BOOK REVIEW: A Short History of Queer Women by Kirsty Loehr 

January 23, 2023

No, they weren’t ‘just friends’!

This cheeky, fun little book aims to tilt some of the balance back into the other half of the population’s history, with a tight focus on female same-sex desire. Lesbian, Sapphic love has been written out of history, erased, disbelieved or plain deleted, showing a cavalier attitude to the historical events and influential doings of some pretty remarkable women.

From Anne Bonny and Mary Read who sailed the seas together disguised as pirates, to US football captain Megan Rapinoe declaring “You can’t win a championship without gays on your team,” via countless literary salons and tuxedos, A Short History of Queer Women sets the record straight on women who have loved other women through the ages.

It’s stuffed full of glorious titbits of info, meticulously researched, deliciously contextualised and done with real flair and humour. Who says lesbians can’t be funny? Here we have much proof, along with excellent historical insights into lives lived fully openly and loving without fear, and Loehr shared the stories of some wild women who lived and loved with urgent, stunning brilliance.

The narratives shared here offer us learning and wisdom, giving us modern 21st century LGBTQs a kick up our complacencies and reminding us that there’s nothing new under the sun, but plenty of filthy lady loving that’s been hidden in the shade.

Loehr is that person you meet at a party who makes you laugh, leaves you feeling like you’ve learned loads and delights you with their ability to spin a complex real-life story into a compelling relevant narrative making you smile from ear to ear at the sheer shocking joy of it. Seriously funny, acerbic as hell and sharp as a very pointy thing.

Kirsty Loehr is a local Brighton writer. She loves women, football, history, and comedy – but not necessarily in that order. Here, Loehr give us a book which allows for hours of fun reading, plenty of dinner party ‘did you know’ and even the very rare opportunity for this queer man to impress his lesbian friends with some hitherto obscured fascinating lesbian history!

It’s that ‘perfect gift book’, easy to read, small, neat and engaging, filled with fascinating narratives about some eye-popping women and their staunchly passionate love lives. Like all good history books it leaves you with an appetite to learn more (Billie Holliday’s beautifully tart letters to ex-lover Tallulah Bankhead anyone? I need to know more), and offers the casual reader a reassurance of the constant affirming glorious presence of women loving women throughout known herstory.

Out now, RRP £8.99

For more info or to order the book see the publisher’s website here: