Gay Glasgow – A Personal Journey

I was recently interviewed by Christina O’Neill for Glasgow Live about my research into the city’s gay past. It was enjoyable to talk about my research and to add some layers to popular understandings of the city’s LGBT history, and to introduce Glasgow’s gay peaky blinders, the Whitehats. Pretty often, academic research is shepherded beind…

William Merrilees and the Gay Love Letters of Interwar Edinburgh

William Merrilees, the late former Chief Constable of Lothian and Peebles, undertook a ‘war against homosexuality’ in Edinburgh during the interwar period. Single-handedly, or at least that’s how Merrilees’ reminiscences seem to suggest, he embarked on a ruthless attempt to put away as many homosexuals as his workload allowed. In his autobiography The Short Arm…

Risk, Embarrassment, Democracy! Glasgow’s ‘Queer’ Scene, 1955-2008

By the mid 20th century Glasgow was home to a growing non-heterosexual population, and wherever such groups exist there are platforms for social engagement. When I interviewed 2 dozen gay and bisexual men in the mid 2000s, stories emerged which detailed the history and development of the queer scene in Glasgow. I have already produced…

Gay Men, Cults of Toughness and Masculinities in Scotland

I recently revisited some of the interviews I undertook with gay and bisexual men from Scotland while putting together a postgraduate seminar on masculinities. One theme emerging from these interviews related to masculinity and effeminacy. Some of the men I spoke to remarked on the powerful cultural concept of the ‘man’, of the ‘otherness’ associated…