day. My thanks to Amber, to the IGRCT, and to Chris Leigh who did all of the organising. I just chaired the meeting, and messed up thoroughly by forgetting to record Amber’s talk. Very sorry, everyone.

Today On Ujima: Students, Clothing, Theatre & Feminism

Today’s show began with two wonderful guests from the University of the West of England. Noor and Josie are part of a small group who are pioneering an organisation called Equity within the university that will help Black & Minority Ethnic students get the best out of their education, and find good jobs afterwards.

As we all know, the academic system, and the jobs market in the UK, discriminates against anyone who doesn’t fit the default stereotype of white and male. However, much can be done by finding role models, or as I prefer possibility models, that give people the confidence that they can beat the system and suceed in life. I’m delighted to find that UWE is the first university in the country to actively try to help BAME students in this way. If you happen to be a Person of Colour who works in or near Bristol, please take a look here to see forthcoming events where you can help inspire these students.

Now if only we could do something similar for trans students…

My second guest was Jo-Jo from the gender-neutral clothing company, Max Tariq. It is, apparently, Bristol’s first and currently only such label. Jo-Jo and I chatted about the philosophy of gender neutral clothing. We discussed how such clothes could be for anyone who foudn them attractive, and how “gender neutral” doesn’t mean dull and vaguely masculine. We also talked about making clothing climate-neutral.

The Listen Again system is still playing up occasionally. You can listen to Noor & Josie here. Jo-Jo’s interview got dropped, but I have the archive recording and will be putting him up on the podcast soon.

Next up was Yasmin from the Mandala Theatre Company. She’s putting on a play called Castaways at The Station (the old fire station building in which Ujima’s studios are located) tomorrow night. It is a pay what you can afford event, so money is no excuse. If you want a ticket, or just to learn mre about the play, go here.

I kept the final half hour guest-free because I wanted to have a bit of a rant about the whole Kavanaugh debacle over in the USA. I chose some powerful feminist music to go with it. Along the way I also managed to talk about the WASPI fiasco with women’s pensions, and the awful two-child limit on tax credits.

You can listen to the second half of the show in full here.

Not included, because I am slightly nervous about the lyrics, was the new Amanda Palmer song, “Mr. Weinstein Will See You Now”. The video, which is absolutely NSFW, is here.

The playlist for the show is as follows:

  • Big Mama Thornton – Let Your Tears Fall Baby
  • Bessie Smith – Alexander’s Ragtime Band
  • CN Lester – White wedding
  • Prince – Raspberry Beret
  • Minnie Ripperton – Young, Willing and Able
  • Erykah Badu – Drama
  • Janelle Monae – Americans
  • Lady Gaga – ‘Til it Happens to You
  • Alicia Keys – Superwoman
  • Gloria Gaynor – I Will Survive

The first two tracks are, of course, a nod to Black History Month. The Gaga song is particularly powerful and I’m glad I found it.

I’ll be back on air in two weeks with my friend Olivette Otele to do Black History Month properly.

Special Issue of Mythlore: Mythopoeic Children’s Literature

An interesting call for papers has turned up on Academia.edu. Mythlore, the academic journal of the mythopoeic society, is having a special issue devoted to children’s fantasy. This is of rather more interest to the likes of Farah Mendlesohn and Cathy Butler than me, but I’m very happy to share it. They want draft papers (not abstracts) by March 30, 2019. Full details here.

An Evening with Tom Robinson

I am in Liverpool for the Outing the Past academic conference. The Friday evening programming of this event is always the Alan Horsfall Memorial Lecture. Horsfall, as Peter Tatchell explained in his introduction to the event, was a founder and mainstay of the Campaign for Homosexual Equality for many years, and someone who was never satisfied with whatever compromise for limited rights was brokered with politicians at the time.

This year’s lecture was given by Tom Robinson. If you are less ancient than me you might ask, “who”, but to anyone of my generation the guy is a hero. He’s the man who penned that great anthem, “Glad to be Gay”. And he made an additional step forward for equality much later when he found, to his surprise, that he was bisexual. It has taken a long time for the LGBT+ community to come to terms with this, and I am sure that there are pockets of people who are still furious. I’m delighted that the conference is finally honoring a bi celebrity.

Tom’s lecture was essentially a coming out story. Or rather two because he had to come out first as gay and then as bi. But it is a story which, for the second half, was lived in the full glare of tabloid publicity as one of the most famous gays in Britain. If you think “Glad to be Gay” is bitter about the media, you should hear Tom talk about them now. Though he did note that these days if the papers tell a bunch of porkies about you then you can at least tweet about what crap they are printing.

