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Oxford had a record number of rainbow flags raised in honour of LGBT History Month this February, with colleges such as Univ and Oriel raising the flag for the first time in History.

February marked the UK’s annual celebration of LGBT History Month, which seeks to highlight the history of gay rights and related civil rights movements. Richard Parkinson, Professor of Egyptology at Oxford University, gave the university’s annual LGBT History Month Lecture which addressed LGBT heritage in world cultures. His research findings are featured in his new book, ‘A Little Gay History’, which brought together objects from the British Museum’s collections, exploring same-sex desire, romance and domesticity in world history. The book also features artefacts from every continent and various eras to present an accessible account of same-sex desire in world history.

Parkinson emphasises the importance of considering context when analysing historical evidence, stating; “Given the fragile nature of LGBT rights in many parts of the world, such historical interpretation is not a purely “academic” matter. Those interesting in applying for History, Archaeology, HSPS and History of Art should bear this in mind when conducting wider reading or research around topics deemed to be controversial or sensitive. They should also analyse the link between historical findings and social, political and cultural developments in modern society.

A Little Gay History is available from the British Museum Press and a podcast of the lecture can also be found here.

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