What Ever Happened to Red Harry?

Harry Whyte, who was born in Edinburgh in 1907, has chiefly one claim to fame: in May 1934, when employed by the Moscow Daily News, he wrote to Joseph Stalin to enquire whether it was possible to be both a homosexual and a Communist Party Member. What prompted Whyte’s appeal to Stalin was the decision…

Buggery, Body Snatchers and Bewitchings

Throughout early modern and modern history homosexual acts have been the focus of condemnation, religious outrage, penal sanctions and considerable suspicion. In the 16th century further connections between the act and sinister superstition were made, contradicting earlier works which suggested that even demons drew the line at buggery. The new narrative claimed that witches, in…

Legal Records Reveal Industrial Glasgow’s Queer Secrets

About 5 years ago I was fortunate to offer some information for Our Story Scotland’s exhibition at Kelvingrove Museum on industrial Glasgow’s hidden queer population, during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This was based on analysing High Court records for cases involving sodomy and gross indecency. The narrative can be found at Our…

Fear and Loathing in Academia: The Early Career ‘Terrors’

There was a time when I believed I was only academic who suffered from intense writing paranoia (IWP). That is, the utter fear of rejection once a manuscript has been submitted for consideration by a journal/editor/publisher, thereby entering the frankly terrifying process of peer review. At best you are hoping for minor revisions to style…