Obviously coming out is useful politically, but Tom also focused on the importance of intersectionality. Back in the days of Rock Against Racism, and of Lesbians & Gays Support the Miners, we were intersectional without having a word for it. The same rules apply now. We are stronger together. No one is free until we are all free.

Naturally the evening ended with a rendition of “Glad to be Gay”. My thanks to Tom for encouraging the crusty old academics in the audience to sing along so that I wasn’t the only one doing so.

I had a quick word with him afterwards and grabbed a selfie for Twitter. He told me that he’ll be playing the Fleece Bristol in October, and that the band will be playing songs from Power in the Darkness. The dates haven’t been officially announced yet but it won’t be the day of BristolCon because some guy called Ed Sheeran is booked in that night.

Here’s a taster of the sort of thing you might expect.

I do love the way Tom adapts lyrics as time goes on. The version of “Glad to be Gay” he sang tonight only had the first verse in common with the original single.

Anyway,that’s enough for tonight. I have a busy day tomorrow and could do with some sleep.

What? You want an encore? Oh, alright. Here is a much younger Tom. Y’all sing along now.

HFRN – Day 2

Yesterday began with a great keynote by Philip Morgan (no relation) on battlefields. He wanted to know how they got named (the Battle of Hastings took place at Battle, not at Hastings), whether a memorial was built on the site, and if so whether that was contemporary or long after the event. These are not simple questions, and hence they make for a great research project.

There were lots of good talks, including some that I missed due to being in the wrong stream. One of my favorites was by Greek historian, Ioulia Kolovou, on the subject of Anna Komnene. She was a Byzantine princess and a historian. If you would like to get a sense of the paper, Ioulia has a blog post about Anna up on the Dangerous Women Project blog.

My paper went well, which is a relief because I am giving that talk twice more this week. The first will be at the Diversity Trust event in Bristol tomorrow. The second, which will be an extended version, is at Bath Spa University on Wednesday.

Also in my session was new pal, Lucie Cook, who gave a magnificent paper on how the Victorians wrote about Anne Boleyn. My favorite bit was when a historian produced a new book critical of Anne and a clairvoyant claimed that she had been visited by the ghost of the angry queen who wanted the record put straight. For some reason the historian declined the opportunity to interview the ghostly Queen to find out what he had got wrong. Lucie noted that most historians of the era were men, that this book was deeply misogynist, and that the clairvoyant, as was typical for the era, was a woman.

The third paper in my session was by a long time friend, Tanya Brown, whom many of you will know from SF conventions. She did a paper on Christopher Marlowe in fiction, including coverage of Elizabeth Bear’s Promethean Age novels. This was every bit as entertaining as you would expect.

The wrap up session for the event was a panel discussion on how we remember history. This was inspired by things like the Rhodes Must Fall campaign and the removal of Confederate statues in the USA. I chaired it. Tony Keen, who when not at SF conventions is a Classicist, talked about how the Romans would sometimes erase mention of past emperors who had not been popular. Catherine Padmore from Australia talked about the Australia Day controversy. My friend Will Pooley from Bristol talked about the controversy surrounding Edward Colston, a local philanthropist who made much of his money from the slave trade. And finally Yasmen (whose last name I didn’t catch) from Turkey talked about a soap opera about the Ottoman Empire which gives a very positive view of the ancient Turks. Oh, and there was me. I talked about the World Fantasy Award trophy controversy.

Getting home proved a lot more difficult and expected. A bunch of us arrived at Stoke station just in time to see the line closed because of a “person hit by a train” incident. Understandably there was much chaos. It took almost two hours to get Lucie, Will and myself to Stafford where we could pick up the mainline trains from Manchester. Fortunately there is an alternative route south that avoids Stoke. I was greatly relieved to get to Bristol in time to catch the 10:15pm train home. I hope Lucie made it to Portsmouth.

HFRN Day 1

Hello from sunny Stoke-on-Trent where I have been spending the weekend at the Historical Fiction Research Network conference. I am, of course, an academic conference junkie, but I think there have been some great talks thus far.

The two keynotes from Saturday were Jerome de Groot talking about bioarchaeology, and Caroline Sturdy Collis on genocide archaeology. Jermome’s talk was all about how being able to do DNA analysis is changing the way we understand history, and how we tell those stories. People like Cheddar Man and Richard III are poster children for the new movement. Caroline does archaeology at the sites of Nazi death camps, and also collects oral histories from the few survivors. It is horrific work, but very necessary and also dangerous given the amount of harassment she gets from holocaust deniers.

I chaired a panel of papers by ancient historians, though one was actually presenting out of period with a look at the various versions of The Woman in Black. Tony Keen was his usual entertaining self on the subject of film and TV portrayals of Celtic Britons. However, the paper of most interest to me was Lynn Fotheringham talking about Kieron Gillan’s graphic novel, Three, which is a response to Frank Miller’s 300 on behalf of the Helots, Spartan slaves. The Spartans are a much misunderstood people and I’m hoping to do a paper on their for next year’s LGBT History Month (which of course means that they were very gay).

Today I get to give a paper and chair a panel discussion. Should be fun. I’d better stop writing and get on with it.

Graz in December, Anyone?

Here’s a cat that is now out of the bag, so to speak.

This December (6-8) the University of Graz in Austria is putting on a major international conference on science fiction. You can find the Call for Papers here. The reason I am telling you about it is that there are three invited keynote speakers, one of whom is me.

I have been keeping this one quiet since before the Holidays so I am delighted it is now public and I can stop exploding. I’m very pleased to be sharing the platform with Mark Bould whom I am sure will give a great talk. I don’t think I have ever met the third keynote, Gerry Canavan, but he’s an expert on the work of Octavia Butler so I’m sure we’ll have lots to talk about.

Everyone else (well, those of you into academic conferences), I’d love to see you there. Graz sounds lovely. It has a funicular railway and a museum of medieval armor; and it is very close to the Lipizzaner ranch.

Queering the Classics

Ha! As if Greece and Rome needed any queering from us. But we did it anyway.

I spent yesterday at Reading University at a conference on “LGBT+ Classics: Teaching, Research, Activism” organized by the Women’s Classical Committee. Given that I am not an academic and have no training in the Classics beyond a few years of schoolgirl Latin, I was deeply honored to be asked to give a paper. As they asked for Activism, I gave them Activism, and I am delighted to report that the talk appeared to go down very well.

It was only a small conference, but of such efforts big things can grow. I was particularly pleased to share the platform with Nicki Ward of Birmingham who is one of the authors of this superb guide to Queering the Curriculum. I have noticed that in the work I do training universities on trans issues, academic staff are conspicuous by their absence. Part of this is doubtless due to overwork, but we still hear the “I treat all people the same” excuse for avoiding diversity training. Classicists have absolutely no excuse for not including queer material in their courses, and if yesterday was anything to go by they are delighted to do so. It is a start.

Anyway, huge thanks to Katherine Harloe, Talitha Kearey and Irene Salvo for a great event. Hugs to Liz Gloyn who was unable to get there. Thanks to all of the speakers, especially the wonderful Jennifer Ingleheart. I learned a lot, and made some great new contacts. We should do this again.

February Schedule Firms Up

The various events at which I am doing LGBT History talks in February are starting to go public with their schedules. A while back I mentioned the Women in Classics event at the University of Reading. I can now add the Historical Fictions Network conference which is February 24/25 at Stoke-on-Trent. I will be giving a talk titled, “If Your Past isn’t Queer it is not Realistic”. The full program is available here, and booking details here.

A Little Gay Video

Many of you will be aware of the British Museum book, A Little Gay History, by Professor Richard Parkinson. However, I for one was unaware that Professor Parkinson gave a lecture at Oxford in which he talks about the book and how it came to be. And it is available online.

Trans people should be aware that Prof. Parkinson consistently refers to us as “transvestites” or “cross-dressers”, suggesting that he has some sort of biological essentialist view of trans natures, but otherwise the lecture makes excellent points about LGBT+ history.

The embed code for the video doesn’t seem to work, but you can watch it here.

Queering Localities, Day 2

Friday was pretty full on, including having to deliver my own paper, but I had a really great time and learned lots. Here are some highlights from day 2 of the conference.

Louise Pawley from Brighton told us about an amazing protest against Section 28. It was a year that the Tory party was having its annual conference on the south coast. One day the Brighton queer community gathered on the beach and gazed out to sea. At the exact time the tide was due to turn they lit torches and turned around to face the building where the conference was being held, symbolizing the tide turning against homophobia. I have no idea how many of the politicians saw this, but it was a magnificent gesture.

