British Museum adds five priceless LGBT+ artefacts to its collection

The British Museum has added five new LGBT+ artefacts to its collection, improving the diversity of its collection with priceless pieces of queer history.

The pieces, which will be permanently displayed at the museum, include a “nine-bob note” from the 2008 nightclub event Gay Shame Goes Macho.

The mock bank note features London gangster Ronnie Kray in place of the queen, and is a play on the phrase “queer as a nine-bob note”.

Another artefact that has been added to the collection is a bronze medal depicting a person known as the Chevalier d’Eon.

Born in 1728, the Chevalier d’Eon had an illustrious career as a French spy and diplomat. The Chevalier began appearing at Queen Elizabeth’s court as a woman, claiming to have been assigned female at birth, and demanding to be recognised as such by the French government.

They were such a well-known figure that the term “eonism” was for some time a reference to those displaying transgender or genderfluid characteristics.

Other pieces include a Greek coin showing the poet Sappho from Lesbos, a Roman lamp depicting lesbian sex and Japanese prints dating from 1600 to 1900 featuring the androgynous “wakashu” people, who were desired by both men and women.

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