Sapphic Suffragettes

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Hilary McCollum Courtesy of Hilary McCollum

Our final blog post in the run up to our exciting OUTing the Past: The 4th National Festival of LGBT History conference, 3 February, is from Hilary McCollum.

Hilary is a feminist activist, writer and campaigner from northwest Ireland. She will be presenting, ‘Sapphic Suffragettes: The key role of lesbians in the fight for Votes for Women’. 

She tells us more -

"One hundred years on from the first granting of the vote in Britain, this presentation will highlight the key role of lesbians and bi women in the fight for women’s citizenship.

It will explore the evidence that a number of the women leading the campaign for women’s suffrage were lesbians/had relationships with other women. These women include Commander-in-Chief Christabel Pankhurst; Chief Organisers Annie Kenney, Grace Roe and Olive Bartels; and leading militants Emily Wilding Davison, Mary Leigh and Lilian Lenton.

It will also consider how concerns about such relationships fuelled the split in 1907, which gave rise to the Women’s Freedom League. Whilst there has been some recognition of sexual relationships between women within the movement, the extent of such relationships among the WSPU’s (Women’s Social and Political Union) leading figures is underexplored."

The full programme for the day can be seen on the Museum of Liverpool website.

More information about Hilary and her work can be found here