My own session included American historian, Susan Ferentinos, who told us all about a range of LGBT+ exhibitions that have been staged in the heart of Red State territory. It is good to know that even in the most conservative parts of the USA people still find ways to celebrate queer culture.

My thanks go to my colleague, Julian Warren, who expertly co-presented with me. It was a pleasure to tell the conference about several of the great LGBT+ history projects we have done in Bristol. It is also, as always, a pleasure to share a platform with Surat-Shaan Knan who was there talking about his Rainbow Pilgrims project.

Probably my favorite paper of the day was Jenny Marsden introducing us to the remarkable photographic archive of the trans community in Cape Town in the 1950s and 60s. Everyone was taken with the idea of the “salon crawl” where visitors would sample all of the various hairdressing salons where the queer community of District 6 worked and hung out.

The final session of the day included three remarkable papers, starting with Anne Balay on the subject of queer truckers in the USA. Truck driving is an awful job, with truckers generally working 14 hour days almost every day of the year. With the advent of “spy in the cab” technology it has also become one of the most intensely micro-managed jobs in the world. As a result, white men have moved out of the business, leaving it to people of color, women and queers (and in many cases people who are all three). Anne learned to drive a truck and worked in the industry for a while to do her research. I’m looking forward to the book when it comes out.

Zhenzhong Mu told us all about the tradition of yue opera in China. Officially these performances are done by women, but there is a sizeable subculture of men who gather together for weekends to stage their own amateur performances in drag, and to have sex with each other, before going home to their wives and jobs.

Rebecca Jennings gave a paper about lesbian separatist communities in Australia and Wales in the 1970s. There was much talk of essentialist views of femininity, and some rather naive ideas about setting up self-sufficient communities far from civilization while remaining defiantly vegan and eschewing all modern technology. “No one told me about wallabies,” complained one European visitor to an Australian site. The cute little creatures would destroy crops and keep people awake with their enthusiastic nocturnal bounding. Goodness only knows what they would have done if the camp had been attacked by drop bears. Thankfully modern feminism is far more about bringing down the patriarchy rather than trying to leave it and setting up an equally authoritarian matriarchy.

My thanks to Justin Bengry and Alison Oram for putting on the conference, and to Katy Pettit for her flawless admin (and the cake).

Now I need to go write a bunch of emails to new friends I have made.

Queering Localities, Day 1

OK, so I was late to this because I have to talk to some lovely police people. I know that many trans people have had awful interactions with the police, but each local force is a big organization full or many different people and the ones who come to the SARI training want to learn and be better. I’m happy to help and encourage them.

The one session I did sit in on was all about Oxford, which is a very queer university. One of the most interesting things about it is that any queer history of Oxford is inevitably a queer history of the British upper classes.

If you want a taste of the history, read all about Parson’s Pleasure. Anyone who was anyone (male) in Oxford in the 1920s (the period in which Brideshead Revisited is set) would have gone there. Including, apparently, C.S. Lewis. I don’t think Aslan would have approved.

Also Oxford did an amazing job this year of queering their museums. Hopefully we can repeat some of that success in Bristol.

Queering Localities

I will be off to London tomorrow to attend Queering Localities, a conference dedicated to teaching those myopic London folks that there is queerness outside of their city boundaries. I’ll be joined by my friend, Julian Warren, who for many years was head of Bristol Archives and who has been an invaluable assistant in researching Bristol’s LGBT History. The conference is free and open to all, so if you happen to be around please drop by.

I won’t be there until mid-afternoon on Thursday because I’m training police cadets in Bristol tomorrow morning. Julian and I are in the 11:10-12:30 slot on Friday. That slot also features my good friend Surat-Shaan Knan, who will be talking about LGBT+ migrants and asylum seekers.

New Digging for Britain

The latest series of Digging for Britain, the BBC archaeology series that reports on the best digs of the past year, has just started. I caught up with last night’s show over dinner and have been blown away by some of the discoveries.

Let’s start at Meonstoke in Hampshire where the University of Winchester has been excavating what was thought to be a Roman villa but has turned out to be a temple complex dedicated to the goddess Dea Nutrix. What is interesting about this goddess is that she’s not Roman. She is generally shown breastfeeding children, but Roman women were not big on breastfeeding. They had slaves to do that for them. Celtic women, on the other hand, did breastfeed, and these temples are found in the Celtic parts of the empire. That probably means that we are looking at a Celtic goddess who has been incorporated into Roman religious life in much the same way as Isis became popular in Rome. The site in Hampshire may well be similar to Bath in that it is a Roman temple built on the location of an ancient Celtic holy site.

