She and Her Pretty Friend: The hidden history of Australian women who love women

Danielle Scrimshaw     Recommended by    

‘Another a piece of the puzzle that is unearthing women’s stories from the past … a beautifully told history.’ – Books+Publishing

A joyous look at the history of lesbian and bisexual women in Australia – from convict times, through suffrage and liberation to today

Throughout history, women’s relationships have been downgraded and diminished. Instead of lovers, they are documented as particularly close friends; the type that made out, worked, lived, and are buried together. Besties, if you will. She and Her Pretty Friend aims to dispel this myth. It is an exploration of women’s relationships through Australian history, each chapter centring on a specific person, couple, or time period.

With a focus on women such as Anne Drysdale, Lesbia Harford, and Cecilia John, She and Her Pretty Friend centres on stories of those who have remained obscured and less spoken of in the historical narrative. Throughout this retelling of Australian history, Scrimshaw explores how colonisation altered ideas of sexuality, how the suffrage movement in Australia created opportunities for queer women, and details her own part in creating queer history. Rather than continuing to deny a queer past, Scrimshaw encourages readers – and other historians – to open themselves to the idea that perhaps some people were more to each other than just ‘roommates’.

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