A StoneCrabs Theatre Company Project

Notable LGBTQ+ People

What We Talk About When We Talk About ‘Queering’

‘Queering’ as a tool of historical analysis does not mean an attempt to ascribe a specific label to a historical figure or to make queer that which is not.

What ‘queering’ means is to embrace historical figures in their entirety, including the parts of their lives which are not so clear-cut or easy to interpret from a modern standpoint.

You may ask, “How do we define an LGBTQ+ person?” Having language that allows us to self-identify is a relatively modern phenomenon, and even when we did begin to use and create language to describe ourselves, being LGBTQ+ was criminalised in this country for a long time and many people lived a closeted life.


We look at the evidence of people’s past words and actions from first-hand perspectives and offer a space to examine them in a way that challenges the dominant interpretation of assumed cis/heterosexuality.

What We Talk About When We Talk About ‘Queering’

Here we shine a light on a century of hidden and forgotten LGBTQ+ people and places, highlighting key locations connected with historical LGBTQ+ figures who were born, lived, or were inspired by our Island.

LGBTQ+ people have always existed, but history books tend to barely mention, completely ignore or deliberately erase LGBTQ+ people’s existence and contributions. It is important for us to show that diverse genders and sexualities have been present throughout history.

There is more to our past than cis/heteronormative narratives would have us believe.

We were amazed to discover the scope and talent of LGBTQ+ people from the past who have a strong connection to the Isle of Wight. Some you may have heard of, others are less well known and our list is not exhaustive. This is the first time they have been highlighted collectively and you can follow them from East to West Wight to form your own unique LGBTQ+ Heritage Trail.

You can learn more in the project’s book here.

The Ferguson Gang

(1920’s) ‘Bill Stickers’, ‘Sister Agatha’, ‘Red Biddy/ White Biddy’ and ‘Kate O’Brien the Nark’ were pseudonyms used by

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