There were two features on Stone Age Britain. One looked briefly at the mysterious “square circle” discovered at the heart of the Avebury ring. There’s still a lot to be learned about that, but it is clear that Avebury was a populated settlement, not just a religious site. Far more interesting for me was the news that we appear to have completely misunderstood long barrows such as Cat’s Brain in Wiltshire. Rather than being burial mounds for individuals, they appear to be mounds constructed over communal longhouses that have been decommissioned and burned. What is buried is perhaps not a person, but a community.

My favorite report was one on the dig by the University of Bristol at Repton on what they believe to be the first over-winter camp of a viking army in Britain. The camp is known from later reports in viking sagas, but we’d not had any proven archaeology until now. The new dig has found clear evidence of an army camp, including evidence of weapon-making and ship repairs. The site is associated with a mass grave of some 300 vikings, presumably killed in the battle with the Mercians reported by the sagas. Excitingly several of the dead are women, some apparently with battle wounds. Obviously we can’t prove that they were warriors, but isotope analysis of their teeth shows that they came from Scandinavia with the army.

Oh, and Alice Roberts has adopted my hair color, so I feel properly professorial now.

Who Gets to do History?

The blog posts following on from the Creative Histories conference have been coming regularly for several weeks now and we have got to the point where my contribution has been posted. I talked about who gets to do history, and in particular the idea that certain groups of people (mostly old white men) are somehow able to be “objective” while other groups (mostly women and people from minority groups) are seen as having a biased view. You can read my post here.

New Gendered Voices Magazine

Earlier this year I attended a really great conference at Bristol University called Gendered Voices. The group that puts it on also publishes a magazine, and for the latest issue they kindly asked me to contribute an article. So I wrote them something on trans people in the Inca Empire. They also put me in the cover collage, which is dedication above and beyond the call of duty.

There are lots of other really interesting articles in the issue, and you can read it for free, here. Enjoy!

Not Korean Enough?

Book Twitter today, in between the excitement over the US elections, has been busy fuming over this tweet:

It is a particularly crass example of something which I fear is rather more common than we’d like to think, particularly in literary fiction (or at least fiction that thinks of itself as literary). It is also an example of the sort of thing I was talking about in my paper at the conference in Italy.

Now of course I was talking about trans people in fiction. How does that relate to Koreans? Well, in the case above what I think the editor is really saying is not that Chang’s characters are not Asian enough, but that they don’t sufficiently conform to the editor’s stereotypical idea of what a Korean-American character should be like. In other words, the editor doesn’t want authentic Asian characters, what they want are characters that will appeal to the book’s presumed straight, cis, able-bodied, white audience, of whom the editor assumes themself to be typical.

The same is true of trans people trying to write authentic characters. Here’s a quote from Meredith Russo, author of If I Was Your Girl, after she was asked in an interview to give advice to trans authors who want to get published.

Like, right now, the story that the cis world is most ready for and willing to accept is like “The Danish Girl”. It’s like “hello, I am a trans person, hello, I am a boy who thinks he is supposed to be a girl. Here’s me dealing with it. Here’s a very heavy emphasis on how all my cis friends and family feel about it. I might die. I’ll probably be heartbroken at the end.”

See the similarity? Russo is saying that publishers don’t want authentic trans characters, they want characters that conform to a cis readership’s expectations of a trans character. Nicola Griffith tells me that disabled people face similar issues.

The good news is that, with the small sample size I have of recent YA books about trans people (the subject of my paper) it seems much easier to get an authentic portrayal published in genre fiction. My theory is that’s because the publishers of genre fiction don’t think that character is all there is to a book. They are happy to buy a book on the basis of the plot, and not worry whether the readers will demand certain narratives for the characters.

OutStories AGM Audio

I have posted the audio recording from the guest lecture at the OutStories Bristol AGM. The lecture is titled “EP Warren’s Classical Erotica: LGBT+ activism and objects from the past” and is given by Dr. Jen Grove of Exeter University. A copy of the slides can be downloaded here.

EP Warren was an early 20th Century Classicist who developed a passion for collecting evidence of same-sex relations in the ancient world. Most famously he gave his name to the Warren Cup, now in the British Museum.

The lecture was sponsored by the Institute of Greece, Rome, and the Classical Tradition at the University of Bristol in honor of the birthday of John Addington Symonds, 19th Century Bristol-born writer, art historian and pioneer of homosexual rights.